27th Summer Universiade in Kazan,

July 6-17 2013

Marat Bariev: I truly believe that the World Aquatics Championships will be hosted by Kazan

The coming August will be rich in anniversaries in Tatarstan's sport. It will be 10 years since Kurban Berdyev took Rubin FC under his wing. UNICS BC will turn 20 and its President Evgeny Bogachev will be celebrating his 70th anniversary. But it's not August yet, so we have plenty of time to congratulate them, but in July there was another big time event. On July 9 ex-Minister of Youth, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan and Executive Director of the Russian Olympic Committee Marat Bariev turned 50! Our sincere congratulations!

On such a remarkable day Marat Bariev gave an exclusive interview to kazan2013.com.

— I suppose that your following destination is Shanghai, the host city of the 14th FINA World Aquatics Championships. Do you think Kazan has a good chance to win, especially now, when our two rivals Guangzhou and Montreal withdrew their bids.

— I was confident of our chances even before these two candidates joined the World Aquatics Championship bidding campaign. And after they wirhdrew their bids, I think that Kazan is 'doomed' to host the world championships. We stand a very good chance. It results not from the rivals quitting the bidding race, but from the systematic work conducted by the Bidding Committee, Tatarstan's officials, Swimming Federation of Russia and Sports Ministry of the Russian Federation. FINA could clearly see results of this systematic work.

— In your opinion, what year would be the right year for Kazan: 2015 or 2017?

— It's definitely 2015. There are different reasons for that. Kazan will still be in an after-Universiade euphoria. Sports venues will be new and require less investments for their operation and cosmetic repairs. Thereby, the FINA World Championships will become a pre-Olympic event before Rio de Janeiro 2016 which willing or not will draw more attention. 2017 will be rich in sporting events anyway, Russia will be expected to host the Confederation Cup that goes before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with Kazan holding a few matches on its venues. In this case the world's attention will be distracted. That's why I vote for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan!

Six new sports wre recently included in the programme of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. To be honest, I'm not sure I can pronounce all of them off the top of head. How do you evaluate our chances in those disciplines?

— I believe that under the hard to spell sports you meant 'slopestyle' where we have no candidates for the national team yet. However, we can say the same about other nations, that's why this sport was not included in the 2014 Games. And as for parallel slalom (half-pipe) is a snowboarding discipline which can be rightfully called ours. Ekaterina Tudegeshova and other out athletes win World Cup stages and become winners of world championships. We may also expect medals in biathlon and team figure skating.  I would remind you that there were six new sports included in the Sochi 2014 programme: ski half-pipe (men and women), women's ski jump, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event and luge team relay.

— I have a question regarding inclusion of new disciplines in the programme of the Games. It's no secret that being a host nation of the 1980 Olympics, the Soviet Union lobbied for inclusion of rhythmic gymnastics in the programme. Later on another sport was also included in the Olympics programme, it was trampoline where Russians traditionally dominated. So do you think Russia can seek to include in the Sochi 2014 programme sports Russian athletes are traditionally strong in?

— It's not that simple. In rhythmic gymnastics events, that you've mentioned, gold was decided among non-Russian athletes. The thing is in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles where rhythmic gymnastics was introduced, our athletes didn't compete because of being boycotted.  Actually, it's logical to solve problems of winning Olympic medals by adding sports your athletes are good in, but not by mastering new ones. It's not an easy task, I should say. The last sport the Russian Olympic Committee succeeded to lobby for is parallel slalom. By the way, we started a campaign for its inclusion rather late, it was last autumn. A hard work in this direction and personal communication with IOC President Jacques Rogge brought results. Now it's up to the athletes, we do hope they will not lose their leading positions. Team figure skating, biathlon mixed relay, which I've already mentioned as medal promising, also resulted from our hard work aimed to promote these disciplines. But here we talk about new disciplines that already exist in the Olympic programme. As for inclusion of new sports, it's a really complicated process which requires years of tedious work. I'll explain the difference. To include new disciplines in the Olympic programme, it's needed to collect the majority of votes of the IOC Executive Committee which is made up of the IOC President, four Vice Presidents and ten additional members. The procedure takes place two years prior to the Games. As for the inclusion of new sports, it is needed that the IOC session (that ususally includes over 100 voters) approves it with a two-thirds vote. And the vote should take place five years before the Games. That's why the results of today's efforts will be obvious only after the 2016 Olympics.

Djaudat Abdullin
special to kazan2013.com

Media Department of Kazan 2013 Executive Directorate