Ruslan Faizov, an employee of TAIF-NK, becomes world champion in karate-shotokan as part of Russian national team
Ruslan Faizov, a process unit operator at TAIF-NK Refinery, has become the world champion in the most prestigious category of kumite — a team of men, athletes. The World Championship, as well as the International competitions "1st Indo-Pacific JKA Cup” in shotokan (one of the main styles of Japanese karate) have been held in East Africa, on the island of Mauritius.
“This tournament was very important for the Russian national team”
Sport has long been an integral part of life for the process unit operator at TAIF-NK Refinery, Ruslan Faizov. For more than 20 years he has been professionally engaged in oriental martial arts karate-shotokan. He did not give up his hobby even when in 2010 he got a job at one of the largest oil refineries in Tatarstan.
New responsibilities, a shift schedule did not become an obstacle to conquering sports peaks. A clear daily routine helps him to achieve success both at work and in sports. Ruslan trains himself and teaches martial arts to young athletes-“karateks” in the BARS Academy of Oriental Martial Arts.
Today, Ruslan Faizov has a lot of awards of various levels in his treasury. He is the winner of the championships of Russia, winner of the Cup of Russia, winner of the European Championship. But the most important achievement in his sports career is the victory at International competitions — in the World Karate-Shotokan Championship in Mauritius.
“From September 12 to 17, 2023, my athletes and I, as part of the Russian national team, took part in international competitions held in the South African country, Mauritius, in the city of Saint-Pierre. This tournament was very important for the Russian national team, as for a number of reasons almost all sports were banned from international competitions, including karate-shotokan. For us, this tournament has been the first since 2019. This is a serious test of their strength, and Africa became the venue, which especially surprised many," says Ruslan Faizov.
According to him, before getting into the national team of Russia, athletes had to pass an additional selection — to win the championship and the championship of Russia.
“We started preparing for the competition 2,5 months before the competition. Having completed the main training season, having rested for two weeks, in early June we started the training process, breaking it into several cycles and stages. Training took place every day. I made up the entire training programme myself, choosing a number of exercises and loads both for myself and for the youngest athletes and older ages," he emphasises.
As Ruslan notes, 1,164 athletes as part of national teams from 26 countries of five continents took part in the World Championship among juniors and boys/girls in karate-shotokan in Mauritius at the men's and women's world championships. The most numerous was the national team from South Africa, it included 150 athletes. Russia was represented by 102 people.
“There were a lot of principled rivals, especially from Europe. The strongest teams from Germany and the Czech Republic, plus always charged Belgians, French and British. The composition of the participants was serious. The first days of the competition were opened by children's and youth categories. I would like to mention my athletes. The guys who participated in the “Boys, 12 years old” category did not give their rivals a chance and took the entire podium. To these two awards, two gold medals from young female athletes of 10 and 12 years old were added. On the first day of the competition, the guys from the BARS Academy won five gold, two silver and two bronze medals to our team's treasury. A very good and worthy result," Ruslan says, not without pride.
“As a coach and athlete, I am very pleased with the result”
Ruslan himself participated in two categories: individual and team championship of the World Cup.
“Unfortunately, I asked just a bit in the personal category. After three fights, I went through the draw to the quarterfinals and met with my compatriot. I lost in an additional fight with a score of 0:1, but it's a sport, it happens. In parallel, the most elite category began — team matches. We call it the “wall”. The peculiarity of this category is that each score, violation, victory or defeat of one of the participants in a team match can decide the outcome of the entire meeting. Having held three team matches, we reached the semifinals against our principal rivals — the German national team," he says.
In team duels, Ruslan Faizov performed with his countryman, the captain of the Russian national team in shotokan, Daniil Seleznev.
“Each match was very intense, but we defeated the Germans with a score of 3:0, all three fights were won by our athletes. The South African national team waited for us in the final, which performed early and already watched our team's matches. After the victory over the Germans, the charge of emotions was crazy. Athletes from South Africa understood that they could not cope with this team. The final itself comes, literally seconds remain until the last fight — and here it is, the gong! It's over! There was a crazy buzz in the hall, the fans were chanting: “Russia, Russia!”, Ruslan recalls with enthusiasm.
Despite winning international competitions, Ruslan is sure that he still has something to strive for. Sport, according to him, does not stand still, and there is no limit to perfection.
“As a coach and athlete, I am very pleased with the result, there were no mistakes, there is nowhere without them. There is something to work on. We keep moving on. Every tournament is a new challenge. Now all my athletes are already in the process of preparing for new competitions. Three of my students will soon go to the training camp in the Tula region, the rest are preparing for a new selection for the Russian national team. Currently, a new selection for the Shotokan World Cup is beginning among athletes, which in 2024 should take place in Japan, a suburb of Tokyo. For us, it is comparable to the Olympics — the tournament takes place every three years, and the fact that it will be held in the homeland of karate, in the Land of the Rising Sun, gives additional significance to the tournament," Ruslan Faizov noted.
Support of the native enterprise
Ruslan emphasises that all these years he feels the support of his native enterprise. The oil refining company also provided financial assistance for the trip to Mauritius.
“On my own behalf, as well as on behalf of the heads of the Federation of Oriental Martial Arts in the Republic of Tatarstan, I would like to express my gratitude to Maxim Anatolyevich Novikov, the director general of TAIF-NK JSC, for financial assistance and organisation of the trip. I would like to thank Vladimir Gatunka, the assistant director general, Vladimir Lakhomov, the director of the refinery plant, and Pavel Gavrilov, the head of the refinery Shop No. 01, for the attention and trust," the world champion in shotokan thanked.
Ruslan Faizov emphasises that the oil refining company has always been with sports on first-name terms. Various corporate competitions are constantly held at the enterprise: tournaments in table tennis, athletics, mini-football, volleyball, skiing, and swimming, as well as a sports event for passing the GTO standards. The company also takes an active part in city competitions. To keep fit, oil refiners regularly visit fitness centres. Every employee of TAIF-NK JSC has the opportunity to play table tennis, football, volleyball, play hockey or just skate with the whole family on the ice arena and much more.
Employees of TAIF-NK are active participants in the popular extreme competitions Race of Heroes. At the competitions held this summer in Samara, the platoon under the command of Ruslan Faizov won the confident first place, five minutes ahead of the nearest rivals.
“I have been participating in the Race of Heroes for the last two years. The competitions can be compared to an army march. This is not just a competition, it is primarily an internal struggle with oneself. It all depends on the team, on the participants of the race. Someone runs for himself, testing his strength and abilities, someone gets adrenaline or drive. Someone needs a result, because when there is a goal, it is easier to overcome difficulties, Ruslan is sure.
According to him, the TAIF-NK team in the Race of Heroes includes former athletes and colleagues who actively lead a sporting life. However, every employee of an oil refinery can create his own platoon and take part in competitions — given the will, Ruslan emphasises.
“The sports component of the company depends on the top management. Our company hosts many different sports competitions, and not only in the form of competitions. Our employees really liked the Health Day. This is a cultural and sports event for the whole family. Such events are very important. For someone, this can be a starting point for further sports or fitness. Someone will simply have a desire to try themselves in sports and participate in more serious competitions that our company holds, Ruslan is sure.
According to him, over the years of working at TAIF-NK and coaching, he has developed a simple formula for himself: firmly believe in success, make efforts, and then the result will exceed all expectations.
“Any physical activity, sports is already a work on yourself. The most important thing is to believe in yourself that everything will work out. Never back down, never give up. Doubts give a bad effect, slow down progress and development. You don't need to think about it, you need to work on yourself, believe in yourself and always go to your goal both in sports and in work!” Ruslan Faizov summed up.