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Alexey Svirin, president of the Russian Rowing Federation: “The outcome of the Olympic Games is an open question”

Date: May 22, 2024 Time: 18:32:22

Alexey Svirin, president of the Russian Rowing Federation

Photo: Andrei Minaev

The limitation of the participation of Russian athletes on the world stage has led to the development of sports in the country. The Vladivostok Regatta has been held since last year and other competitions are becoming more and more widespread. The president of the Russian Rowing Federation, Alexey Svirin, spoke about this in the studio of Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda at the Eastern Economic Forum.


– This morning, September 12, the Vladivostok Regatta ended. Last year the contest was held for the first time. How is this regatta different from last year, when it was held for the first time?

– The “Vladivostok Regatta” is not just a boat competition. Yes, for us the main discipline is rowing, but we also compete in the Concept indoor rowing simulators. The competition took place in two locations. In fact, it turned out to be a small rowing marathon. Thus, on September 10, a boat race took place in Novik Bay, near Russky Island, and on September 11, we held a small business lunch and invited prominent representatives who attended the forum and the race.

It must be said that the regatta is held with the support and active participation of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Development of the Far East and the Arctic and the Olympic Committee. Today, at the GTO premises, together with the Ministry of Sports, from 8am to 9am, while the forum participants were catching up on their last few minutes, we held an indoor rowing competition. I think everything went well, although the difficulties were quite serious. It is not so easy to overcome such an important economic event with a relatively large sports agenda. All places are usually occupied. I would like to thank everyone, including thanks to the security system management, who always welcomes us.

– From which countries do the athletes participate?

– This year the regatta has taken a step forward. We had eight countries represented. The furthest away is Cuba, this year the team participating in the competition is quite decent. The men’s individual event was won by a representative of the Cuban team. Iran, Serbia, China are always our helpers, they walk bravely. Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. More than one hundred professional athletes of different ages; It’s very nice that not only adults come. Young athletes also come who actively participate in our competitions. We brought several athletes from the main team and a fairly large team in the men’s round of 16; We had a junior team to give a greater age range of athletes in our country the opportunity to participate in international competitions.


– The World Rowing Championships ended in Serbia. Our team participated. Summarize the results of this tournament.

– The team did not perform at its best. Preparation for the World Championship (traditional methodology, calculations, mileage, number of training sessions) begins almost a year before the World Championship. When we were preparing for this season, calculating all the necessary volume and intensity of loading, we did not even suspect that we would be able to compete at the World Championship. March 2022, everyone remembers very well what happened… The international community made a categorically wrong decision regarding all our sports by excluding them from the international agenda. It was practically impossible to assume that we would compete in the World Championship.

But sometime in February-March it became clear that the countdown had begun. There are counterdialogues. First in other sports. In spring, Russian representatives of several Olympic sports went to participate in the world championship. Also in March our international federation offered to compete in the World Championships. Restrictions were immediately proposed: an incomplete team, only small classes: singles, coxless doubles. Other factors determining athletes’ affiliation to the country were almost the same as for all other sports.

We had to quickly change the method of preparing for the World Cup. The results are quite modest, but the results, given the circumstances, can be considered satisfactory. Globally speaking, within our sport and within the federation we are following a certain development path, we understand the goals and objectives. We don’t stay still. We understand that our responsibility is to develop our sport on the territory of the Russian Federation.

The international agenda has shrunk somewhat, becoming less influential and requiring attention. Therefore, we focus most of our attention on the Russian agenda. Last year the idea of ​​holding the Vladivostok International Regatta was born.


– Are there other tournaments in the country?

– Last year we made great progress. We have the traditional Great Moscow Regatta, which is held in Moscow at the beginning of June on the Rowing Canal. It has a history of more than 60 years. In Soviet times it was called the small world championship. Any country that actively developed rowing considered it its duty to come to Moscow and compete in the Great Moscow Regatta. In eternity, when the Soviet Union was exterminated, the Moscow Grand Regatta lost its international status. We have been restoring it since the 2000s.

Now there are more than five countries, quite serious representatives. This year the agenda has expanded: Iranian athletes came for the first time. Some of them participated in the Tokyo Olympics. Serious athletes who watched everything and really liked it. After that they came to training events in Kazan, to a wonderful rowing center. We train. And now, in these three days of competition, we have performed well in our Vladivostok regatta.

We have added several age categories. The Great Moscow Regatta with 300 participants became a super event. Last year the record was broken, we had 1,200 rowers competing in different categories for four days.

– Is this just rowing?

– Just row. This year there are even more, about 1,300 participants. It is clear that we did it by expanding the number of categories. And the fact that you, Alexander, mentioned amateurs, this year we already had two full regattas for amateurs, both in four and in eight, 6 boats each, about 60-70 people. We have a “Masters” category (veterans). Most of them are not even veterans, they are people who two or three years ago knew practically nothing about rowing.

– That is, these are adults who started exercising to maintain their health.

– Certainly. Our sport, let’s say, cannot be considered free access. If we’re talking about rowing a boat, you need a boat, you need a specialized body of water. It is clear that the drivers of this process were Moscow and St. Petersburg due to historically established serious traditions in our sport. But now we see that both regional and some federal centers are being involved in this process: Saratov, Astrakhan, Rostov… That is, in many regions that are actively developing our sport and have long been an integral part of our community. rowing , amateur clubs with our honored veterans are united into a single training group.

Our sport is fantastic and it’s actually quite easy to do it now. I mentioned that within the framework of the Vladivostok regatta we had indoor rowing. That is, it is rowing in simulators, indoor rowing, which is also popularly called dry rowing. This is an official international discipline, world and European championships are held. At the same time, you can come to any gym and see a rowing machine there. I’ll tell you a little truth for the listeners. Rowing (this is not fiction, but scientific research) uses about 80% of the muscles in the entire body. That is, the rowing movement affects the entire body, starting with the legs and ending with the arms. Therefore, if you have a little time and desire to tidy up your body and do some strength training, you can do all this as part of classes on a rowing machine.


– How long do you think the current isolation of Russian sport on the international stage will last?

– Nothing supernatural will happen, in 2024 we will see the Olympic Games. In what format? It’s hard to say, but they should certainly be approved. And most likely, athletes from the Russian Federation will be present there. Because? We understand that in March 2022 there was an attack against truths, ideologies, Olympic and international sport in general. The statute of any international sports organization says so, including the Olympic Charter. who work to maintain the integrity of the sport. From their point of view, within the framework of the Olympic Games they will try to demonstrate to the entire world that they are doing everything possible to make this happen.

They will not make excuses, they will not say that they committed anarchy, an attack on Olympic ideals, but at the same time they will ensure that a certain number of our athletes participate in the Olympic Games. And that will be enough for them.

Now another question torments me: do we need this? Should we follow suit, should we pay attention to these, well, let’s not say handouts, but such derogatory communications? I believe that in the near future we, our athletes, officials and leaders, must answer this question.

As part of the sports agenda (and there were several sessions, including here at the EEF) with the sports community, we discussed this. Next year, by order of the government, three important international events are planned in the country: the “Figital Games”, the BRICS Games and the World Friendship Games. We are not saying that we are creating something contrary, we are saying that we have a responsibility to create the opportunity for our athletes to compete at the highest level. Furthermore, our story is quite serious, not just sports. We are no strangers to organizing large competitions. We have already demonstrated it to the entire world. How things will turn out with the Olympics is an open question. I think we are definitely in a winning situation now. A win-win situation is implicit in the fact that we have a choice, but our international partners have no choice.


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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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