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23/04/2012 - 06:53

Vitaly Makarov, the senior coach of the men's national team: The Europeans can’t wait to come and see the city of champions

Vitaly Makarov, the senior coach of the men's national team: The Europeans can’t wait to come and see the city of champions

The senior coach of the men's national team has told about the readiness of the team for the European Championships, the most dangerous rivals, chances of the South Urals athletes to perform at the Olympics and reasons for the Europeans to visit Chelyabinsk.

- Vitaly, what do you feel on the eve of the European Judo Championships that will be held in your native land?

- I feel proud. In my youth I didn't have an opportunity to participate in the events of such level at home. I wish our athletes to perform as well as they can.

- How do you think are the judokas prepared?

- Well, they are not 100% ready, because their primary goal is the Olympics. It is impossible to be equally ready for two major tournaments. But we are correcting the plan of trainings for the Euro-2012 to get the requisite shape. I think it will be enough to perform perfectly.

- Are four South Urals athletes in the national team enough or there should be more?

- Look, three persons for seven weight divisions – it is almost a half! And all the guys are in the first selection.

- Will the Euro-2012 improve chances of the Chelyabinsk judokas to get at the Olympics?

- No, the European Championships don't affect it. All our contenders have gained the necessary points in the world ranking. So, they may not participate in the Euro-2012, but still get at the Olympics.

- The most titled South Ural judoka Kirill Denisov will not be able to participate in the home championships...

- Unfortunately. He was willing to perform, but judo is a battle. It can cause injuries. Now everything is well. He had an operation, but he has already begun trainings. He just needs a time for recovering. He is not ready for the European Championships no physically no mentally, that’s why we will keep him for the Olympics. He will show what he can.

- Who is the biggest threat for the Russian team?

- Everybody. Now judo is the most popular sport among world national federations after football. We have overtaken even track and field. Judo is developing and spreading around the world. There are teams with a stable team selection as a French one. They have leaders in each weight division. But there are countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their team has only one world medalist in the under 81 class. There are strong rivals in all European teams. Moreover, the European Championships is for the best judokas, so we have to be very focused on the competitors.

- You have spent several days in Chelyabinsk. Have you noticed the positive changes in the city?

- The city is changing every hour. Every day I see cars with bosses that point out some problems. And they are immediately solving. It's wonderful. I hope that the good weather will stay as long as possible, and the Europeans wouldn’t think Russia has only Russian nesting dolls, balalaikas and snow.

- Have you discussed the idea of going to Russia with any of foreign athletes? What do they think of Chelyabinsk?

- They are all interested, because Chelyabinsk is associated with the high level of judo. The Chelyabinsk judo school is well-known everywhere and doesn’t need any special introduction. We have enough awards and medals. So the Europeans can’t wait to come and see the city of champions.

Maria Stankovskaya