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Russia can wake up, when nobody waits for it'

5 (2009)
Viewed: 1920
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The preconcieved relation of some international sports functionaries will not prevent Russians from carrying out the best Olympic Games in their history, prophesies the number one biathlonist of the XX-th century, Alexander Tikhonov.

From the point of view of sports results, biathlon is the most successful winter kind of sports in Russia. However, the ending of international doping scandal in august removed three leaders of the Russian national team on biathlon from struggle for Olympic awards — not only in Vancouver, but also in Sochi. The legendary person — the fourfold Olympic champion, the 13-fold world champion, the vice-president of the Union of biathlonists of Russia Alexander Tikhonov helps «Reporter» to comprehend «reputation shock» of domestic sports and not to lose Olympic hopes.

— Alexander Ivanovich, whether you share opinion on the antirussian plot of the International union of biathlonists (IBU), having the aim to deprive strong competitors of tahe right to participate in the Games?

— I do not exclude the preconcieved relation to our sportsmen from president of IBU, the swede, Anders Bessenberg. And I can see it not for the first time and not for the first year.

— Whether it is impossible, that laws in biathlon are not equal for all and some of sportsmen are elite? For example, on July, 1st this year the Norwegian biathlonist Ole Einar Bjoerndalen won a prize «Fair Play» even after making a number of mistakes at a distance during the World championship in Pyeongchang. But in May the team of biathlonists of Russia was removed from annual ski festival Blink because of doping scandal.

— You know, I would refuse this medal at Bjoerndalen's place: it was received illegally. No matter how I respect the fivefold Olympic champion for last merits, this World championship was a disgrace. Double standards of IBU are evident. As to the decision of organizers of Norwegian tournament Blink not to invite Russian biathlonists, it was done long before the disqualification of our sportsmen by the doping commission. Russians were treated unfairly.

— Is there was a planned blow to the image of the Russian national team?

— If to look back in the past there were a lot of similar precedents. In 2003 when Preolympic Albina Ahatova's test «A» showed positive result, on the tip from Besseberg mass-media gave the information that she had accepted a dope. The same situation repeated with Tatyana Moiseeva. I insisted on control tests «B» to be opened. In both cases the second test appeared to be negative.

Then we managed to defend honour of the Russian sportsmen. But now, I consider, Besseberg should answer before our country. We have no right to bow to Norway or Germany only because they do not want to lose their leading positions in biathlon.

— It is known that in 1994, long before a victory of the Russian application in Guatemala, you were the initiator of carrying out of winter Olympic games in Sochi. What is it intuition or knowledge?

— Generally it were not I, the first vice-president of the IOC Alexander Smirnov was the initiator. The idea was supported by Leonid Tyagachev and me. In competition of cities — applicants for a rank of Olympic capital we then took an honourable third place. Already at that time I did not doubt that Russia would become the mistress of the White Olympic Games: all the impressive history of victories in winter Games works for us.

— On the threshold of the Sochi Olympic Games many regions develop biathlon. Can you name perspective bases for trainings for the future Olympians?

— One of the best in our country now is the complex recently constructed in the capital of Mordovia — Saransk. Conditions for practicing biathlon there are fantastic, therefore I have no doubt that boys and girls from this region will progress only.

— The nearest aim of the Russian national team on biathlon — the Olympic Games in Vancouver. What is your forecast?

— I do not like to do forecasts. Recently all foretellers are sceptical. But I consider, that Russia can wake up, when nobody waits for it.

 

Anders Besseberg, the president of IBU: «I liked the biathlon stadium very much»

— I am absolutely pleased by what I have seen in Sochi. We have examined the future Olympic objects. At the place for biathlon stadium I stayed a little longer, than at the others. I liked it very much. Wonderful location of the stadium, convenient shooting range, interesting planning of circles for competitions and training. IBU cooperated and cooperates with Organizing committee «Sochi-2014», my people took direct part in planning of what we have for today. So, together with a Russian side, the problem of building of the track, taking into account ecological requirements, was being solved. We had to plan biathlon track without damaging the trees growing around. Sports are sports, but they should not do essential harm to the environment. It seems to me, that all current problems in Sochi are successfully solved for today. A lot of things are not ready yet, but the schedule is followed, and this is the most important thing. Organizers say — everything will be ready in time, and I do not have reasons not to trust them.


Author: Ludmila Bobrova, Irina Rodina