Klavdia Mayorova: ‘Ivanov and Sazonov will certainly perform at the Olympics once again’

On 22 November, 2016 the Russian National Badminton Championships got underway in Ramenskoye. This tournament is one of the qualifying stages of the European Team  Championships that will be held in February 2017 in Poland. That is why these days Head Coach of the Russian team Klavdia Mayorova will be one of the most attentive and interested viewer at the Borisoglebsky Sports Palace.

– In February top eight performers of the Championships of Russia and athletes who will perform successfully at the  Russian Cup in December will be invied to the training camp of the Russian team, – said Klavdia Mayorova in an interview with the ROC Information Service.

– Who of the young athletes deserves special attention?

– It will be interesting to watch Rodion Alimov and Aina Davletova in the mixed. In my opinion it is a very promising pair. In men’s single 15-year-old Artyom Karpov demostrates a mature-beyond-years game. By the way, he has already won two matches  today. Seventeen-year-old Anastasia Semyonova looks good. Of course, physically it is very difficult for them to fight with experienced rivals, but their potential is great. Now it is important to save these guys when moving from junior to senior level

– Is  generational change coming to the national team?

– This process is unavoidable, especially at the beginning of the new Olympic cycle. None of the old team members have announced the end of their careers yet, but some indirect signs indicate that soon Nina Vislova and Vitaliy Durkin can  finish their sporting careers. Now I am only talking about the national team where  higher requirements are implemented. However people can continue their sporting careers, playing for example in some foreign leagues.

– Mentally return to Rio, was it possible to get the Olympic medal in the men’s  doubles?

– Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sazonov as you know finished their fight in the quarter-finals. Could they defeat the Chinese pair? They could! In the third set our guys were leading 18:15, but suddenly Volodya started to simplify the game, and at this level simple reliability is not enough active measures are necessary.

Of course, severe injury (Achilles tendon rupture) received by Ivan Sazonov one month before the Olympics played its role. It’s impossible to restore muscles in such a short time. Ivan was 30% ready, not more. When the match lasted more than three sets, the injured leg started to bother Ivan.

I also want to note that the guys spent a lot of energy at the  Group Play Stage, where they defeated a very strong pair from Korea – leaders of the world ranking. After that in the quarter-finals Ivanov and Sazonov didn’t cope first of all with their nerves. They understood that the medal was very close and the psychological strain, that has occurred, destroyed the athletes. Was it possible to overcome it at the trainig sessions. Yes, by additional trainings. But we didn’t know how would Ivan’s knee react to additional trainings. We desided not to risk…

– Sazonov is now 27, Ivanov is 29. Can they participate in the  Olympics once again?

– Why not?! Average age of Badminton players at the Rio Games was 28-29 years. Compare: at the London Olympics it was 26. It’s obvious that Badminton is becoming older and the current competition format gives the advantage to more experienced athletes.