Ilgar Mamedov: "It's very important that best fencers of the world will participate in 'Moscow Saber' tournament in such difficult time"
This Friday Moscow's VTB Ice Palace sports complex will host traditional international fencing tournament for men and women as part of the Grand Prix Series "Moscow Saber". Head coach of the Russian fencing team, two-time Olympic champion Ilgar Mamedov discussed this event in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- How important is the "Moscow Saber" compared to other events?
- First of all, I would like to note that this year it will be an anniversary, 45th tournament, although officially it's considered 43rd. The "Moscow Saber" was held in 1973 for the first time, and since then it has always been held at a very high level. Every year this tournament ends up being great and everyone likes it, which attracts a large number of participants and strong competition for prizes. So thanks to participation of the strongest athletes it's always interesting to fence and fight for medals at the "Moscow Sabre". Naturally, after competitions fencers from all over the world have an opportunity to enjoy our beautiful city, our capital - Moscow - especially during the festive spring days. It's very important that best fencers of the world will participate in 'Moscow Saber' tournament in such difficult time.
- Who is the leader in Russia's team today?
- Kamil Ibragimov and Veniamin Reshetnikov perform very well this season, and they are leaders in terms of strength, experience and titles. We also have three fencers, which will complete our team together with leaders - Dmitry Danilenko, Konstantin Lohanov and Anatoly Kostenko. But four members will be determined after the "Moscow Sabre", after men's competitions in Madrid and women's in Tunisia. Based on the results of these tournaments, we will reveal our national team.
- Who will be Russia's team biggest rival this year?
- Geography of our competitors is really broad. There are Asian athletes, especially physically and technically gifted Koreans, both men and women, and all European countries - Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania. Ukraine has very strong women's team. American team, both men and women, is also strong. This is what makes fencing interesting, competitions are great, and if athlete wins, then he truly is better than anyone on planet.
- What do you think about development of fencing in the South Caucasus countries?
- Georgia has strong, competitive team that shows good results. They often participate at our camps, president of Georgia's federation Zazam Chelizdze is a former fencer himself, and he's doing everything possible to revive Georgian fencing. I hope that level of Azerbaijan's new federation will grow quickly. It was formed in September and began to popularize fencing in the country, in schools and sections. If more children would want to learn, there will be more opportunitoes to find future stars of Azerbaijani fencing. When country itself wants to develop sports, and Azerbaijan really wants it, after all, it's no coincidence that federation was reformed with a specific plan of tasks for the coming years, sooner or later there will be results.
- Do federations of Russia and Azerbaijan cooperate?
- We're ready to help Azerbaijan's federation, we're ready to help its fencers. Those coaches they have now can't quickly bring athletes to the required level, especially since there are not too many coaches. For example, we have established cooperation with the fencing federation of Uzbekistan, its athletes come to us for training. We're ready to do the same with other fraternal countries, we basically agreed on doing the same with Azerbaijan. They just have to find talents that we will train. Of course, things won't get better immediately: fencers have come to our training camps, they must reach the right level.