Alexander Polinskiy: “The time of qualification for the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships was changed by the decision of ISU”

On March 13, in Moscow the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships started with 500m, 1,000 m and 1,500 m qualifying events (men and women). Alexander Polinskiy, Director general of sports and entertainment events in the city of Moscow, told the ROC Information service how the capital was preparing for it.

– After the Sochi Olympic Games Short Track Speed Skating became popular in our country. Given the level of the Russian national team and the participation of a six-time Olympic champion Viktor An, we hoped that the tournament will arouse great interest. And our expectations were realized! All tickets for the final starts (to take place on Saturday and Sunday) were sold long before the start of the competitions. We even decided to open an additional stand with extra 1,100 seats in order to satisfy all requests. So this weekend Krylatskoe Sports Complex will have a capacity of accommodating up to 4,000 people.

– A few words about the pricing policy.

– We never drive up ticket prices, unless it is dictated by the international federation. In this case we define our pricing policy ourselves. I believe that 300 rubles per ticket is not too much to pay to watch performances of Viktor An, Semyon Yelistratov, Sofya Prosvirnova and other outstanding masters of the short-track. Besides, we have given away about 1,000 tickets for each day to the Russian Skating Union for free, so that they could distribute those tickets among the students of the sport schools. This is our common practice.

– Is there a danger that the tickets would be sold out, but there will be no capacity crowd due to speculators, as it happened at the recent Rhythmic Gymnastics Grand Prix?

– Police authorities should fight against ticket touting. I neither have the right, nor the opportunity to do that. Yes, in 2011 during the World Figure Skating Championships I personally came up to the ticket office and dispersed ticket touts. But half an hour later they came back as if nothing had happened.

– You could limit the number of tickets per customer or that not a way out?

– We tried. It doesn’t help. The problem is also that our people are ready to buy tickets second-hand. And where there is demand, there will be supply and there will be people wishing to make  money on it.

– Additional transportation will be provided to the fans who will want to come to Krylatskoye without a car.

– We asked Moscow Transportation Department to manage better bus and route taxi transfer from Krylatskoye metro to the ice rink.

– Which of the honored guests are expected at the competitions?

– We have sent invitations to many of them. I know for sure that President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov and sports minister Vitaly Mutko will come to support our team.

– Did the coaching staff of the Russian Short Track team have any requests to the organizers?

– At the request of Sebastien Cross we accommodated our team close to the ice rink and not at the Aerostar Hotel, where all other participants live. Also Head coach of the Russian national team wanted the ice temperature at the Sports Complex to be 5 degrees instead of 7. Of course, we responded to these wishes as well. We should help our guys if it is possible! I remember how, before the World Championships in Athletics, Lena Isinbayeva had asked to make a comfortable runway at the Luzhniki Stadium. We did it and afterwards we were really happy for our great athlete, when she won gold medal in Pole jumping.

– Why was today’s Short Track qualification postponed from 9AM to 5:15PM?

– This decision was taken by the chief referee and the technical delegate of the  International Skating Union (ISU) this morning, because some of the athletes are not yet in Moscow. Such things happen quite often. If the amount of participants is less than the declared amount, the competitions may be postponed, but anyway the organizers have nothing to do with it.

– Then what is within your area of responsibility at such tournaments?

– Meeting and seeing off the teams at the airport, accommodation issues, meals and transportation, preparation of the arena and organizing the work of the Press center. This is the responsibility of our employees – the Directorate for sports and entertainment events.

– Recently a Parallel Slalom event of the Snowboard World Cuphas taken place in Moscow. Was it difficult to prepare the route under conditions of abnormally warm temperature (in March).

 – The amount of snow that was already there was enough to stage the competition on March 7. Although I can reveal a small secret: at first the FIS (International Ski Federation) representative started to panic and even wanted to cancel the competitions! But when he saw how our people work, he calmed down at once. By the way, no later than yesterday at the meeting dedicated to staging of the World Ice Hockey Championship in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg in 2016 President of the IIHF Rene Fasel also confessed that after the Sochi Olympic Games he finally understood that if Russians take something on, everything would be done on a higher level.