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Interview of Governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova to ITAR – TASS News Agency


Interview of Governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova to ITAR – TASS News Agency

The Governor of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug Natalia Komarova told about the Rapid Chess and Blitz World Championship to the correspondent of ITAR-TASS and about the goals of Ugra the hockey team as well as about the prize money assigned for the Ugra sportsmen at the Olympic Games in Sochi.

- In Khanty-Mansiysk the Rapid Chess and Blitz World Championship shall be finalized on the 10th of June. Please, sum up this Event. Which interest of the audience was attracted to these tournaments? Why the capital of Ugra has been chosen as a place of the chess tournaments’ venue?

- This is the eighth season of the international chess tournaments for Ugra. You know that during all these years a solid experience has been gained as well as powerful sport infrastructure of the world level has been developed and our hospitality industry has stepped forward. The interest in chess in the region has developed into mass hobby of people of any age. The training programs and clubs have involved all of them beginning from the preschool children to the retirees. All these facts give us the solid grounds to support our world chess competence at high level and to fight for the right to accept the high-class tournaments at our Ugor lands. 

In spite of the huge number of the Grand Masters of international fame, our Ugor chess players competed with dignity at the last Rapid Chess World Championship. Alexei Dreev ranked the 17th, Dmitry Yakovenko – the 22nd. No doubt we rooted for the Russian sportmen. A complex task was set since it is sometimes harder to retain the champion title than to win it. Unfortunately this time the Russian sportsmen could not rank the first and Yan Nepomniaschy and Alexander Grischuk ranked the first and the third as a result. It is pity but this is a sport. We believe in our sportsmen since they deserve victory and I believe that the current result shall become a certain base for the future new brilliant achievements.

The results of the Blitz World Championship shall be known today. Many Ugor citizens are highly interested in the chess therefore we wait impatiently for the results. Besides the inhabitants of the Autonomous Okrug who watched in live as I would say the whole process of the set. Over 400 thou amateurs of the chess all over the world watched the webcast of the championships in English and Russia languages during all these five competition days. In total, the audience of the official website of the World Championships amounts to 1.5 mn from 150 countries. At this I would like to note that this website enjoyed the most popularity amongst the inhabitants of Russia, Germany, USA, Spain and Vietnam.

- Are the participants of the championships pleased with Khanty-Mansiysk? Hotels, competition venue, and cultural program. Everything has been managed at high level?

- Considering the reviews the chess players are pleased with. Ugra has become their real home during the years of its chess biography. Traditionally we welcome and give a send-off to the sportsmen with the colorful theatrical opening and closing ceremonies. And that is a distinctive symbol of the sport hospitality of Ugra. At least, the sportsmen tell that this is an unparalleled event. The sport hotel Olympiiskaya where the championships’ participants live was specially built up for the Olympic Games held in 2010. Everything is well-managed there beginning from planning to catering, to achieve high level of comfort and convenience. Ugor Chess Academy became a championship venue. As many top-level chess players and FIDE leaders recognize, its building is not only the most modern one but also comfortable to manage various competitions. The arbiters’ team worked also without any complaints or censures. I believe that the tournaments were successful and both the participants together with the guests were pleased with.

- How are things going in Khanty-Mansiysk with the local chess players? How the local junior players are trained? How many chess schools function in the region?
- In Ugra all necessary conditions are created to develop this sport. We do have skilled specialists and talented sportsmen. Also, chess support at the level of the Autonomous Okrug government plays significant role. At the moment the chess players are trained in twenty three physical culture schools for children and young people founded in Ugra. Over 15 thou of Ugra inhabitants are trained into these sports clubs. Besides, the lessons of chess mastership are taught in 120 educational organizations. During last six years the chess clubs have been open in every second school of our Autonomous Okrug. Our rising generation enjoys the opportunity not only to study chess but also to demonstrate the mastership level in Nadezhda Rossii the chess individual and team championship of the Autonomous Okrug held for the children teams as well as at the Okrug tournament Belaya Ladia. The winners of these competitions might compete in the All-Russia Competitions with the similar name.

- Which other chess competitions were and shall be held in Khanty-Mansiysk besides the world championships?

- During the last years about ten large all-Russia and international tournaments were held in Ugra. The most dramatic event not only for the Autonomous Okrug but also for the whole world chess society was the 39th World Chess Olympic Games held in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2010. For the first time we accepted the guests from 150 countries of the world. Besides, beginning from 2005 the World Chess Cups were managed in our Autonomous Okrug. If speaking about the nearest future, in 2014 we shall accept the stage of Chess Grand Prix for women, the Rapid Chess and Blitz World Championship for women. Besides, the team chess championship together with a range of the international competitions for the juniors shall be held in Khanty-Mansiysk.

- Your region is known in the whole world as a center of the winter sports. Here, the largest biathlon and skis competitions are held. Ugra the hockey league enters praiseworthy. Is there any link between development of high performance sport and elite sport in the region?

- In Ugra mass sport is a certain forge of the personnel for high performance sport. Since sometimes people engage into sport because they are fans of their favorite team or sportsman. Our goal is to involve as many people as possible as well as to create the conditions for development of mass sport. In Ugra 55 sports schools are established where about 85 thou children and young people study. This is a so-called initial stage of high performance sport. If a sportsman demonstrates successes, he or she is to be trained into the National Teams’ Training Center of Ugra.

Beginning from 2010 when our hockey team Ugra made its debut in Kontinental Hockey League we were actively engaged in children hockey. If three years ago only 60 students studied in the school for children and young people now over 300 children are taught there in eleven age groups. The situation has been improved not only from numerical point of view but qualitative, too. Our five study and training groups including the generation from 12 to 17 years old won the right to enter the group The Strongest following the results of this year. These are durable results. Having such a base we might be certain about future of Ugra both in the young hockey league and in the masters’ tournament in the long term.

To ensure the conditions for such a future we develop gradually our ice facilities. Now about thirteen objects are built up all over in Okrug. And we expect that the main contour of the material and technical basis of mass sport of Ugra shall be formed in total by 2016. More eight objects are planned to be constructed at the whole territory of Autonomous Okrug. And it shall be sufficiently powerful industry engaging over one hundred trainers including string layer of the amateur hockey.

- Which tasks are set for Ugra in the next season?
- No doubt our key goal is an entry of the team in play-off. The fans expect it since the Ugra inhabitants are worn out with waiting for the victories of their favorite club. We are faced with serious work covering strengthening of the club as well as search for the new sponsors, development of the new approaches to our work with the fans and hockey amateurs all around Ugra. We lay high hopes on our hockey team Mamonty Ugry. This year they ranked third. I believe that in the forthcoming season the sportsmen will show better results.

- Which additional support from the regional authorities shall be rendered to the local Olympic competitors, who are to take on the Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi?
- We create all conditions to provide for them with all necessary things and to give them an opportunity to be entirely concentrated on their trainings. Besides development of the sports’ infrastructure, the additional means are assigned from the Okrug budget to pay the transportation fare when getting to the training sessions and competitions as well as to purchase the sports equipment including medical insurance. Today our sportsmen might enjoy the opportunity to be rehabilitated and to be treated in the best clinics not only of Russia but abroad. High attention is given to the housing conditions of the sportsmen representing our Autonomous Okrug at the Olympic, Paralympic and Deaf Olympic Games as well as at the World and Europe Championships.

- Is the premium rate set for the Olympic medals?
- Lump-sum remuneration equal to 100 thou rubles is provided for participation in the Olympic, Paralympic and Deaf Olympic Games and three mn are set for the third place for an athlete, five mn rubles for the second one, and the gold medalists shall obtain seven mn rubles. But we do nmot forget about the trainers, too. Their lump-sum remuneration is equal to one half from the total sum received by his or her student. Beside, every sportsman receives a monthly-paid grant following the results of performance during the Olympic, Paralympic and Deaf Olympic Games.

- What could you tell about development of the national sports I the region?

- We pay special attention to them. Beginning from 1996 the national sports enter top-ten priority sports of the Autonomous Okrug at the level of biathlon, cross country ski race, and box. We are in the lead in development of the national sports of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, and our sportsmen are the strongest in the country.
Today about nine hundred inhabitants of Ugra are engaged in the traditional national sports. We arrange such sporting events as the Championship for the National Sports Zvezdy Ugry (Ugra Stars), the regional competitions for the national sports Okhotnichy Biathlon (Hunting Biathlon). In this March the Cup of Russia for the Northern MultiAthlon was held in the Syrgut District. The sportsmen from Evenkiya, Taimyr, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Yakutia, Tyumen and Magadan Districts, Yamal and Ugra took part in the event. According to the results of all stages the team of our Autonomous Okrug ranked the first. I should add that today we consider the opportunity to develop and implement the program for the national sports in the general education program of Ugra.

- And what about you? Which sports do you prefer? Can you find free time for sport? 
- I have been always interested in hockey since my childhood. My father was real fan and as for me, I supported always our national team and now Ugra one. Also, I went in for such sports as basketball, skis, shooting, athletics as all schoolchildren and students during their studies. These sports are presented in Ugra at serious level. So, we have those to support at the tournaments of the highest level. And no doubt that I have open biathlon for myself and now this is a part of my life as a supporter. It is a beautiful sport, which is native for Ugra. Nevertheless, every day I am on my track for one hour and half, not less.
- Why is it critical for the citizens of Russia to support sport lifestyle?
- First of all, sport means health. This is an active stand in life, a movement. And movement means life. This is a healthy alternative to those threats and harmful habits, which destroy our society from its inside. To be strong we are to be healthy and become sports nation.

Albert Starodubtsev

/ITAR-TASS, Moscow/


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