Ildar Mamedov: “We need to prepare the team, that will win Olympic licenses, in one year”

European Fencing Championships will be held from June 16 to June 21 in the Serbian city of Novi Sad. Russian epee and saber teams prepare for it in the Ozero Krugloe training center near Moscow. While foil fencers (both men and women) train in Sochi, because in Novogorsk everything is devoted to the football team now, said Ilgar Mamedov, head coach of the Russian fencing team.

– Our football players are favored in every way. They think that it will help, Mamedov said. – Since May 15 at the Novogorsk training camp conditions are created for them in the fencing and rhythmic gymnastics gyms. In addition, the football players need a separate gym. For some reason  they can not train together with everyone else. However,  our hockey stars Kovalchuk, Datsyuk and others could easily work side by side with our boys and girls, and they became the Olympic Champions.

These days the Novogorsk training camp does not belong to itself, because it was under the jurisdiction of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee. The security is carried out by a structure that does not know us. We’re strangers to it. After returning from Sochi, I could not enter the territory for a long time, until I got the documents that were on the territory of the training camp. I had a box of fireworks in my trunk. I explained that I was not going to launch fireworks on the territory of the training camp; our great athlete and coach Mark Semenovich Rakita (Olympic champion of 1964 and 1968 in team saber) will celebrate 80th birthday his at the end of July. And they said that I still had to take it out.

We were deprived of twelve training tracks in Novogorsk and we were forced to move to Sochi. The training center was good there as well as the weather. While the epee and saber fencers are freezing on the Round Lake.

We will go to Serbia on June 14 and 15.

– Traditional question: do you have a medal plan?

– The tournament in Serbia is a stage of preparation for the main competition of the season, the World Championships, which will be held in the last decade of July in China.

– Last year, the Russian team was second in the medal standings after Italy both at the European Championships and at the World Championships.

– During the World Championships in Leipzig, the Italians moved ahead of us only on the final day of the competitions. But I as well as our experts, we were satisfied with the result. After all, our composition has changed by 60 percent. Now Sonya Velikaya is back after childbirth.

– However, the process of rejuvenation continues. Thus, there is a 16-year-old fencer in epee team, Azamat Murtazayeva.

– Now our goal is to prepare the team to fight for Olympic licenses. And we have only one year. The Olympic race will start on April 1, 2019. We need to perform and win rating points. In fencing the system of getting to the Olympics is compl It is required of the athletes to keep the whole year in good shape. In the Pan-American zone there is only the US team, in Asia there Japan, Korea and China. While in Europe, there are a lot of strong fencing teams. In the last Olympics we had the maximum number of licenses. We will fight for the same result this time.