Irek Rizaev: ‘I ride in the best extreme park in the world every day’

The Russian champion talks about one of the youngest sports

Irek Rizaev: ‘I ride in the best extreme park in the world every day’
Photo: Мария Зверева

Irek Rizaev, participant of the Olympic Games, seven-time champion of Russia in BMX freestyle, took the final second place at the recent Russian championship in Uram extreme park. But the conversation with Realnoe Vremya was not about the immediate result, but about the dynamics of the development of BMX freestyle in the country.

“It's time to open BMX sports schools”

Irek, how did you start your career in BMX freestyle?

15 years ago, I rode a BMX in the parking lot opposite the Field Hockey Center: there was a small skate park, which we repaired ourselves. We can say that they maintained it ourselves. We had a great time.

What are the prospects for the development of this sport in Tatarstan?

Here it is necessary to determine the goals of growth. Either this is a mass sport, or a sports component with an international focus on results. It's a slightly different story, with big trampolines and so on. But in addition to this, I think it's time to open sports schools in our young sport so that qualified coaches can work with children and from childhood they can orient their students to the sports track.

Irek Rizaev. Мария Зверева /

“I train alone mostly”

Where do you see the process of training future coaches, at the Kazan Olympic Reserve College, at the Volga Region University of Sports?

It's hard to answer, you can train anywhere — this is not a question for me. The main thing is to have the opportunity to train in the best skate park in the country. I ride every day, in my opinion, in the best extreme park in the whole world. Uram is an excellent project that attracts a huge number of children and adults. This is one of the main points of attraction for fans of extreme sports, everything is incredibly cool, from parking to the flagship project. I would like to thank the rais of our republic, who immersed himself in the nuances of the construction of this project, controlled it at all stages. Now it's just the best playground on the planet.

Do you train by yourself? Do you have the opportunity to analyse what you did in training?

Depending on whether one of the friends can come, we can train together, but in general I train by myself. With regard to the video debrief of a training, I can ask you to take a video of a trick, then independently analyse its execution. This has always been the case, I understand your perplexity, this is different from the classic sports of the Olympic programme, but BMX freestyle is a new sport with its own well-established rules. As for me, I generally started with training in the parking lot.

Vyacheslav Ekimov, President of the Russian Cycling Federation. Мария Зверева /

What else do BMX athletes need?

It's hard to say, because Uram in the complex is one of the best, if not the best skate park and extreme playground. Besides, in the major cities of Tatarstan, we have skate parks everywhere, where kids can try their hand at BMX, skateboards, scooters, roller skates. And the popularity of the Kazan park is also explained by that the site is completely free. In order to ride, you only need to put on a helmet, take a bike or something else and come here. You can just walk around the best city on the planet and go to the part where you can still ride.

Over the past one and a half to two years, all the training camps of athletes of the Russian national team have been held in this park. Now we have a huge potential, although we are stewing in our own juice, training and performing exclusively in our country, but this has led to very strong internal competition. I can't wait to see the results of our domestic competition at international competitions, as many strong guys have grown up, whom I would really like to see at the level of international starts.

Pavel Kostyukov: “We want to introduce the methodology developed by our Interdisciplinary Research Team into the training programmes for juniors and young men”

Pavel Kostyukov, the head coach of the national BMX freestyle team, supplemented the words of Irek Rizaev, answering the question from the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.

Irek Rizaev was congratulated on his recent marriage. Мария Зверева /

Pavel, Irek Rizaev talks about the need to open BMX sports schools, which implies a methodological component for a deeper study of your sport. Is there already a similar methodology?

A very cool question that needs to be discussed separately. We had developments on the methodological component developed by the integrated scientific group, which was created under the national team. They developed a method of strength training for athletes, and you can specifically pay attention to that the book “BMX Cycling Strength Training Methodology” appeared in online stores related to cycling just a month ago. We see the next step in deploying this technique in the training program for juniors and young men. It should be noted that nowhere in the world is there a methodological component for the training process, but we have made a great foundation of work, and we with our Interdisciplinary Research Team are ahead of the whole planet. The next step is Rizaev's proposal to open sports schools, this is a very important component in development.

This is very important in the sense that BMX is gaining momentum throughout Russia, increasing the number of students every year. Before the Russian Championship in the extreme park, we had an event in Moscow that gathered 105 participants. If we talk about the composition of the national team, 17 regions are represented there, the more interesting it is to observe the dynamics of development.

Interviewed by Dzhaudat Abdullin

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