Stanislav Pozdnyakov: “It’s a pity that there were no European Youth Olympic Festivals in my time”

The Novogorsk Training Centre hosted today a ceremony of seeing off the Russian Olympic team for the 14th European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Before the departure, the young athletes were addressed by ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov; ROC Secretary General, five-time synchronised swimming Olympic champion Anastasia Davydova; and RUSADA Director General Yury Ganus.

— From now on, you are all representatives of the large and friendly Olympic family, — noted Stanislav Pozdnyakov. — Looking at you, I remember my youth. Unfortunately, there were no European Youth Olympic Festivals at that time. That’s why, deep down, I’m even a bit jealous. You are entrusted with a responsible and at the same time honourable mission — to represent at the Olympic competitions one of the leading sports nations in the world!

Of course, we expect high results and vibrant victories from you. But these competitions are valuable not only for the awards. Soon you will be living in a real Olympic village and get acquainted with your peers from other countries. One of the main principles of big sport is as follows: “Rivals on the court — friends in life”. Bring from Sarajevo new impressions, new friends and, of course, medals!

Anastasia Davydova noted that being part of the Russian Olympic team is a great honour for any athlete and expressed hope that the Festival in Sarajevo will be the first step for the youth on their path to the Olympic peak.

— Unlike Mr. Pozdnyakov, I was lucky to participate in such competitions — I mean the World Youth Games hosted by Moscow in 1998. I can tell you honestly: the experience I obtained then can’t be compared with anything!

The vibrant finishing touch to the ceremony was the handing over of the ROC banner to captain of the Russian hockey team Marat Khusnutdinov, who promised on behalf of the whole team to achieve the highest possible results in Sarajevo and thanked the ROC for their support during the athletes’ preparation for the competition.

The 14th European Youth Olympic Winter Festival will be held in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9–16 February. About 1,500 athletes aged 14–18 years from 50 European countries, who will compete in 31 medal events across 8 sports disciplines, will take part in the competition.

At 11 of the 13 previous Festivals, the Russian team ranked first by informal overall team performance.

In Sarajevo, 61 athletes will perform on our team, including figure skater Anna Shcherbakova. At the adult championships of Russia in Saransk in December 2018, Eteri Tutberidze’s trainee came first, ahead of Olympic champion Alina Zagitova and two-time world champion, silver medallist of the 2018 Games Evgenia Medvedeva.