Biathlete Lyudmila Ananko: Raubichi has changed for the better

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Biathlete Lyudmila Ananko: Raubichi has changed for the better

For how long haven’t you skied and fired a rifle?

Lyudmila Ananko, ex-member of the Belarusian national biathlon team:
I guess five years. I ski with my family each winter in order not to forget the process.

A new biathlon season starts. What should Belarusian fans expect from this season? Domracheva is not going to compete, so what’s the interest?

Lyudmila Ananko:
It seems to me that she will compete this season, but a bit later. First of all, I’d like to congratulate all fans and spectators of biathlon on the beginning of a new winter season. Lately, it has become a great occasion for many families. I’d like to wish them patience, because the result, as a rule, is not a matter of one race. The majority expects good results in December. But biathletes who are fully stretched in December, usually, don’t have enough energy and power to demonstrate better results in March at World Championships.

It would be great to watch Domracheva on a ski run again.

It’s no secret that the main motivator for many parents and children to get into biathlon now is your colleague Darya Domracheva. Will you tell what or who was a motivator for you? Who was an idol?

Lyudmila Ananko:
I’m grateful to my coach Victor Litvinskiy from my hometown Novogrudok. I’ve gained great experience thanks to him. When I was a girl and just started training, an idol for me was Svetlana Paramygina as she participated in the Olympic Games. When I became a member of the national team, I admired the team leaders. But when I started participating in international tournaments, I emulated Poirée and Disl.

What race, achievement or award was the brightest one for you?

Lyudmila Ananko:
Every award, every start is important for athletes. But, of course, World Championships and the Olympic Games are in priority. The most memorable start for me was at the Olympic Games in Turin, where I demonstrated my best result.

A winter season is a period when biathletes are always away from home. Was it difficult for you?

Lyudmila Ananko:
Year by year it was getting harder. But you have to sacrifice something to achieve results in any kind of sport. Now, of course, my family is uppermost.

Do you maintain relations with your former colleagues from the team?

Lyudmila Ananko:
Of course, we keep in touch. Our coach Andrian Tzybulskiy inculcated true friendship in us. There was no rivalry and even now we are in good relations with everybody, so I can call Dasha at any time. I find it very important, because when we retire, we don’t have many friends. But our team is really friendly and we have maintained good relations. Perhaps, that’s why we achieve good results.

What is your attitude to the fact that Russian biathletes come to our national team: Pisareva, Skardino? Recently, Ilchenko and Bocharnikov have joined the men’s team.

Lyudmila Ananko:
I think that Belarusians should make up the majority of biathletes in the national team, moreover, we have such a leader as Darya Domracheva. Probably, we should train juniors better and pull them up.

Many talented young biathletes are growing up in Belarus. We could see it at the Biathlon Junior World Championships in Raubichi. By the way, how is your biathlon school in Novogrudok, where you made your first steps?

Lyudmila Ananko:
It’s been a while. Nevertheless, my first coach continues developing biathlon. A new ski run was opened in Seltso (the Minsk region). Moreover, young biathletes train in a new biathlon school there. I find it great. They have better conditions than we had.

Lyuda, I guess Raubichi is the second home for biathletes. Has it changed a lot?

Lyudmila Ananko:
You know, yes. Raubichi has changed for the better. It was a big surprise for me when I came to the Biathlon Junior World Championships. I should say that Raubichi is not worse than other stadiums where World Cups take place, even better after the renovation. It corresponds to all the standards. The ski run is perfect and wide, comparing with others. But I guess the stands are not planned properly. In general, everything else is perfect.

Did people recognize you in the street? Biathlon is a very popular kind of sport.

Lyudmila Ananko:
No. Perhaps, if I had put on my uniform, they would have recognized me. But in my everyday life only devoted fans did. Moreover, biathletes look bigger and stronger on the screen than in reality.

New types of competitions appear each season. Now it’s supermix when one man and one woman from a team run by turns.  What do you think about it?

Lyudmila Ananko:
It’s not bad. New forms of competition appear in any kind of sport for TV ratings or whatever.

Do you remember all your awards?

Lyudmila Ananko:
Probably, not all. I had many medals being a junior. But I do remember my awards that I got in the senior national team. I keep them all on the shelf at home.