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10/08/2011 - 11:02

Ivan Pershin, European Judo Champion: athlete’s job – to win

Ivan Pershin, European Judo Champion

European champion and world bronze medalist Ivan Pershin was part of the Russian national team at the last Olympics. Recently he has completed sport career and got very important appointment – now he is the chief of Chelyabinsk regional Center of Olympic Judo Training.

Under his leadership the South Urals athletes preparing for the home 2012 European Championship.

- Ivan, what is the role of Olympic Judo Training Center?

- Our task is to prepare high-quality athletes to championships and Olympic Games. In addition to big tournaments preparing, we train young fighters to take part in youth and junior championships in Russia, Europe and the World. We have all age divisions of athletes.

- Who of Chelyabinsk athletes pretend to fight in the 2012 European Championship?

- Now we have 10-12 athletes in Russian national team, and they participate in important international tournaments. I hope that at least five of them will compete in a home Championship. At the 2011 World Championship in Paris three of our representatives were selected to the national team. The decisions on such matters always takes the head coach. He builds a strategy to prepare the team to the main event of the next year - the Olympic Games in London.

- Please, tell us more about Chelyabinsk contenders to get into the Russian team?

- First of all, it's Kirill Denisov. Very young and perspective fighter - at the age of 23 he is already a silver and bronze medalist of world championships. He also won silver at the 2011 European Championship. He is our main contender to compete in the European Championship and the 2012 Olympic Games.

Mansur Isaev has a good chance too; he is the 2009 bronze world medalist. At the last World Championship he placed fifth. This year in European Championship the injury did not allow him to conquer the podium.

We also have Anastasia Gubadova, who took part in 2011 World Championship. Hopefully, she will perform in 2012 European Championship. 2008 Russian champion Alina Puhova can compete for participation in European Championship.

We have two contenders in heavyweight division – Soslan Bastanov and Renat Saidov. Young and gifted athlete Zafar Makhmadov (100 kg) is ready to fight for a place in the national team. In the up to 66 kg category we have Denis Lavrentiev, and in under 73 kg category there are two twins Dmitry and Denis Yartsev. All of them can compete in European Championship next year.

- The main tournament in 2012 is Olympics. Will our athletes have a task to strive for win in the home European Championship by all means?

- Everybody who is going to the tournament wants to win. Athlete’s job – to win. First of all, it’s important for everyone to prove that they can win the competition of this level. We always define only the highest goals. The success depends on the coaches, who train athletes for the tournament. European Championship will be the last ranking tournaments in the Olympic selection, the last opportunity for athletes to earn the rating points to get to the Olympics.

- Tell us about the coaches who work at the center and train these guys?

- Two of our coaches are engaged in preparing the national team now - Vitaly Makarov and Dmitriy Morozov. Dmitry Morozov is also a personal coach of Kirill Denisov. We have three senior coaches at center who are preparing their personal athletes and regional team to get our guys into the national team.

- Which run mode will have the Olympic training center during the preparation to European Championship?

- In June we held the collection of the Russian national team for preparation for the World Championship. And in July national team came here again to prepare for the absolute world championship that will be held this fall. Two or three weeks before the opening European championship, Russian team will start preparation in Chelyabinsk. If they are able to call on us one more time, we will be happy to accept them and do everything to help.

- The Russian national team is quite a large delegation. Is there enough space at the center for its placement?

- It’s not the first time we accept the national team. We have worked out a plan for training high level athletes, and we are ready to accept any delegation. Living and working conditions at the center are very good.

- You have recently finished a career of fighter. Was it hard to change your approach when you get down to administrative work?

- I used to be a part of Russian team for a very long time, and I had no difficulty to understand the training system. When it comes to the economic questions, we have here a very well-organized working team. If I don’t have time to handle something, they always help me. I do not see any special difficulties in my new position.

- What are your goals in this position?

- The aim for me is to be sure that athletes have the most comfortable conditions for work and have no problems. They should be focused only on training, performances and bringing medals to our country and Chelyabinsk region. For this I am trying to do my job. Also I would like to develop judo in small towns of Chelyabinsk region where conditions are not so good.

By Petr Maletin