The European Men’s and Women’s Team Championships (EMWTC) and European U15 Championships kick off in Kazan. The leading national teams of the continent are finishing their last training sessions for the tournament and starting fights for the European crown very soon. On the eve of the first day of the Championships, a press conference was held at the Gymnastics Centre. Badminton Europe (BEC) Vice-President Andrey Antropov, BEC Director for Sport Peter Tarcala, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov, head coach of Team Russia Klaudia Mayorova and Russian national team captain Vladimir Ivanov took part in the press conference.
The capital city of Tatarstan plays host to the European Men’s and Women’s Team Badminton Championships for the second time, and this tournament is going to be special. An unusual match was dedicated to the upcoming Championships. On board the International Space Station cosmonauts played badminton. “It is the cosmonauts’ request to dedicate this game to the European Championships. We brought here special 3D glasses and are going to broadcast this video. Generally, these European Championships are not only games for athletes, but some other interesting events. For example, on February 13 we will have a badminton seminar. The next day we open an exhibition of athletes’ pictures,” said Antropov. The BEC Vice-President also added that a number of teams had increased in both the men’s and women’s events and the winners would participate in the Thomas & Uber Cup.
About 1,500 tickets are sold for the tournament. Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of Tatarstan, Vladimir Leonov, made an announcement about many interesting activities for spectators and compared the European Team Championships with the Olympic Games. “As you know, the Winter Olympic Games are underway now, but our competitions are significant, too. Two years ago we held such a tournament in Kazan and according to the federation it became one of the best. Today we use all the best practices of year 2016 to prepare for these European Championships. We are pleased to put our trust and confidence in the Russian national team,” the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of Tatarstan stated. As he said, this sporting event is very important for the republic. "More than 14,000 people play this sport in Tatarstan. Almost all our municipal institutions hold tournaments and have their clubs. Due to a great deal of work done for the past years, we were able to open the Badminton Centre. It is a pleasure for me as the minister to know that the residents of our republic participate in the U15 Championships. This shows how much we love badminton,” added Leonov.
BEC Director for Sport Peter Tarcala spoke Russian. “This is our third or fourth stay in Kazan: we've been here for the 2013 Universiade, 2014 and 2016 European individual and team championships. We are very glad to come back to Tatarstan and Kazan, the badminton centre of Europe. We know that the competitions will be organised and held up to the latest world standards,” Tarcala said. He also mentioned to the European U15 Championships, which are about to be held concurrently with the senior tournament on February 16-18. “This is a very good project that Switzerland hosted four years ago. It is highly important for the development of our sport so that young athletes can meet big stars such as Russian player Ivanov,” BEC Director for Sport added.
Team of Russia has never won medals of the continental championships. According to head coach Klaudia Mayorova, her team is committed to achieve a historic result in Kazan. “The players feel well and are highly motivated. We want to take a medal here to further represent the country at the Worlds in Bangkok. I think we are ready for that. If the local badminton fans support us, the team members will play their hearts out on court. You know, you have such a motivating banner in the airport. “You need to do more than you can”. I took a photo of it and sent it to our team players. I think that this phrase may become our motto for the upcoming championships,” the head coach noted. Besides, Mayorova revealed her expectations of the Tatarstan players in the Russian team, Evgeniya Kosetskaya and Anatoliy Yartsev. “Evgeniya is ranked higher than the other girls, so we wish her to beat the top seed. Anatoliy has never let us down, so we expect him to earn points in the match against the third seed. Even when we were losing 0-2, Anatoliy always earned a point so that we could make a final breakthrough. The athletes are ready for the tournament, they will show their character and bring points to the team,” the head coach concluded.
Ahead of these European Championships, the Russian national team put emphasis on a psychological state of the athletes. Team captain Vladimir Ivanov dwelled upon it. “All the players had a very good training camp. There was not only a lot of game work, but communication with a psychologist, too. I consider that this was useful for the whole team and will pay off. The home arena would definitely help us, as our fans expect only maximum result from the team and me. All the players are looking forward to a historic medal in Kazan,” Ivanov announced. He named the teams of the Netherlands, England and Denmark as Russia's major opponents in the fight for the medals.
Media and Communications Department of Directorate for Sports and Social Project