Developing skiing in Mongolia

20 August 2014 15:30
Cross-Country Skiing is brought to Mongolia
Cross-Country Skiing is brought to Mongolia -

Thanks to an initiative by the German Ski Association, Cross-Country Skiing is developing in Mongolia. Young, talented athletes will soon be attending their first training camp at the Black Forest.

Four years ago, the Mongolian Olympic Committee approached the IOC for assistance as part of the IOC Solidarity Programme which supports countries with the greatest needs to develop their own structures in order to expand a sport globally. Subject to long cold winters and short summers, the Mongolian climate provides favourable conditions for winter sports, but the necessary funds and expert know-how have been missing. The project was passed on to FIS with the German Ski Association taking the lead. It appointed former Cross-Country skier and National Coach Georg Zipfel to build up skiing in Mongolia based on his vast experience and enthusiasm for the sport.

Under the motto “Black Forest meets Mongolia”, an information evening was held close to Oberried (GER). In attendance was FIS Council Member and President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Alfons Hörmann. The intercultural gathering featured cuisine and culture presented by Mongolians. More than 1000 participants were shown the premiere of the movie “Steppenlauf” which was produced two years ago during one of Zipfel’s trips to Mongolia. The movie tells the story of first efforts to build up the sport in the landlocked country in east-central Asia and gives an insight into its traditions and culture.

“There is good potential in Mongolia. The country has strong athletes and a will to make it to the top. But there is a large need for improvements in the training.” Zipfel said.

Next steps include a training camp for young Mongolians in the Black Forest. Together with the German Ski Association, Zipfel also initiated an aid campaign to gather Cross-Country and Roller Skiing equipment in order to provide everything that’s necessary for the young Mongolians to excel in the sport.

The movie “Steppenlauf” will be broadcast on German TV (SWR) on 12th November.