Russia to host world sled dog racing event

Russia will for the first time host an international sled dog race, Kamchadal 2004. In line with a decision of the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS), the event will take place near the regional centre Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky (Kamchatka, Russia's Far East Federal District) on March 25-28.

Racers from France, Switzerland, the USA, South Korea and Russia will take part in the three-day circuit 300-km race with elevation changes of up to 1,500 m, reports the organising committee.

IFSS President Tim White and Secretary General Sally Bair are expected to attend the event as the guests of honour. Monique Bene, a famous sled dog racer from France, will be the race marshal, i.e. will referee the event.

Kamchadal-2004 will be a qualifying event for Russian sled dog racers, and may give them access to the 2005 world cup.

The Russian national sled dog team for the first time took part in the world dog racing event in 2003.

The race will start at the Lesnaya sporting base near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky at 8 p.m. local time. The route of the night race will run from Petropavlovsk to the Pinachevo village. The racers will spend a night in the village and will head on for Nalychevo, then further on to Sedlovinka and Radygino. The final straight ends up in the Lesnaya base, where the races are expected on March 28.

Modern sled dog sports include three main activities. As the racing equipment there may be a sled, a cart or a pulka. A pulka is a small cart pulled by one or three dogs. The skier is running behind the pulka on skis. And in ski-joring the skier is running behind one or two pulling dogs attached to it or them with a bungee cord.

The IFSS is seeking the recognition of sled dog races as an Olympic sport. The International Olympic Committee is due to consider this issue at its executive committee meeting in May.

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