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А New Swim

Rio de Janeiro passed the baton on to Tokyo. For the time being, the sporting teams are at the start of the new four-year Olympic season: they are busy with making their plans for the future. The journalist team of Uzbekistan Today begins to talk about how our national team intend to improve the results shown in the last Olympics, which was a record number of medals for the country. We began our enquiries from the Swimming Federation of Uzbekistan.

At the Rio Olympics our swimmers failed to earn a medal, but they still have much to be proud of. Rano Amanova and Vladislav Mustafin became the first swimmers in history, who, having executed the specification A, received a direct hit to the Olympics in three types of swimming. This is despite the fact that the bar was the highest in the history of world swimming – at the level of 16 results of the London Olympics. In the qualifying stages, synchronized swimming girls improved their standing. However, the Paralympics swimmers pleased us by winning 12 different medals in Rio de Janeiro.

“What next?” was our first question in the interview with the head of the sports department at the Swimming Federation of Uzbekistan, Sherzod Inogamov.

“We won’t stop. We intend to grow not only in terms of performances and earned medals. In particular, in the autumn of 2017, for the first time Uzbekistan will host the Asian championship in water sports in which athletes from 40 countries will take part. And the fact that Uzbekistan was selected by the International Swimming Federation as the venue for this prestigious competition indicates that we are on the rise in this sport.”

“And yet, let’s turn to our key topic – preparations to Tokyo. Sports critics have been accusing many federations that the selection of young athletes is not up to standards. What do you think about this?”

“In the next four-year season, we intend to seriously shore up the works in this direction, and the next two years will be very active in this regard. As before, all the republican competitions in Uzbekistan are qualifiers – they help review candidates for inclusion in the national team. In addition, our coaches will travel to the regions specifically for the ‘selection’ of athletes. At the same time, we intend to cash in the potential of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center of Sports Medicine under the National Olympic Committee. Hitherto, the selection of athletes was conducted by trainers with the naked eye, but from now on it will take place with the use of modern medical technology. They will help to realize the potential of the athlete to the fullest. Modern analyses allow for not only judgment on the susceptibility of the nominees for voyage and their abilities, but also facilitate the identification of the most appropriate sport for the athlete.”

“Rumors have been circulating lately that you are going to introduce a type of swimming novel to the country…”

“Swimming, synchronized swimming, diving and water polo are currently developing in Uzbekistan. However, the International Swimming Federation has been active in recent years in promoting a sport like swimming in open water, which is also included in the Olympics program. In the near future we intend to make it into the government register of sports. So far, its development is in its infancy, although a national championship in this sport has been held at the Samarkand rowing channel.”

“And what about the coaching staff? In the last four-year season, the national team had an invited expert from Ukraine.”

“The contract with that coach is over, but we intend to continue the practice of attracting foreign specialists. Currently we are negotiating with leading celeb coaches from Australia, France, Germany and Japan. The focus on these countries is not accidental: they are recognized as world leaders in the development of water sports, and we want to borrow from their expertise. I think in a few months we will be able to announce specific names.”

“And, as the conclusion of our conversation, which swimming pools will serve as training venues for our athletes?”

“We plan to use all the pools in order for diving to become a mass sport. The more kids will go swimming, the more we will be able to foster talented and promising athletes. So now the task is to run all available pools in the country, including those that are inactive due to technical reasons. In this case the objective is that all pools must work all year round. In the preparation of the national team, as it always has been the case, all the best pools of capital city will be involved.

Moreover, pools will emerge in the regions, too, with the level required for international competitions. One of the first such modernization projects is going to be undertaken in Samarkand, in the pool of the junior sports school. Among the people it is more known under the name “Dolphin”.”

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