Sintez preparing for Spartakiade of Strongest and new season
Four players who are replaced by fame searching subs have left the team
The reigning champions of the country — Sintez water polo players — are back from holiday and started training. Head coach of the team Revaz Chomakhidze talked with Realnoe Vremya’s sports staff during a live of the newspaper.
“The management of the club decided to rejuvenate the team”
Mr Chomakhidze, what changes have happened in the team and how has the preparation for the new season begun?
The off season turned out to be longer than usual. However, the lads had a chance of resting well and now they have started practice. Nowadays the team is at its base at Orgsintez swimming pool, and we will highly likely stay in Kazan till the end of the first training stage. We will just have sparring matches with somebody before the Spartiakiade of the Strongest, which is set to start on 20 August. But this hasn’t yet been confirmed because it depends not only on us but also our sparring partners. After more or less successful season last year, the management of the club decided to rejuvenate the team but at the same time to focus on students of the Kazan water polo school by giving them an opportunity to show off in Superleague matches, they didn’t have such a chance earlier. This is necessary to get information about their readiness for top challenges, including international competitions in the future.
In particular, goalie Yevgeny Kostrov, players Igor Bychkov, Alexey Ryzhov-Alenichev, Roman Shepelev have left the team. Shepelev will continue his career at Spandau 04, Berlin. I have heard that Ryzhov-Alenichev has retired. As for Igor Bychkov, I have heard a Greek club was interested in him. I don’t know how the talks ended, neither do I know about Kostrov’s further plans.
After more or less successful season last year, the management of the club decided to rejuvenate the team but at the same time to focus on students of the Kazan water polo school
The question about the players in goal is logical with Igor Chirkov. Or Vladislav Sergeyev from the second team already joining you?
Yes, we have two young goalkeepers. Moreover, Chirkov is already a member of team Russia, and promising Sergeyev gives us foundation to assume that this position is full.
Will the water polo players who left Sintez participate in the Spartakiade of the Strongest on the Tatarstan team?
As a coach I wouldn’t recommend the club management to invite those who left to the tournament. I think the changes that have happened are very important for the future of the club, consequently, it is necessary to start working with the current team. But this is my personal opinion that needs to be confirmed at a general meeting of the club.
As for the changes in other teams, these are just rumours so far. Judging by them, a lot of changes have happened, a lot of information is coming. But now I am not even sure what system the next Championship of Russia will use, we don’t have the information and not all the teams have confirmed their participation. I will repeat that nothing is certain yet.
Chirkov is already a member of team Russia, and promising Sergeyev gives us foundation to assume that this position is full
“We should start testing the new squad of our team Spartakiade of the Strongest”
As for the Spartakiade of the Strongest, I have reached out to representatives of team Krasnoyarsk Krai, and I was replied that half of its team will consist of students and the other half is the second team that competed in the Russian Championship. I think other teams will do the same. Does it mean that the Spartakiade can turn into a pro competition made of master teams and pure amateurs?
This seems to be true, this is why the teams will turn out to be very different. This will certainly not be a top competition, but no matter the team at the Spartakiade, we should start testing the new squad of our team. Moreover, there will anyway be several strong teams like in the country’s championship. We will prepare and do our best.
The Solidarity Games that didn’t have competitions for water polo players have ended. However, men’s teams of Russia have qualified both for the European and world championships this year. How will the loss of this and other international competitions be compensated for Russia’s water polo players?
Of course, the question isn’t for me, but I agree that we will certainly lack game practice we would like to compensate (Editor’s note: here it is necessary to note that Russia will miss European Cup competitions for the first time in many years).
On the other hand, if Russian national team players competed at the world championship, now they would be preparing for the European championship and you would have to start the first camp with a very small team.
Absolutely. Fortunately, the junior school operates amazingly in Kazan, thanks to which we have two teams in the country’s championship. So if we had a lack of players for training, we would compensate for them with young players, which could be a chance for me to pay more attention to them.
“The future season will be one of the biggest challenges”
Both in politics and economy Russia is starting to cooperate with Asian, African countries. Talking specifically about water polo, who could we cooperate with on these continents?
When we go beyond the national championship, it is hard for me to discuss these topics. I take you back to one of my answers that it is up to the Russian Water Polo Federation. As for the players of our team, I can say that the future season will be one of the biggest challenges in many water polo players’ career, which will be linked with a serious shortage of game practice. This issue will be topical for the head coach of the national team, and the federation needs to try to solve these problems by somehow holding more top matches. It is hard to say for me who we will cooperate with internationally, but I have outlined the general vector.
Let’s switch from Russian to international issues. The World League has ended, what did you watch, what do you think about the tournament?
I don’t want to see very critical but I will assume that there hasn’t yet been top-level water polo either at the World Championship or the World League because of which the latter tournament seemed to be middling. Here it is necessary to explain that the European Championship is around the corner, and it is a priority for many teams. This is why teams changes, sometimes leaders were let have a rest, new players were tested, this is why the results of the tournament don’t demonstrate the real state of affairs in water polo globally. This is the reason for a number of extraordinary results.
The future season will be one of the biggest challenges in many water polo players’ career, which will be linked with a serious shortage of game practice
“It is planned to create a pro team at Siberian Federal University”
In addition to Revaz Chomakhidze’s interview, I want to remind you that there was the draw of the Spartakiade of the Strongest in water polo that left a number of questions. Clearly, Astrakhan, Volgograd, Moscow, Moscow Oblast, Saint Petersburg and Tatarstan were going to compete in the men’s tournament. But where do the teams of Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Rostov-on-Don, Chelyabinsk come from? Who are they? And why does the official website of the Russian Water Polo Federation call Krasnodar Krai oblast?
President of the local regional federation Alexander Chaschin answered to Realnoe Vremya’s question about team Krasnoyarsk Krai: “Our team will consist of water polo players of Krasnoyarsk and Norilsk who have competed at student and junior Spartakiades at different times. We don’t have the first team, this is a sore point, therefore after graduating from sports schools lads go to regions where they can continue playing water polo: Moscow, Kazan, Petersburg. This is how our region has been feeding the strongest centres as early as since 1961, I am one of seven Norilsk players who played in one of the first team of Sintez Kazan, I studied in a local institute.
Though it is planned to create a pro team at Siberian Federal University where mainly students would play. The situation is similar in Krasnodar, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Chelyabinsk.”
Yes. Alexander Chaschin, Vilor Erlich and their five compatriots helped Sintez to form in the 70s. This is why we are concerned about Krasnoyarsk Krai, which isn’t strange to water polo Tatarstan, and hope in turn a team will appear there. By the way, according to rumours, the start of team Rostov Oblast at the Spartakiades of the Strongest will become a kind of presentation of a new pro team organised in this region.
The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of Realnoe Vremya’s editorial board.