27th Summer Universiade in Kazan,

July 6-17 2013

Evgeny Bozhenkov: Ukraine’s would be happy with fifth place on the medal table

The head of the Ukrainian delegation, Chairman of the Physical Education and Sport Committee in Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science, Evgeny Bozhenkov, shared his experiences and expectations for the rest of the Universiade.

- What was your first impressions of the Universiade in Kazan?

 - Only positive ones. I’ve really appreciated the organization of the Universiade. We, of course, understand that the committee is trying to conduct it at the highest level in anticipation of the Olympic Games in Sochi. As for the facilities, they’ve been developed to the highest level, and we’re really pleased by the quality of the service. And as for the Universiade Village, everything is great there too.

- Ukraine currently holds the fifth spot on the medal tables. Tell me, are you happy with this result or had you hoped for better?

- First of all, we have only passed the mid-point of the Universiade. Secondly, we occupy second place in terms of number of medals, bypassing Japan, China and Korea. We’re happy with our current results, but its not over yet. And in principle, the types of sport in which we’re putting the most hope, these are mainly in the second half of the Universiade. Ukraine traditionally finishes in the top ten at the Universiade. When came to the Universiade, we set our sights on remaining in the top ten, so even if we remain in fifth we’ll consider that a successful performance. Aside from that, please note that Ukraine is in first place amongst European countries.

 - Not counting Russia?

 - We consider Russia unrivalled.

- You say that your traditionally strong sports are still to come. My question is, what tricks does Ukraine have up its sleeve? What are the sports in which Ukraine can make a breakthrough by winning medals?

- We’re looking forward to the wrestling, the rowing and the rhythmic gymnastics. Also yesterday we took the gold in the Men’s and Women’s 4x100m Relay. This confirms that our athletes are world class.

- Tell me, who in your team is disappointed, and vice versa, who perhaps is pleasantly surprised? Is there anyone who had faint hopes, but won medals?

- I have to say that we haven’t had any big surprises, we expected our successes. Basically, the people on whom we rely the most have got their result. Of course, there were guys who won Olympic Medals, and we hoped they would be champions here. But when we saw that our rivals were also in the Olympics, many of them champions, then of course we were pleased that our athletes took second or third place – such as in the gymnastics. For another example, Olga Kharlan, who became a Universiade champion, was in the exact same final here as in London at the 30th Olympic Games. And in the final here, she beat the Korean who was Champion at the Olympics. Nevertheless, Kharlan was the Olympic champion in Beijing, and we thought she deserved to win the and become Universiade Champion.

 - Is there anyone who has disappointed, who you relied upon?

 - I think, in principle, we haven’t had such cases. Except in rowing, which has already ended. Dovgotko became a champion, as she was at the Olympics. But the guys in the Double Sculls came in second, losing to Russia by literally 50-60 cm
Of course we had a stake in them, because they could be gold medalists. But such disappointments we have not many of, thank God.

 - What do you think of the Russian team? Did you expect such a powerful performance at the Universiade?

Yes of course. We expected that she make such a breakthrough, the more we analyzed the training of the Russians before the Olympics. We understand that in front of the Russian team task was to win, because Chinese team had the same mission in Shenzhen. And we can see that the Chinese team is very poorly represented at the 2013 Universiade. Russia doesn’t see them as rivals in the medal standings.

Media Department of Kazan 2013 Executive Directorate