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05/08/2011 - 12:13

The chief trainer of the Russian judo team Ezio Gamba: Judo will become the most popular sport in Chelyabinsk region.

The chief trainer of the Russian judo team Ezio Gamba

There's a little time left before the main judo tournament in season, 2012 European Championship. The men’s Russian team has a crucial phase of preparation in the Center of Olympic Judo Training in Chelyabinsk. The chief trainer of the Russian judo team and Olympic champion Ezio Gamba told the news agency «Dostup» about his aims for 2011World Championship in Paris, sport and spectacle combination and infectious example of Italian skiers.

- At the beginning of the week you announced the final men’s Russian team composition for the World championship in France. Do you think it is optimum? And what goals do you define for the athletes?

- I confide in everyone I called. This is the top national team, and guys are the strongest in Russia. Our aim is to gain three or four medals in World Championship. Usually all guys are ready to earn the medals, but there are some injured. However, there are injured in every team. It’s always like that…

- Do you regard competition in France as an intermediate step of preparation to the Olympiad-2012 in London or as a separate tournament?

- Olympic Games are our primary concern and we keep progressing to get ready to the London competition. But if you ask me where we want to earn more medals, I would certainly choose Olympiad.

I want to admit that emotional and physical state of our guys is the best I ever saw during my direction. This is also the merit of my right hand, Stefano Frazinelli. He is responsible for the general physical training of the team.

- Who of south Urals athletes are going to the 2011World Championship and with what aims?

- Kirill Denisov and Mansur Isaev are going to Paris. They have already won the championships, so we are naturally expecting high performance from them.

- The men’s Russian judo team has the third practice session in the Center of Olympic Judo Training in Chelyabinsk this year. What are the reasons for such favor?

- Firstly, there are a lot of guys from Chelyabinsk in our team, and also there are many coaches from this region. Secondly, about 100 people can be collected here to take part in high level sparring.

- Less than in a 9 months the strongest European judokas will come to Chelyabinsk. Do you remember what you felt when you got to know that 2012 European Championship will be held in the capital of south Ural?

- It was not the emotions, but thoughts. Four months before the Olympiad in London of course it’s better to have the final qualification competition in Russia. I’m sure that Russian team will have the best results.

- Do you think that Chelyabinsk deserved to host the competitions of this kind?

- There is no doubt. Five or six south Urals judokas are good enough to represent the country at European Judo Championship. And it means a lot.

- Chelyabinsk Center of Olympic Judo Training is a typical place for a sport preparation. The Ice rink «Tractor» where the championship will be held is more convenient for the entertainment activities. Your opinion: judo as a sport and spectacle are compatible?

- I don’t think it will be a problem. Spectacle shouldn’t influence right holding and regulations of the competitions. It’s ok.

- Hockey and skiing are the most popular sports in south Urals, although judo is gaining momentum. Will it be able to become the sport number one in Chelyabinsk region?

- Yes, of course. Especially if south Urals sportsmen will earn a spot in gold medal round in the Olympic Games in London.

- So, can we say that the future of the south Urals judo depends on their Olympic performing?

- Not at all. On the one hand athletes should work for themselves, we have no need to put more responsibility on their shoulders. But on the other hand it’s obviously that champions make sport trendy. And it’s not only in Russia. I remember when my compatriot alpine ski racer Alberto Tomba became the world champion and Olympic champion, the popularity of this sport in Italy has raised. The same story with the judo. When I won Moscow Olympiad, 800 people came to my training. Although usually came 50-60.

- Could you give a characteristic to the level of judo development in Chelyabinsk Region?

- Actually it’s our second day here (smiling). To be serious, the result is obvious. The administration of Chelyabinsk «Kodokan» works very professionally, they help us in everything. The local athletes are really sedulous. And when you are working on something hard, the result will come… Now I beg your pardon, I have to go on my work.

By Ivan Yatskov