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MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. The 2018 World Bandy Championship will be hosted by the Khabarovsk Region in Russia’s Far East, the press service of the local administration announced on Tuesday.
"Our region can be rightfully called the territory of the ‘Russian ice hockey’ (bandy)," Governor of the Khabarovsk Region Vyacheslav Shport said. "The upcoming championship will be organized at the highest level and will be a colorful and unique event, a holiday for all our residents."
"We will provide security as well as work of all services in line with the highest world standards," the governor said. "The Khabarovsk Region needs large-scale international sports competitions."
This will be the third time that the Khabarovsk Region hosts the World Bandy Championship, having been already held there in 1981 and 2015.
Last year, President Vladimir Putin urged the Russian Sports Ministry and the country’s regional sports authorities to think over the issue of the state support for the game of bandy, which has also been dubbed ‘Russian ice hockey.’
Boris Skrynnik, the president of the Federation of International Bandy (FIB), announced last February that the sport of bandy could be possibly included in the Olympic program of competitions at the 2022 Winter Games in China’s Beijing.
Bandy was officially recognized as a winter sport competition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2001. However, bandy was featured as a demonstration sport at the VI Winter Olympic Games in Norway’s capital of Oslo in 1952 and the FIB was officially registered in 1955 by four founding countries, namely Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Soviet Union.
The 2016 World Bandy Championship was held in Russia’s central city of Ulyanovsk and after battling all through to the final, the reigning champion Russia confidently defended the title beating the Finnish squad 6-1.
This was the fourth consecutive and the tenth overall championship title for the Russian national bandy team since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Prior to that, the Soviet team won the title 14 times after the inaugural Bandy World Championship was held in 1957.
This year’s World Bandy Championship kicks off in less than two weeks in Sweden. The matches of Division A, which will be going for the world champion’s title, will be held at the Goransson Arena in Sweden’s Sandviken.
This year the Division A includes the teams from Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Belarus, Germany and the United States.