A conference dedicated to sailing, its development and preparation of the national team for the Games 2016 and 2020 was held on September 17 in the RIA Novosti» press center«. About this and many other things after the event the «Championship.com» correspondent asked Ekaterina Skudina, who finished her professional career and is now actively engaged in the issues of Olympism in the WFTU Presidium.
- Ekaterina, how do you feel in the new quality - in the WFTU Presidium?
- For me, this year is quite a difficult, transitional one, and all the delights of transition are present. I feel okay. I keep doing what I like. Yachting is my life, and I'll still be somewhere near it, even if it's not in an Olympic capacity, but in a way. But I think I'm useful at this stage. We're making a lot of new moves in the Federation right now. And I hope very much that we will be able to bring the WFTU to such a dynamic developing organization, which will be at the forefront of our sporting events, and closer to 2020 we will be waiting for medals.
- How much time as a percentage now do you spend on water and land?
- Right now, there's a very big advantage to sushi. I think it's a compensation for all the time that has been spent on the water during these 12 years of Olympism and 22 years of professional yachting life (smiling).
- Wasn't it a shame when Elliott 6 was expelled from the Olympic program? Still, your class...
- That's a good question. I think that the ISAF has made a big mistake. Despite the fact that I was not going to continue my Olympic career, I believe that the match races gave a stunning picture of the Olympics and thus conditioned the prize that was awarded to sailing for the best television coverage. It seems to me that they needed to introduce more men's match-race plus some mixed match-race. Because the match race format is one-on-one. More compact races, a clear fight: two competitors are always together, there is an intrigue with penalties. That is, all those attributes that guarantee fantastic success with the viewer on the shore and the TV viewer. In my opinion, ISAF is guided by some other factors and focuses on other things when choosing Olympic classes. If they wanted to promote sailing and thought about how to attract the viewer, match racing is just what is needed.
- The program of the Games is constantly changing: something is being added, something is leaving. Is there a chance for the return of match races?
- Frankly speaking, it reminds us of some kind of convulsions. We enter «the Tornado», we remove «the Tornado», then we enter the «Nacra». So we put in a catamaran, we take out a catamaran. I don't understand the logic, but I hope that ISAAF will find it for some of their decisions, because they occasionally make unreasonable... I think there are chances. The only thing that's not too conducive to this is the English lobby. The fact is, the match race is about a match. And the English are used to working with the material part and get the advantage in speed due to good shells. This guarantees a certain result at the Olympics. What did we see in match races? The result was influenced by more factors. I think there are a number of countries that are not very interested in the return of the match race. But we'll see.
- During the press conference, you noted that there are a number of classes where young people should be sent to the Olympics, as there is little shining in Rio de Janeiro. Which classes exactly are these?
- It will be necessary to see in 2015, when we start forming the Olympic team, whether we have strong leaders in the classes, what prospects they have and what places they claim. If they take 15 to 20 places in the world cups, it's hard to expect them to win an Olympic medal, right? We got used to the fact that at the pre-Olympic European championship, where no one comes, our athlete becomes the fifth, and we immediately: «Oh, our Olympic star!» And we should look at the statistics, at a number of events where all the leading drivers are present. It's silly to link your expectations with the competition, which no one came to. They'll all be at the Olympics. That's why in 2015 it will be absolutely clear which classes we have a chance of, and in which classes we should send young people and let them gain experience.
- Then what classes are feeling good at the moment?
- I'm afraid to seem overly skeptical, but I'm used to coming from the worst-case scenario, and I do not have much enthusiasm for some classes now. I think we should work on new classes. I know by the example of Ingling, when you come to a new class, you start from scratch with all the world's racers and look for an approach to it with the world elite, it's much easier to keep up with them and compete with them. And in «470», the Aussies led by Kovalenko have already gone 25 steps ahead, and while we're doing one, they'll go two more steps ahead. Even if we do two, and they're only one, can you imagine how many years it takes us to catch up with what they've already done? That's why «Nacra» and «49-fx» for women look more promising to me. But we still need to find such brave women who are not afraid to perform in this class (smiling).
- Question concerning the program Growth «Point»: you said that one of the bases for the preparation of the national team will be in Sochi, this city is part of the program. In general, do the growth points imply transformation into federal bases?
- That would be great. I would be happy if I could train in Russia - it's both cheaper and more comfortable. Can you imagine what it's like to be at a training camp in a foreign country for 25 days, to speak a foreign language? It is very difficult. And if we can train our athletes at home, in their native language, it will be much easier for the guys. But at the same time we have to meet some conditions. We need a good, competitive fleet to have someone to train with, we need normal infrastructure and warm weather to spend enough time on the water, not lose it while waiting for heat. Accordingly, if we could build this base in Anapa - it would be a great step, just a breakthrough in terms of preparation of the Olympic team. Not yet, we're looking at Valencia.
- The Federation has decided to focus on centralized training. At the same time, other summer species are trying to reduce their time if not to move away from it, because a long stay in one place has a negative effect... Why?
- The preparation process is complex and multiphase. You have to see who is and where. There are some leaders who are ready to go on an individual program. Try to get me into centralized training two years ago. I'd say: «Thank you all, goodbye!» This was due to the fact that I was ready to train alone. So I could train with any leader in my class. They were interested in my crew. I was perfectly calm with both Tunnickliff and Lera and MacGregor - American, French, and English. We could choose any point on the map, go there, bring the specialists and build up the training process ourselves.
I would be happy if one of the guys, who are now in the national team, would do the same. But I have doubts about that. We are now in the phase where we still have to raise athletes who can then do something on their own. As long as we have only ambitions, I can do anything, I want everything. But the result is obvious, unfortunately. Of course, if someone wants to train separately now, we will not oppose, but we will look at the results of this independent training.
Photo: Ruslan Krivobok, «RIA Novosti.»
The author: Mila Volkova