PETROZAVODSK, January 11 (Itar-Tass) — This year's first international dog-sled race will be held in the Republic of Karelia from January 20 to 21. The race participants are to cover more than 80 kilometres across the snow-covered Karelian taiga riding between ice-covered forest lakes.
More than 20 sled-dog teams will take part in the race, Yevgeny Shorokhov,deputy chairman of the republican state committee for youth affairs, physical culture, sports, and tourism, has told Itar-Tass. Sportsmen from Moscow, St Petersburg, Khabarovsk, Chelyabinsk, Perm, Kazan, Tver, Cheboksaary, and Petrozavodsk, as well as those from Germany, Poland, the Baltics, and Finland have brought their own dogs to the competition. However, they may also test-race wolfhounds from the local doghouse, Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Greenland work dogs and other sledge drawing dogs. The participants are also to take part in a race of teams of six and eight dogs, and in skijoring -- the pulling of a skier by one dog or two.
The organizers believe that the international dog-sled race in Karelia will contribute to popularizing a healthy way of life, sports involving sled dogs, as well as to drawing attention to the revival of the unique culture of the Karelians and to the tourism and natural-resource potential of the Russian North.