‘Shleikher and Polyakova are two heroes of the Spartiakiade of the Strongest’

The head coach of Sintez about the results of the Spartiakiade of the Strongest’

Divers of Sintez Aquatic Sports Club successfully performed at the Spartakiade of the Strongest. Nikita Shleikher has three medals (gold, silver and bronze), Maria Polyakova won a gold, while Alexander Belevtsev has silver and bronze. Coach of Sintez club and head coach of team Tatarstan Pavel Myaukin shared his impressions of the competition in an interview with Realnoe Vremya.

“I have very bright impressions of the Spartiakiade of the Strongest”

Mr Muyakin, what can you say about the results of the Spartiakiade of the Strongest?

I have very bright impressions. And the preparation was top, the spirit of sports competition inside the team was felt, teammates know each other and compete together, very serious competition was felt. I want to note that the competitions in Kazan are always top level, and I have never heard about complaints in this regard.

As for the results, Maria Polyakova won gold in the synchronised springboard with Moscow-born Viktoria Korolyova. And it is a very important result. Maria is a hero because she had been injured a day to the competition when performing individually. We didn’t fully understand the possible consequences of this injury, I was very concerned about it, but Maria managed to recover in a day. And in the last dive they outran the competitors in the fight for the gold.

In the end her absence in individual events led to a situation in which Tatarstan was 40 points far from Saint Petersburg in the medal table finishing fourth.

As for the injuries, I was surprised that Polyakova is back in the competition after the news about her injury. By the way, Nikita Shleikher was also injured, this is why he didn’t compete at the Solidarity Games and he turned out to have such a calendar: a successful performance in the Russian Championship, then he missed the Solidarity Games and he made a triumph during the Spartakiade of the Strongest.

As for Nikita Shleikher, he did a very serious bruise, during a thorough examination it turned out he had two broken toes on his toes, and I think he also was a hero by recovering in less than a month. Now besides the competition in the springboard, he competed in the platform too. Those who stay tuned for his career know that Nikita had already competed in the platform, then he completely switched to the springboard and now he is again back to the platform. Moreover, we created the competition programme almost in a day. He was second until the last dive and finished third in the end. Saying he did a good job is saying nothing. This was done for the team we did our best for, even more than we could.

As for the springboard, Shleikher has gold in the duet when he was first together with Yevgeny Kuznetsov, and the lads scored very serious points that would allow them to compete against the strongest foreign athletes. As for the individual competition, Kuznetsov was stronger, though here we shouldn’t forget that earlier Nikita had win the Russian Cup as early as winter and the Russian Championship in Penza. They have a serious fight with Kuznetsov, Kuznetsov is a very qualified athlete, the world’s diving star, but at the Spartakide Yevgeny was stronger.

“Juniors will compete at the second stage of the Solidarity Games”

Alexander Belevtsev finished third in the springboard, and it is a very serious result because now Sasha is specialised in the platform. But I will repeat that he competed in the springboard for the team, for this we had to come to a compromise because Sasha performs more complicated dives. We simplified his programme a bit to certainly achieve a result, and Sasha was third not in his event.

In the platform, Belevtsev was second competing together with Sandro Rogava from Moscow, moreover, due to some problems Sandro and he managed to have only two training sessions. One session was at the national team’s base in Krugly Lake and the second training almost before the start of the Spartakiade of the Strongest. Of course, it is very tough for them to outperform our leaders Bondar and Ternovoy, but in general the competition can be evaluated as very good.

We fielded Karina Shklyar as another competitor but she couldn’t compete for a good reason, and only five divers scored points for the medal table whereas the competitors had ten or more athletes on their teams.

But you are certainly first in KPI. What plans do you have now? Are you preparing for the second leg of the Solidarity Games?

No, juniors will compete at the second stage, while the first team of Tatarstan will go to a training camp to Tashkent on 20 September. There will be general conditioning, work in the mountains, the gym as preparation stage for the next season.

Our divers can create serious competition in the fight for Olympic medals

By the way, what about the Olympics? For some sports, the absence in the competition this summer is like missing the next Olympics because they catastrophically lose in the rating. Are there Olympic prospects in diving if the athletes return next year?

Yes, missing the world and European championships is just missing these competitions. If there is a permit, we will have the right to compete next year, we can not only to get Olympic tickets but also, I am a hundred per cent sure of this, our divers can create serious competition in the fight for Olympic medals, I mean Kuznetsov and Shleikher in the springboard and Bondar and Ternovoy in the platform. As for the women’s competition, Polyakova seriously improved, Ilyinykh and Kuzina can fight for Olympic medals.

“I consider the status of European championships without Russian and Belarusian athletes illegitimate”

Did you watch the world or European championship?

Unfortunately, I did not because in both cases I was at the training camp at the same Krugly Lake base, and the Internet in Lobna so far leaves a lot to be desired to be able to watch some competitions. Judging by the points, the results of competitors are middling to put it mildly, both in the world and European championships. Clearly, many things are subjective, but Shleikher’s points in the Russian Championship would have allowed him to become second even in the world championship. While I consider the status of European championships without Russian and Belarusian athletes illegitimate.

After the first leg of the Solidarity Games the truly amazing organisation of competitions in Kazan is remembered

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has recently announced the expansion of sports relations with Asian countries — Vietnam, Mongolia. But we perfectly understand that the sports links with China are more important in this aspect. Let’s say, the presence of athletes of this country in diving in our competitions could recreate forgotten matches between the USSR and GDRP or the USA. Is anything known about the possibility of seeing representatives of China in the next competitions?

I know we have contacts at the club level, not national team level, and the second stage of the Solidarity Game can be held as the Presidential Cup with junior teams, we will Chinese athletes. I can say that the news is that there was already received confirmation from Cuba whose athletes are ready to come. In general invitations were sent to representatives of about 50 federations.

I would personally recommend coming because after the first leg of the Solidarity Games the truly amazing organisation of competitions in Kazan is remembered, which was noted by both the president of our federation and coaches, athletes who would put ten out of ten.

Are there any changes in the fate of the former Russian diving federation President Alexey Vlasenko?

What I know is that his status didn’t change, but there is contact with him. And we want all the disagreements with him to be resolved.

Jaudat Abdullin

The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of Realnoe Vremya’s editorial board.