#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. World Curling Tour board of directors chairman Joe Walchli told This Is Taimyr that the current trip to the Arctic Cup in Dudinka became one of the most interesting for him. And it’s not even that world-class curling has returned to northern Russia after a forced pause due to the pandemic. And not that the main trophy of the competition this time was taken by his compatriots – the team from Switzerland.
Getting to Russia, especially given the still closed borders between European countries, is still not easy. Especially when it comes to the polar Dudinka. However, the capital of Taimyr, as in previous years, warmly welcomed guests. The fifth, jubilee Arctic Cup, organized with the support of Nornickel, brought together a star-studded list of participants.
“Dudinka has changed a lot – the city itself, the people”, Joe Walchli shared his impressions. “Now everyone knows about curling on Taimyr. This competition is a real treat. And every time its organizers prepare a real show”.
A surprise for all local residents and athletes was the performance of Manizha, a singer who flew to the Arctic from Rotterdam, where she represented our country at the Eurovision Song Contest.
“At the gala dinner, Manizha was at the table next to me. People sat down with us and tried to take pictures with the singer. It was very interesting for me to communicate with her – I prefer hard rock, I don’t watch Eurovision, so I don’t know much about her”, said the guest from Switzerland. “Manizha speaks very good English. She admitted that it was the first time she saw the curling competition live and was very impressed”.
Joe Walchli himself was greatly impressed by the view from the window of the Pole Star hotel.
“Three years ago, when I came to Norilsk for the Arctic Curling Cup, there was no building of the fitness center yet”, he said. “And today, as the senior vice-president of Nornickel, Nikolay Utkin, said, local residents have the opportunity to engage in various sports in this beautiful complex. The company strongly supports sports and a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, at the government level in Russia, they are also discussing the prospects for the development of sports and tourism in this region”.
The guest from Switzerland, representing the World Curling Tour company, took part in the meeting The Russian Arctic – the Territory of Sports and Tourism which was held at the Aika health and fitness complex.
“Russia is now the chairman of the Arctic Council, and it was very interesting for me to hear about the plans for the development of the north of your country. Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Igor Levitin said that there are people living in the Arctic who want to play sports. Therefore, it is necessary to create conditions for this. The region is important. Russian Minister of Sports Oleg Matytsin also spoke about the need to increase the number of international competitions in the Arctic and even create a unified calendar. As a result of the meeting, the government and the president of Russia will be presented with a program aimed at developing the social infrastructure here, so that sport is an important part of people’s lives. Despite the remoteness, the Arctic has good prospects in terms of tourism development. I was told that cruises are already being launched on the Yenisey. Helicopters may be provided for tourists to more remote locations. Northern lights, local cuisine, indigenous population traditions – all this is a great exotic for the inhabitants of Switzerland, Austria and other countries. I think Russia’s experience in this direction will be very interesting”, said Joe Walchli.
Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Marina Peshkova and Joe Walchli