Nikolay Bilanin: ″Seven Russian athletes will take part in snowboarding competitions at EYOF 2019″

On February 9, the XIV European Youth Olympic Festival starts in Sarajevo. Athletes from 46 countries aged 14–18 will compete for medals in eight different types of sports, including snowboarding.

At the previous festival in the Turkish city of Erzurum, Russian snowboarders won 6 medals – two in each category. Can our young athletes equal this achievement at EYOF 2019 in Sarajevo?

– Early on in November, we learned that instead of board cross and parallel giant slalom, big air and slopestyle were included into the program of the festival in Sarajevo, – said Nikolay Bilanin, chief coach of the Russian National Snowboarding Team in acrobatic disciplines, in his interview to the ROC Information Service.

– Did you encounter problems when forming the team?

– Yes, we did. Everything had to be done quickly, considering that initially we planned to perform in Sarajevo in the Alpine disciplines. As a result, the President of the Russian Snowboard Federation Denis Tikhomirov and the coaching council of the RSF had to pretty much rack their brains to assemble a team. Moreover, at this time, the World Championships and the 1st International Winter Games ″Children of Asia″ will be held in the USA and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk respectively. And also the World Universiade will be held in early March in Krasnoyarsk. All these competitions also require attention from RSF.

– Can you tell us a bit more about the athletes who are going to go to Sarajevo.

– Eight athletes can apply to participate at EYOF 2019 in snowboarding: four boys and four girls. All the athletes must be born in 2002-2003. Regarding the boys’ team, three athletes are from Moscow – Yaroslav Linchevsky, Igor Tarakanov and Daniil Stepanov, as well as Timofey Stryukov from St. Petersburg.

Two girls planning to go to Sarajevo were injured, so only three athletes have officially applied: these are Muscovites Varvara Romanova and Anna Kovalevskaya, as well as Kamila Magrufova from Ufa. All the participants of EYOF 2019 will perform in big air and slopestyle.

– Do these young athletes have achievements?

– This will be the first time that they perform at the international level. The best results will come with experience, but for now the young athletes need to work hard and be patient and they must learn how to analyze their own mistakes.

– Where are the snowboarders preparing for the festival?

– In the town of Miass, Chelyabinsk Region, on the slopes of the ski resort Solnechnaya Dolina. Two weeks have been set aside for preparatory training exercises. Andrey Merzlikin and Roman Teymurov are in charge of the training process and they will take the young team to Sarajevo.

– Is there anything you can tell us about the place where the snowboarding competitions will be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

– The race tracks and ski-ramps for big-air and slopestyle were built on the slopes of Mount Belashnitsa. This is a middle altitude mountain and the weather there is relatively warmer than in the Alps or Russia. However, I know that in February this area is usually covered with a lot of snow.

– What result will be considered acceptable?

– We expect Yaroslav Linchevsky, Igor Tarakanov and Varvara Romanova to reach the finals. They are the most experienced athletes in this young team.