In response to inspections and athletes’ petitions about funds misuse, the President of the Ukrainian Athletics Federation Valeriy Borzov has blamed the State Service of Youth and Sports for a plot against him and the Ukrainian athletes for the intentional failure at this year’s Olympic Games in London.
The athletes who are opposing you said that they were weary of enduring. What is your vision of this situation?
This situation is ordered for sure to cause the scandal on the eve of the presidential election within Federation. Actually it started on the eve of the Olympic Games when the Ukrainian media announced that athletes weren’t satisfied with the training camp in Svyatoshino. It was caused by the tardiness of the financial support, which the State Service had to provide for the preparation of the athletes before the Olympic Games. Dissatisfied coaches and athletes, whose number is always enough, kicked up a fuss. The Prime-minister asked to make sense of all this and the State Service decided to accuse us. But if you are the partners, share out also the responsibility! The State Service offended me. They had written a lampoon blaming me for funds misuse. Do they have a right to publish this without the official confirmation? This information had been spread all over the world. I had to make excuses to the IOC. But there aren’t any facts. Because the Ukrainian Athletics Federation does not deal with the finance. We are not guilty in a nonsystematic financial support of the athletics.
Among the accusations made against you, there are not only financial infringements but also a poor performance of our athletes in London…
First of all, I don’t think that this performance in London is poor. We took the third place in the women’s relay race. Isn’t this fantastic? And in the marathon our girl is the fifth! Javelin has never brought us medals. But here we have silver! We’ve got the result which complies with our working conditions. We can’t brag about a modern training camp. There is only one serious stadium in Kiev. It is the Olympic Stadium. But we don’t use it. Ask them only about their rental fees! Are there few gold medals? Yes, there are. But to prepare at least one gold medalist appropriate training camps and funds are required… Though people reckoned that there wouldn’t be any medal and I would retire.
What do you mean?
Some athletes purposely boycotted the Olympic Games and played hooky in order to spot the management of our Athletics Federation. I think so. Otherwise I can’t explain the failures of Natalya Dobrynskaya (Heptathlon), Aleksej Kasyanov (Combined events), Olga Saladuha (Triple Jump)…
But not only the Olympians opposed you…
There are 300 athletes in our Federation. But only 15 of them kicked up a fuss. Someone is offended, another is punished, another is dissatisfied and the last one simply wasn’t let to take part in the Olympic Games… I will never believe that the letter with these accusations was written by the athletes. It is worked by experienced managers. It is black PR. Of course, there are some disadvantages and problems. But what for to blame own coaches for funds misuse and blacken their reputation? We have nothing to do with this. We live life for the athletics. We’re the last generation, which works for the idea.
Well… But how to explain a poor performance of our juniors at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona?
We are far behind on developing technologies of athletes’ preparation. We are far behind on all issues… That’s why we can’t compete using all the potential that we have…
When will be the election of the Ukrainian Athletics Federation President?
Until 8th October 2012 you can propose a candidate. I’ve been already nominated for election. And on 8th November 2012 there will be the election itself.
Do you know that a lot of athletes consider the procedure of the presidential election being unfair?
Yes, I do. They want to change the rules in order that a new President will be elected. They want the athletes to vote instead of local heads of the Federation. But if we disqualified an athlete? If we punished him or her? If an athlete were bribed? How will he or she vote? Will be this procedure fair?
In this situation do you want to become the President of the Ukrainian Athletics Federation again?
I haven’t decided yet what to do… Now the local heads are under pressure. People persuade them not to vote for me… I’ll see what will be. I’ll turn to my colleagues on the pre-election conference. If they are on my side, I’ll agree to become the President for the next four years. Otherwise I’ll retire. It isn’t a tragedy for me. I don’t have a strong aspiration to continue my work in the environment which is surrounding me now. I’m much more afraid to be elected. In this case I will have a powerful opposition which is represented by the public body. But on the other hand if the public body meddles in non-government organizations’ business what democracy and independent we’ll be able to talk about?..