Quick reference: The construction of the facility was started in 2010. Indoor soccer and athletics arena is a sports center, which houses a modern live-in facility, a hotel with a dining hall, as well as a medical rehabilitation center. In the administrative part of the building, there are three gyms, including a gym and a fitness room. Under the arches of the arena there is a soccer field measuring 105x68 m, that can be divided into 2-4 training zones with modern artificial surface, as well as eight 400-meter athletics tracks with modern artificial surface, a hole for the steeplechase pit and a warm-up track, zones for high jumps, pole vaults, long jumps, triple jumps, and a zone for the shot put. The arena stands can seat 1.480 people.
The track and field surfaces were delivered and installed by Magnum. The project was managed by Vasiliy Tuzhikov, who gave an interview about this project.
?: Vasiliy, tell us what makes this arena so special?
Vasiliy Tuzhikov: Soccer and track & field stadium in Saransk is part of the Olympic reserve facilities, which also include a swimming pool and a hotel. The stadium is known as the only Russian “indoor stadium” with 8 IAAF compliant full-scale lanes and a FIFA compliant full-scale soccer field. This design enables all-year-round soccer and track & field training sessions and competitions.
?: What kind of competitions can the arena host?
VT: Winter track & field competitions require shorter - 200-meter tracks. Now there is a 400-meter track in Saransk, and it meets the requirements of summer open stadium competitions. The stadium can host regional and state events. The majority of international track and field competition can be hosted here, with the only exception of the so called “long throws”: the discus, hammer, and javelin throws. Everything else is available.
?: What works exactly did Magnum deliver?
VT: We supplier and installed the track and field surface, and also prepared the subbase, as it has to meet a specific set of rules. We also prepared the in-ground elements for pole jumping, long jumps, steeplechase and shot put. We will supply equipment for all sport disciplines. We will use the same surface as the one that was used at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Luzhniki – Mondo Sportflex SX.
Why this exact surface was chosen?
VT: This surface is objectively considered to be the best in the world:no other surface can boast more Olympic games and championships or world records. It is believed by athletes to be the fastest surface. The operational and maintenance statistics also advocate for Mondo Sportflex SX: it preserves its technical properties, has longer lifetime, and requires less upkeep. Moreover, the customer based their purchase decision on their own market research and interviews with servicing organizations from Moscow (CSKA) and Cheboksary (Olympic stadium) that use the same surface, and based their choice on that information.
?: What challenges did you face during the installation?
VT: There were no challenges, actually. We always install the surface with surgical precision. Russian and international professional sport associations do not allow any gaps or surface defects, therefore we did not experience any special difficulties when installing different colors edge-to-edge along the mark-up lines.
?: Do the assembly and installation team members get any special training for this?
VT: Of course, all Magnum installation and assembly team members take internships at the Mondo factory in Italy. An untrained person without special knowledge simply can’t cope with such a job. Despite the fact that Mondo always delivers equipment along with comprehensive technical documentation, we often have to adapt something to the conditions of the facility on the spot. The same applies to marking. Tolerances for deviations are minimal, and the lines have to be painted with high precision. Different track & field sports require different shapes and lines defined by different sets of rules, and all these lines intersect on the same surface. There are just a few dozen experts in the world who are capable of doing this job at a world-class venue. One of them - Yuri Lysenko - is a member of the Magnum team.
?: How many people worked at the venue?
ВТ: No more than 20 people: an expert team of 8 certified workers, and about ten assistant workers.
?: What other sports facilities did your company deliver?
I can recall something that happened not so long ago, when we were preparing the track and field arena of the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism for the all-Russian competitions in athletics jumping - the 37th Dyachkov and Ozolin Memorial competition. We conducted an expert assessment of arena’s condition before the competition, and then performed a local repair of the surface and updated the mark-up.
?: Recently, Magnum received a letter of appreciation from the Russian Athletics Federation, please, tell us more about this.
VT: Magnum has cooperated with the Russian Athletics Federation for many years, we have delivered projects for a lot of events, and on the whole we maintain a really warm relationship. We received this letter of appreciation for our works at the Ozolin Dyachkov and Ozolin Memorial competition venus, as we worked in an extremely tight schedule and also donated some jumping poles to the venue.
?: What track and field facilities are you planning to deliver in the nearest future?
ВТ: We are going to repair the running tracks at the Olympic stadium in Cheboksary, and to supply and install the surface in the arena that is now under construction in Kirov. Recently, we finished developing the technical specifications documentation section for a stadium in Yalta.
?: Maybe you can remember an anecdote from your experience?
ВТ: It happened while we were working on the Big arena in Luzhniki, to get it ready for the 2013 World Athletics Championship. One of our engineers was preparing low-voltage systems for the competition. He is a highly skilled specialist in his field, but is very far from the world of sports. And on one of the last days before the competition, when the commissioning of networks and equipment was almost over, and some athletes were already going to the stadium in order to try out the track, this funny story happened. Vladimir (this is the name of our specialist) was consumed by setting up and connecting the wires when he saw an athlete near him. Without thinking twice, our engineer politely asked the athlete not to get in the way and take a walk somewhere else. The athlete left promptly, but, as the witnesses reported, looked a bit confused. That athlete was Usain Bolt.
The article is based on the materials by Russian Athletics Federation.