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Belarus' rower Ekaterina Karsten preparing for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The performance of the Belarusian team at the World Rowing Championship in Florida was mixed.

Firstly, only 3 men's crews went to partake in it. Secondly, they showed results that are far from their potential. Let's try to figure out what happened wrong and how to avoid such results in the future.

In 2017, the World Rowing Championship was held in the USA. Only 3 men's crews qualified for it. Hurricane Irma raged tens of kilometers from the venue but no one thought about it. Rowers were preparing in the regular mode, and 2 weeks before the start they were to arrive in Sarasota.

Yuri Rodionov, head coach of the Belarusian rowing team:
We need experience of racing in other climatic zones. There will be Olympics in Japan. Therefore, I think no one will ask us whether these conditons are convenient or not.

It was not possible to arrive at the competition site on time. After problems with buying tickets for the right date, adventures followed with a flight to the United States. This is where the hurricane interfered.

Yuri Rodionov:   
They immediately said they were not going to cancel or postpone the World Championships, because so many teams stayed there at the training camp even before the hurricane.

From the 14th to the 16th of September, we flew around Europe two more days: Frankfurt, Zurich and so on. In the end, instead of 2 weeks, which are planned for preparation and acclimatization, we had only 9 days left.

What result should you expect from the athletes after such misadventures?

Yuri Rodionov:
We could not realize our potential. There are very objective reasons in this regard. They probably learn from mistakes. I think these are mistakes not in terms of preparation, but in terms of arrival and acclimatization.

This World Cup, and all the stages of the 2017 World Cup are the first, so to speak, "trial" starts of the new Olympic cycle, which will culminate in the Games in Tokyo. The Belarus rowing team's squad is a test of the work done yesterday. The team includes both young people and experienced oarsmen, for example, Stanislav Shcherbachenya. Today he is 32 and for an individual rower, this is the golden age.

Sergei Khromkov, Executive Director of the Belarusian Rowing Federation:
This is the age when maturity comes biologically and conceptually.

Somewhat similar is the situation in the Belarusian women's team. Ekaterina Karsten is preparing for her 7th Olympics.

Sergei Khromkov:
We cannot count on super-tasks, but we count on the creative, productive and goal-oriented work of the crew. She is able to do this. We selected people taking into account her status and skill level.

Having mentioned "Queen of Rowing" Ekaterina Karsten, it would be simply unforgivable not to talk with her coach - the very one who brought her to the Olympus - Anatoly Kvyatkovsky. He now works in a youth water sports school with a new generation of rowers. The expert says that then 20-30 years ago it was much easier to work than now.

Anatoly Kvyatkovsky, honored coach of the BSSR :
Then the children came and aspired for new heights. Now you have to persuade them more, but sometimes they just don't want.

There is no special recipe for success in the coaching field, but Anatoly still gave advice to newcomers.

Anatoly Kvyatkovsky:
The wolf eats thanks to his legs. By walking and searching... Only in this case you can find an athlete. If we sit on the bench, we'll never find them. We would like to find them. I think that we will do it, there is still time.

The rowing qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics will traditionally take place at the world championship in 2019.

Belarus' rower Ekaterina Karsten preparing for 2020 Tokyo Olympics