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World champion D. Izotov "swam away" from the Sverdlovsk region

World champion D. Izotov "swam away" from the Sverdlovsk region

04.03.2011 — Analysis

Another sports scandal overwhelmed the Sverdlovsk region. Following many titled Ural athletes, swimmer Danila Izotov decided to leave the region. At the age of 19, he is already a winner of the 2008 Olympics, a world champion, and a European champion. In his interview with "RusBusinessNews", Danila Izotov talked about reasons that induced him to take such a radical action.

- Danila, when was the decision taken about breaking relationships with the Sverdlovsk region?

- In February, we had training in France. After coming back to Russia, I decided to refuse to represent my native region. That was a desperate measure. I just cannot wait any more until officials fulfill their promises and provide housing to me. I can't and don't feel like wandering between rented apartments. Lately, my father and I have sent a few requests to different authorities. But there is no answer. I think this is sublime impudence on the part of officials.

- What did they promise you after the 2008 Olympic Games?

- Just before the Beijing Games, my father had seen the head of the regional swimming federation Alexander Serebrennikov. The latter said that world champions and European champions have no weight in our region. We can talk about an apartment if I win an Olympic medal, which I delivered. However, it's been three years after the Olympics, and words are still just words... Some pretty rubbish stuff is going on in the Sverdlovsk region. I had approached officials with absolutely adequate requests but they cannot even do that! And my situation is not unique. Look how many sportsmen had run away to other regions for the last few years. As for swimmers, Nikita Lobintsev currently represents both Ekaterinburg and Samara. And he already called me and asked advice on what do to.

- Regional Minister of Sports Leonid Rapoport says you make more than 200 thousand rubles a month. I guess that's quite a chunk of money to be able to purchase an apartment on your own instead of camping on the doorsteps of officials?

- If I had made 200 thousands a month, how would this transfer situation had even arisen?! Where can I get that money from? I am no soccer player. And nobody leaves a good thing. Now, I am moving to Krasnodar. I am promised a bigger salary comparing to Ekaterinburg, and Krasnodar is not even my native town. But people there took my issues really calmly. They have no problem with housing or money. Leonid Rapoport once told me that the housing issue may only be resolved after the 2012 Olympics. And only if I guarantee a medal. But that's nonsense! Who can promise to win an award nowadays? Even a legendary swimmer, a 14 times Olympic champion Michael Phelps cannot promise that.

- So, it looks like the housing situation is making much more progress in Krasnodar?

- Yes, it is. They didn't just promise me a place on my own, they have already performed some work in relation to its purchase. Contrary to the Sverdlovsk region, the issue is being resolved on paper and not by word of mouth.

- Rumor has it you will not only represent the Krasnodar Territory but also the Ulianovsk region where your current coach Yury Raikhman comes from. They say you refused to represent the Sverdlovsk region because of that.

- I'm not going to hide it. There have been talks about representing Ulianovsk. But not for now. I will only swim for Krasnodar. At least, they will conclude a duly executed labor contract with me.

- What, labor relations between you and the employer were not formalized in the Sverdlovsk region?

- Technically, I was only registered with the Higher Sportsmanship School of Ekaterinburg. And that's it. So it looks like I have been swimming for the Sverdlovsk region just because I was born and registered for permanent residence in Novouralsk. Apparently, such situation was to the benefit of regional authorities. There are still no written liabilities before me. And by words, you can say just anything. It's great that's at least my father manages all my stuff. If I had to run from one office to another, I couldn't train myself well.

- So you are saying your father is your manager?

- Yes, he is authorized to express my opinion. By the way, he was also treated meanly in Urals. There was time when I was left without a tutor. Still, I had to train myself by some means or other. My father quit his job, and I was training under his supervision. We tried to make him to be officially hired as my coach. By the way, he has a special education. But they would just put a spoke in our wheel. And without my father's help, I wouldn't be able to achieve my success.

- Do you feel sorry to leave your native region?

- I feel sorry not for officials but for ordinary people that root for me and support me. I hope they will understand my decision. Sportsmen cannot be sportsmen forever. Anything might happen, that is why I have been working not only for today but also for tomorrow. I hope my story of separation from the Sverdlovsk region will be a lesson for local officials. They have to understand that sportsmen are people like everybody else. Coming down from the podium, they also want some food to eat and some place to live.

Interview by Andrei Kashcha

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