Alexey Svirin: ‘We are negotiating with foreign coaches’

New President of the Russian Rowing Federation, 2004 Olympic champin told the ROC Information Service about the  reasons that have prompted him to participate in the elections of the Russian Rowing Federation President, changes to the coaching staff of the national team and goals of the new Olympic cycle.

– I was very worried, when almost all our Rowing team was excluded from participating in the Rio Olympic Games, – confessed Alexey Svirin. – I myself was an athlete, and I know how difficult it is to win Olympic license and what you have to sacrifice for that. Also I was so was upset for the guys, since for many of them it was  probably the only chance to perform at the main tournament of their lives. The more I thought about this  flagrant injustice, the more I realised the necessity of  fundamental changes to the Russian Rowing Federation authorities.

Later we started to prepare for the report-elective conference, found first  Russian Rowing Federation presidential candidates. I am not wishing to offend anyone, but first among them I didn’t see a person, that could really become consolidating force and change the situation for the better. Soon I had a meeting with the St.Petersburg Rowing Federation President Sergey Pozdeyev. We exchanged points of view at our sport’s further development and understood that most of our points of view coincided. At the end of the meeting Sergey suggested that we should work together.

– And then you decided to run for the presidency, right?

– No. I held a few more meetings with people, who were directly  related to Russian  Rowing sport and who care for it. And only  after  gaining their  support, I decided that I could run for presidency. My objective, as I see it, is  not to distribute pretty business cards, sitting in a comfortable presidential chair, but to bring our sport to a new level. It’s obvious, that the results will not be seen at once. We need a comprehensive goal-oriented program, and we have already started to work on it.

– Are Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals achievable?

– We will  strive for  them! At the forst stage it is very important to create a team of like-minded enthusiasts. Since I am new to this leading position, I am counting on my experienced colleagues’ support. Such as, for example, Sergey Pozdeev. He secured the position of the Russian Rowing Federation First Vice-President and therefore we will work together. I would also like to thank all those, who worked for the Federation in the past Olympic cycle. After all, our rowing team won six Olympic licenses. Compared to the Beijing and London Games they have made great strides forward. Who could predict that politics would brazenly interfere in sports and Russian Rowing team would be represented in Rio by only one crew?!

– Former Head coach of the Russian team Sergey Verlin became  the Russian Rowing Federation Vice-President. Who will take up his position?

– We are negotiating with foreign specialists. One of them is 2008 Olympic champion Ben Rutledge of Canada, who was a member of the national team headquarters before. As for Mike Spracklen of Britain, now he will not be able to devote as much time as necessary to the team.