Pavel Kolobkov: ‘Arriving in Kazan I don’t make myself at home, I am at home’

Sport Ministry’s session: Tatarstan at 2020 Olympics, victorious beginning of year and effective cooperation with Moscow

“Mr Minnikhanov complained that I rarely come to Kazan,” Minister of Sport of Russia Pavel Kolobkov called his first regional visit to Tatarstan a desire to fix it. The federal functionary together with the head of three federations of water sports Aleksey Vlasenko visited the final session of the Tatarstan Ministry of Sport with Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

“We just begin the new year, but it has already been marked by some new victories”

Almost all the sports VIP in-crowd of Tatarstan gathered for the final session of the Ministry of Sport splitting into groups according to their interests in the foyer and corridors of the Sports Academy. So champion Svetlana Dyomina arrived and met director of Dinamo-Tatarstan Asgat Safarov and decided to see her patron come. Two sport-related activists Vilsor Kamilyanov and Arif Mezhvedilov loosened up probably while exchanging impressions about university sport. While almost all officials of the Volga sports academy smiled at guests. Sports forums are already a common thing here, this is why there was no excitement, everything went according to plan.

Minister of Sport of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov reported on the performance of his ministry for 12 months as early as at Athlete of the Year ceremony, a kind of final rehearsal was at the press conference for journalists, which is comparable with the final rehearsal. And he began the “premiere performance” of his speech in front of one federal minister, one republican president and one president of three federations at once like clockwork.

“We just begin the new year, but it has already been marked by some new victories. The team Tatarstan provided the final leadership almost recently at the Russian Cross-country Skiing race stage in Zainsk. Our figure skater in pairs Diana Mukhametzyanova won a silver at the Winter Youth Olympics. Snowboarder Milena Bykova became a bronze medallist of the World Cup. And KAMAZ-Master is taking the lead in the next Dakar rally, and I think that our athletes deserve a round of applause,” Leonov began with bravura.

Other accomplishments of our athletes can also be listed here. For instance, silver medals of the Russian ice hockey national team, which included Ak Bars players Amir Miftakhov and Daniil Zhuravlyov, Dmitro Voronkov who was invited to Kazan and Aleksandr Khovanov who left it and Neftekhimik player from Agryz Maksim Groshev. It seems that they will be honoured late in 2020 at the next ceremony Athlete of the Year.

Last year’s events were remembered in a film, though it could have had noisy break-ups: with Kurban Berdyev, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, Roman Sharonov, Vladimir Alekno.

“Tatarstan will be well represented among the 2020 Olympians in Tokyo”

Our newspaper already covered key points of the Tatarstan sport minister’s report on last year’s performance in detail, this is why we will pay attention to schools and clubs that recently opened in the republic.

“It is Yekaterina Gamova School of volleyball, Tatiana Pokrovskaya Synchronised Swimming School, FINA Development Centre, Sintez Water Sports Club, which united representatives of water sports, traditional water polo as well as swimming and diving with the help of TAIF Group of Companies. This allows leading athletes of Tatarstan to get additional financial support for great performance,” Leonov said.

President of three aquatic federations Aleksey Vlasenko highly appreciated the development of these sports in the republic:

“I come to Kazan, Tatarstan at every opportunity because nowadays for me it is the main region developing the sports whose federations I chair. Many thanks to the administration of the republic, personally to President Rustam Minnikhanov who supports aquatic sports. A big number of swimming pools is built here, Moscow doesn’t have so many. Let’s start with water polo, Sintez team that is supported at the highest level. The skeleton of the team Russia is created with the players of this team now. Then it is diving, I am a member of the FINA Technical Committee in this sport. And going to competitions in different countries I have a chance to compare the development of this sport.”

Also, the president of three federations noted that at the moment Tatarstan was holding a diving tournament among kids, in which the host carries all the costs. The tournament itself is on the register of FINA, LEN, the international and European federations. Ultimately, this competition is among the most prioritised contests for competing children.

“What is done to develop synchronised swimming, it is another story. Legendary coach Tatiana Pokrovskaya’s school opened in Kazan, seven-time, I am sorry, a tournament for yet five-time Olympic champion Svetlana Romashina’s prize is held. I have gone ahead a bit, but Romashina has a chance to justify my words and add another two victories to these five in Tokyo in summer. The first tournament was Russian, then it will become international with European athletes. As a result of the development of these sports, I am sure that Tatarstan will be well represented among the 2020 Olympians in Tokyo,” Vlasenko noted.

“Tatarstan demonstrates an example of effective cooperation of the federal centre with the regional centre”

Federal Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobko, in turn, positively evaluated the dynamics of sport development in the republic:

“Mr Minnikhanov complained that I rarely came to Kazan,” Kolobkov began. “To fix it, I paid my first visit this year to Kazan. But I will say that when I arrive here I don’t make myself at home, I am at home. And this is why I will say welcome to our Volga sports academy.”

According to Kolobkov, Tatarstan demonstrates an example of effective cooperation of the federal centre with the regional centre, municipalities. This happened also because the republic chose the development of sport as an area about 10 years ago as one of its priorities, thanks to which Tatarstan can take the lead in Russia. Over this time, the republic clearly and systematically moved to this goal.”

“I remember the MINEPS session here, an unforgettable event for its participants who were sport ministers of their countries. And even now, with political changes that took place, all participants of that event note its excellent organisation and systematic approach in developing sport. Now you are experimental innovative sites for the Ministry of Sport in the creation of the tennis and badminton academies, the FINA Development Centre.”

Rustam Minnikhanov: “Elite sport is a brand of our republic”

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov noted that the republic’s infrastructure must work for the good of people to try to perform the tasks set to raise Russians’ average lifespan to 78 years:

“I would like to thank federal minister Pavel Kolobkov for coming to this ceremony at which the year-end result is summed up giving a high appraisal to colleagues from the related ministry. This commits us to a lot. Elite sport is a brand of our republic.”

The president reminded that the republic began to develop sport with the Universiade, creation of the Directorate for Sports Projects as good support of the Tatarstan Ministry of Sport, of course, the construction of the sports academy, cooperation with sports federations. “Now 1,5 million residents of our republic do sport, but the task is to increase this number to two million. For this purpose, it is necessary to create conditions and raise the quality of life of the republic’s residents, create infrastructure, repair what we already have,” Minnikhanov stressed. According to him, all existing infrastructure must work for the good of the population.

“Yes, our sport is experiencing tough times now, but they will pass, while we should live and think about the future without looking back, past claims and offence. While I want to wish us luck in 2020: we should decently hold the competition among CIS countries and other big international tournaments marking the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the republic, the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory,” the president concluded.

By Dzhaudat Abdullin