Russian athletes confident: Russian Olympic chief

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-31 9:13:53

Russia is at the final stage of preparations for the Sochi Olympics, and Russian athletes feel rather confident at their home ground, head of the country's Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov has said.

"It is always a pleasure to compete in your native country as spectators really support you. And our athletes have been training at the Olympic race tracks and stadiums," Zhukov told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Zhukov said the Russian team includes a number of world and Olympic champions including Evgeni Plushenko, who has undergone a surgery ahead of the Olympics.

"He (Plushenko) is very brave. He found courage to overcome all the injuries and get ready for the upcoming Olympics," Zhukov added.

For Albert Demchenko, the Sochi Games will be his seventh Olympics, which will be a record, Zhukov noted.

The Russian team also includes young talent, Zhukov said.

"In figure skating there are European winners," he said. "One of them is Lepnitskaya, the youngest in our team at 15. There are also many ice hockey stars known to the entire world, such as Ovechkin, Malkin and Datsuk, the best players loved not only by Russia, but also by other countries."

According to him, winter sports are very popular in Russia, and the country holds various mass competitions with lots of children and adults participating.

"Traditionally, we love figure skating, hockey, skiing and biathlon. Many children go in for winter sports. That is why they grow into famous athletes."

The competition "Ski-run of Russia," for example, is usually held across the country where several millions of people simultaneously take part in.

Zhukov said it was important for Russia to hold large-scale sports events such as the Olympic Games, the Kazan Universiade and the World Athletics Championships. These events "attract public attention and make sports more popular among young people," he said.

Also, new stadiums and facilities are being built for major sports events, with more money being invested into the sector, which help promote the development of sports in Russia, he added.

As for sports cooperation between Russia and China, Zhukov said the two partners share experience between the two national Olympic committees and hold several joint sports competitions and training.

Russia is interested in the Chinese experience of training athletes and development of sports for children and youth, and expects deeper cooperation in the future, he said.

Posted in: Olympics

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