There are six sportsmen in Belarus national cross-country skiing team. Three of them are Russians. There are no Belarusians at all in the women’s team.
The Russians’ performance in the World Cup (2016-2017) is not impressive: Yulia Tikhonova – in the 68th place, Polina Seronosova – 96. Mikhail Kuklin (World Cup 2014-2015) – 133. The sportsmen are getting ready for the Olympics in Raubichy now.
Chief manger of Belarus national cross-country skiing team Ivan Listapad has explained the procedure of getting licenses for the Winter Olympics in Korea:
“There are two types of licenses. The first one is XD4. There are four Belarusian sportsmen that have a chance to get this license. It is necessary to be in the top-300 of the world distance and sprint events). If they get the licenses, they will represent the Republic of Belarus at the Olympics. The second one is XD3. Five Belarusian sportsmen are competing for it. You need to be in the top-300 either in the distance or sprint event. Belarus can get two of these licenses. Belarusian sportsmen should be preferred instead of those who have residence permits. Belarus also has two licenses outside the Olympic quotas. The Belarusian Ski Federation will make the decision.”
Euroradio has asked the Ministry of Sport and Tourism to explain whether foreign sportsmen can join Belarus national team.
“It is necessary to meet four conditions to join Belarus national ski racing team,” spokesperson of the Ministry of Sport Uladzimir Nestsyarovich said. "They need to agree to do it, their previous Ski Federation needs to give consent, they should have a residence permit in Belarus and the International Ski Federation needs to allow these sportsmen to take part in international competitions.”
Different rules are observed at the Olympic Games. If Russians want to represent Belarus in Pyeongchang in 2018, they will have to become Belarusian citizens.
Meanwhile, the Ski Federation has not prolonged the contract with Syarhei Dalidovich who has been representing Belarus for 25 years:
“I will most likely be only a guest at the training session in Raubichy,” Dalidovich said. “I am working with my pupil now. He is also my sparring partner. He is 15 years younger than me so it is difficult to say who is trying to catch up. They [the federation administration] are probably dissatisfied with my results despite the fact that I was as the best at the last Belarusian championship. Maybe they want to invest in promising sportsmen instead.”
It is not clear whether Russian skiers will represent Belarus at the Olympics.
“We are preparing documents and Belarusian passports. Thus, they will be able to represent Belarus at the Olympic Games. But this is not they only requirement,” Uladzimir Nestsyarovich explained. “There is a special selection system with various licenses and quotas. If the sportsmen fulfill all the requirements, they will be able to represent our country.”
Dalidovich also has a chance to take part in the Olympic Games:
“You can take part in FIS competitions, gain points and still get to the Olympics. But money is needed for it. I am looking for people who believe in me now. I need 10-15 thousand dollars for the training. Most of the money is needed in the last 4 months before the competition. If it is not done by January it will be too late. The main starts and qualifying standards should be passed in these months.”