MOSCOW, March 6 (R-Sport) - Russian Biathlon Union president Mikhail Prokhorov insists that his country's athletes will be the sport's main "trendsetters" in the coming five years.
The billionaire tycoon went on the defense after Russia's second-successive flop at last month's biathlon world championships in the Czech Republic, where the country took home just two medals.
"It is definitely our obligation to create the best conditions in the world (for athletes in Russia)," Prokhorov told rolling news channel Rossiya-24.
"It's just that the investment cycle in the sport takes not two or three years, but 10 or 12," said Prokhorov, who came to the helm of the federation in 2008.
"If you see what they're up to at the moment - in the good sense of the word - our young athletes, I can say with certainty that in five years we will be the trendsetters."
Norway dominated the field at the Nove Mesto world championships, collecting eight of a possible 11 gold medals. Russia, also a traditional biathlon power, was joint fifth in the medal table with one silver and one bronze.
Prokhorov, the 47-year-old majority owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team, has said he will stand down from his biathlon post in the event of a similar flop at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
He is expected to seek re-election to the biathlon union presidency in April.
Prokhorov has complained about the track to be used for the Games, saying the Laura biathlon and cross-country complex in the mountains above Sochi meets global standards but was not designed with the wishes of the Russian athletes in mind, meaning the country has all but relinquished its home advantage.