16 february 2012

After inspecting the Paramonovo training ground, Vladimir Putin holds a video conference meeting on improving the training centres for Russia’s national teams

Vladimir Putin

At a video conference meeting on improving the training centres for Russia’s national teams

“Just recently, we hadn’t even thought that there would be such facilities…”

Vladimir Putin’s opening remarks:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

We have just inspected the Paramonovo training ground. Of course, we were quite pleased with what we saw. I spoke to Mr Kneib (Viktor Kneib, member of the Russian national luge team) and we noticed that there is obviously still a lot to be done. But the fact that this training ground exists and that it will serve as a strong foundation for the development of these sports is a good thing. Just recently, we hadn’t even thought that there would be such facilities. That is, we thought about them but they did not exist and we virtually had to live by begging, like a poor relative, holding competitions or training sessions around the world. All in all, conditions for many sports were quite modest, to put it lightly. Now the situation is changing. Today we will have a look once more what is happening in the regions and how these training grounds are being constructed. Obviously, this is a good start – a start because the work that has been done is positive but it is only a beginning, and there is still a lot to be done, both here and in other places. But I must tell you I was so pleased with the atmosphere here, a business-like atmosphere, the mood is inspiring. I was pleased to talk with that German specialist. I asked him: “German athletes are leaders in this sport, aren’t they?” He said, “For now yes, unfortunately. For now. But we will overtake them.” I said, “It;s strange to hear this from a German.”

He replied, “Why? I work here and I want to see results. Most importantly, our guys can do it.” He is absolutely confident that our athletes can make it to the top of the podium and get the gold. As far as I know, we are really close. They already take silver in some competitions.

The sports facilities built in the 1960s-1970s were of course run-down. In many cases renovation was not enough. They had to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch.

In 2011, for the first time in the history of modern Russia, we provided financial assistance to particular organisations that are responsible for athletic reserves for national teams. After 25 years, we resumed covering travel expenses for candidates for the national team in order to motivate them to participate in competitions. The budget expenses for the entire calendar of sport events have increased. In 2009, we allotted around two billion roubles for these purposes. In 2012, we will allocate 3.5 billion. There is a system for motivating athletes and coaches who have achieved significant results from the budgets of all levels, as well as extra-budgetary sources.

Obviously, the most important aspect for the government is establishing infrastructure for the stable and long-term development of sport. As I mentioned, a huge amount of work has been done recently to build modern training grounds of federal and regional status. Moreover, many facilities that were built before 2008 are being renovated and equipped. We will see how this is being done today. These are the Tchaikovsky Institute, the Tchaikovsky Institute of Physical Fitness in Perm, the Toksovo centre in the Leningrad Region of the Lesgaft Institute and the training centre in Paramonovo. Among those being renovated are Novogorsk, Ozero Krugloye (Moscow Region), Oka (Tula Region), and the Southern Sports Training Centre in Sochi.

From 2006 to 2011, 27.5 billion roubles were spent from the federal budget on infrastructure for high performance sport under the federal targeted programme, the Development of Physical Fitness and Sport in Russia in 2006-2015. In 2012, four billion roubles will be spent. In the past two to three years, 34 facilities were constructed and launched just for high performance sport; 25 facilities are under construction – not counting the new sport infrastructure in Kazan that will host the 2013 Universiade (we discussed it in great detail with the president of Tatarstan yesterday and nearly everything is done, there are just a few more facilities that remain unfinished) and the facilities for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. By 2015, we plan to provide training grounds for all 52 Olympic sports.

Today, we will evaluate how the work is proceeding in a video conference with regional representatives. Moreover, I thought it would be important to invite athletes and coaches who work here, in Paramonovo, to this meeting. I believe it will be useful to hear the opinion of those who will be using these facilities. We will be glad to hear you out. I have already spoken with Viktor. He told me what he would like to see here, but in fact, this is completely in line with the plans of the Sports Ministry.

Now let’s get down to work, and hear from our colleagues.

* * *

Vitaly Mutko: Thank you very much, Mr Putin. I would like to use this opportunity to thank you once again for supporting sports.

I would like to report to you that we see our main goals not only in training, but also in managing recovery processes and research bases. We consider training centres as closed labs for preparing our athletes for world championships. The training process must be based on proper training, proper biomedical recovery and nutrition. Our training camps should have all of that. We strive to make these camps functional and operational on a year-round basis, so that they can cater to athletes involved in summer and winter sports. We are opening many training camps and centres for our regional teams and junior sports schools. You've been to Sochi.  Last year alone, you visited three camps and could see for yourself that we are establishing youth training centres and sports schools at many of them. This is my first point.

As my second point, I’d like to say that in 2008 we had only four full-service specialised training centres that were used by athletes of 14 Olympic sports. In your opening remarks, you said there were 52 Olympic sports. However, additional sports have been included in the Olympic programme, so there are 58 of them now. The IOC is looking into adding another five, including softball, on the list of Olympic sports. Rugby is now on the list, so we need to build a training centre if we want to compete in this sport. All four of these training centres were obsolete.  Being aware of your requirements and approaches, I remember saying to the chief trainer at the Podolsk training centre for Paralympic athletes that if the president – you were president then – showed up there at that moment, I’d be fired that very second from my job. The conditions were terrible: no accommodation, no proper nutrition, nothing. We analysed the situation and realised that we needed a programme for the development of training centres in order to provide training camps for athletes of all 58 Olympic sports by 2015. We will need about 88 sporting facilities to meet this goal. A training centre may accommodate several sporting facilities, so we need 88 of them.

Of course, we looked into the financial situation as well – that’s the next slide. The programme for the development of sports was adopted at your initiative, which was a breakthrough programme, because without it there’d be no sport in Russia. Five billion roubles have been allocated for the construction of training centres for our national team. That was a measly amount. Do you remember the meeting that you chaired in the House of Government where you instructed us to solve the problem in full, including the construction of modern training centres for all sports, before 2015? That's what you said: “If there is no freestyle, why aren't you building?” And we, jointly with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development – Mr Savelyev (Oleg Savelyev – Deputy Economic Development Minister) is here, our deputy minister – we reviewed practically every base with our colleagues and adjusted this programme. And you can see that we are investing 51 billion roubles just in federal centres until 2015. And just last year we built bases using about 7 billion roubles. Next slide. Between 2008 and 2011, as you can see, we launched 23 sport facilities and prepared for 24 Olympic-type programmes. 

And what has been done? All of our bases are modern, each one currently has its own particular purpose. Mr Putin, you have visited the Novogorsk training centre, you have seen what we have built. We have solved the problem of ice sport. We now have a modern ice arena there. We have solved the problems of hockey, figure skating, curling, short track speed skating. This problem no longer exists. And when you meet with our world champions, young guys… We even have a team there and we can manipulate the ice, we can transform it into a Canadian-size rink. The figure skaters have received a year-round facility, and the progress of young athletes is not accidental. Simply year-round… The men’s curling team has left the A group and joined the B group because they can train year-round on this ice.

Next. In Novogorsk we have built a completely modern hall for modern rhythmic gymnastics. Our individual team has a separate hall, the group team has its own hall. In this hall we have installed equipment, and created the perfect conditions for trampolining. In the past this sport traditionally brought us gold medals, now the Chinese are constantly surpassing us. With this hall, we hope to improve our results. This is just what we did last year.

Such bases as Ozero Krugloye… Today you saw a rehabilitation centre. I should add that a modern swimming pool centre has been built. You saw the water centre, diving. We showed you, you visited… Diving, synchronised swimming… Now Ms Pokrovskaya (Tatyana Pokrovskaya – Chief Russian Coach for synchronised swimming) has her own swimming pool and can regulate the water temperature… Now the girls have no problems. Water polo…

Vladimir Putin: Is the depth sufficient there?

Tatyana Pokrovskaya: Three metres. As required.

Vitaly Mutko: We have covered these sports as well as triathlon and fencing. Mr Pozdnyakov (Stanislav Pozdnyakov – senior coach of the Russian national fencing team) is present here. He is a great athlete and he knows that we have a French coach, an expert. And you spoke to him as well. And now our fencers, girls… I think almost the entire team should go to London. This is what has to do with these largest bases…

Next I would like to note the base that we have been including, Tchaikovsky. It will be included by the end of this year, Mr Putin. It was not in the subject, take a look on the left, there is a fully modern biathlon complex with a ski roller track, lighting, with all options and conditions. The biathlon problem, another base, has been solved. Ski racing will receive a ski roller track. There will be a hotel with 200 beds, a rehabilitation centre, and we will create all types of freestyle. We have launched the South Sport centre, which you visited, and Parus accommodation. All the guys are here, Mr Silnov (Andrei Silnov), the Olympic champion, works with practically the whole group, Ms Chicherova (Anna Chicherova, member of the Russian national track and field team) is here as well, as is Mr Zagorulko (Yevgeny Zagorulko), our outstanding coach. We will develop this base, but now it supports such sports as yachting, beach volleyball, archery, so it has obtained a modern rehabilitation centre.

Next we bear in mind that in 2012 we will be launching an additional 30 facilities, that will serve as sport training bases. We will have prepared for 39 Olympic sports. We have already reported on Tchaikovsky, and we are building this remarkable hall in Novogorsk, a multifunctional hall, which we will open for the national basketball and volleyball teams. We will complete this centre, and we will work on a track and field base in Novogorsk.

Next – this has to do with what we are planning for the coming years, for the near-term. We have shown the Oka, so I will not comment on it. By 2015, we will need to erect 35 facilities for some 18 types of sport. Then we will complete the whole programme for 58 types of paralympic sport.

I would like to mention the facility in Kislovodsk. For two years we have been unable to solve this issue, until you supported this decision. All athletes are experienced here, they know that this is a cherished base, in the middle altitude mountains, at an altitude of 1,200 metres. The Kislovodsk base will serve dozens of sports that we are planning there. Mr Mamiashvili (Mikhail Mamiashvili – President of the Russian Wresting Federation) is working with wrestlers already. We made a surface for track and field sports very quickly, and our racewalkers are already training. We are working on the hall: the hall will serve weightlifting, martial arts was brought back in the first two months. We have begun to erect a modern accommodation centre and a rehabilitation centre.

South Sport is the hall that we want to have this year, Mr Putin (a task that you set for us), as the martial arts centre. It will serve for many types of sports. This is at South Sport, where the tennis courts are. We have shown you this.

We will build such a centre this year and it will be used by weightlifters, taekwondo practitioners, wrestlers, table tennis players and boxers. That way, we will close the issue with these sports and all others as well by 2015.

We realise that we won’t be able to address the problem in its entirety by building federal training centres alone. Mr Slavsky spoke about it today: we adopted a programme whereby each Russian region has been assigned a basic sports activity and will develop its respective regional centres. I would like to report that we have built six regional centres in the past year, and we’ll commission 26 more in 2012. We have allocated 8.5 billion roubles from the federal budget in 2006-2012 for the construction of such regional centres. We believe that regional training centres are no less important than the federal ones.

The biathlon academy in Krasnoyarsk is already operational. You toured it when you visited the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The Academy of Winter Sports is being built there as well. This year, the ski training centre will be commissioned in Aldan, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). There are plans to build the first phase of a mountain ski regional centre Vershina Tei in the Republic of Khakassia. This is going to be a strong sports cluster that will include Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Cheboksary, Nizhny Tagil, Tambov and so on. Now, Irkutsk.  I believe that we have about 30,000 square metres of sports facilities there. There’s a huge track-and-field complex in Irkutsk. It’s been commissioned already, and we are about to start using it for the needs of regional and national teams. Add to this the facilities inherited from the World Student Games in Kazan, which include a trapshooting stand, the Palace of Combat Sports, the Palace of Water Sports, the Boxing Centre and the Centre for Rowing Sports. On the left you can see the first rowing centre to be built in 30 years. We are now building a small hotel complex there for 100 guests.

The heritage of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi will include alpine ski clusters, luge and bobsled tracks and two ski jumps (125 and 95). We will also use the centre for extreme sports that includes the stadium, freestyle and snowboard …

Therefore, the construction of the system of federal and regional sports centres will be completed by 2015. We won't achieve good results if we do not make both regional and federal centres work. This map shows all the projects that we plan to realise together. I’m confident that we will have 75 such centres in 2016. Mr Putin, as far as this work is concerned, we enjoy your full support, we are adequately financed and doing some serious work. Add here our efforts to promote the training system, support trainers and ensure scientific and biomedical support. All of that taken together may well bring very good results during the next Olympic Games. There’s one more thing that I’d like to ask you…

We would like to focus on sports schools as part of the federal targeted programme. However, such schools are run by and report to municipal authorities. We have your support and have amended the law accordingly. It now has special provisions regarding athletic reserves. We are entitled to evaluate such schools’ performances. About 1,000 schools enjoy the status of specialised Olympic reserve schools. Only if we could allocate about two billion roubles in co-financing we’d be able to significantly improve the material and technical base, just like Mr Kneib said when he spoke about a training camp in Bratsk. We can’t wait for regional authorities to take care of it. If we invest just a little money, we will build an overpass and thus create the necessary conditions. You supported us last year by authorising the allocation of 1 billion roubles. For the first time ever, we began sending this subsidy to children’s sports schools for training Olympic reserve athletes. On average, schools that train future national team members are getting anywhere from 700,000 to 3 million roubles.

We began covering travel expense for members of the national team. Again, I would like to use this opportunity and sincerely thank you, Mr Putin, on behalf of the entire sports community for your support. We are becoming more accountable to you, but we also have more support and opportunities. Thank you very much.

* * *

Vladimir Putin’s comments:

On the speech by Vladimir Slavsky, Vice President of the Russia’s Federation of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined

Vladimir Putin: We will need to apply the same practice as in comprehensive schools, concerning teachers and coaches in the system of additional training -- that is, with regard to art schools, music and sports schools. We will need to raise the salary level for specialists working there, as they are no less qualified than their colleagues from comprehensive schools. As regards this category of teachers, we will need to bring their salaries to the average level across all industries. This is the first aspect. The second has to do with putting the material and technical base in order. This will be implemented in cooperation with the regions, we will introduce a separate programme even in this area. Olympic reserve schools are likely to be included in this category. The problem is clear, the first steps are already being taken, and we will certainly continue this work more intensively than before.

Vladimir Putin’s comment on the speech by Pavel Rozhkov, First Vice-President of the Russian Paralympic Committee and Chairman of its Executive Committee

Vladimir Putin: Speaking of education, we just need to take a look at existing educational institutions and rely on their foundations. Take Lesgaft (The Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health in St Petersburg), a specialised educational institution with a long history; we will include it. We just talked to Perm, where everything was also done on the basis of an existing institution. Overall, we have institutions with qualified teachers and professors and with good foundations. We should think about whether we need to establish new institutions. Maybe it’s better to just use existing ones? Although I don’t rule out any possibility, we should take a closer look at this.

Regarding the speech by Lyubov Yegorova, six-times Olympic skiing champion, Federal Training Centre, Toksovo village, Leningrad Region

Vladimir Putin: This is an old ski jump.The hotel Tramplin (“ski jump”), where I regularly stayed during summer training sessions, is nearby. Ski jumpers stayed there in winter and wrestlers came in summer. I regularly went to this hotel for summer training sessions. I understand that this complex is a little lower towards Lake Hepoyarvi, is that right?

Lyubov Yegorova: This is Lake Kavgolovo. Now we are in front of Lake Kavgolovo, and the ski jumps are on Hepoyarvi…

Vladimir Putin: Everything looks very respectable and beautiful. The place is very good – on the shores of the lake. When we did morning exercises we would run around this lake. This was the start of our morning training. I think it’s about 17 or 12 km…

Regarding the speech by Viktor Kneib, member of the national tobogganing team

Vladimir Putin: …when we see how sports facilities are being built practically all over the country, when we see how these sport centres are developing, we realise that they will serve future generations for a long time. Athletes will use them now and for decades to come. Apart from sport facilities, we are also developing adjacent infrastructure. If you look at Sochi or other cities that are getting ready to host major competitions, for instance, Kazan, you will see new crossings, access routes and roads as well as electricity, water and energy supply facilities. There is a whole system that sometimes cannot even be seen with the naked eye, but it is under construction. In Sochi for one, apart from crossings, bridges and viaducts we have laid two gas pipelines – one in the mountains and the other on the sea floor. We have also built an electricity station and eight substations, to name but a few… Sochi has never had a decent sewage system. And all these facilities will serve the people, right? This is the first point.

Second, we must by all means get young people involved in sports and encourage them to go in for sports when they are young . We must develop sport on a mass scale. This has to do with the health and the future of the country and our nation. This has to do with our demographic situation, about which we’ve been speaking so much lately and about which I spoke in Tatarstan yesterday. And, of course, this has to do with the prestige of our country. We must rally the whole country around sporting achievements and people like you who are showing great results and giving us the opportunity to take pride in your achievements. This is a whole package of things and I have not mentioned all of them. Of course, in the future we will also compete for the right to host major competitions but right now we must complete our current plans. You have now mentioned all of them… Well, not all, because we also have the Olympics, the Student Games, the World Cup (and it surpasses the Winter Olympics in the number of participants and TV audience), as well as the Ice Hockey World Championships, track-and-field events – enormous competitions. If we compare the competitions we are going to host between now and 2018 to the plans of our neighbours and friends, we will be champions in holding them. We will continue working in this vein.

Viktor Kneib: It would be great to see the completion of the Paramonovo tobogganing-bobsleigh complex.

Vladimir Putin: Of course.

Viktor Kneib: So that we could train properly.

Vladimir Putin: Yes. We are not going to give up  these facilities. We will certainly bring them to completion so that you coaches feel comfortable there. We want results.

Viktor Kneib: Thank you. We will do our best.

* * *

Closing remarks by Vladimir Putin:

In closing, I would like to say the following. We have briefly gone over the construction of high performance sport facilities. We all know that high performance sport has its foundation in mass sport. Certainly, high-ranking specialists that are here today are not directly responsible for this, but regional authorities and, in part, the government should focus on mass sport. But I would like to call your attention to this once again. I’m aware of how respectful you are towards mass sport, so I would like you and Mr Mutko to give this some thought. Mr Mutko, I would like you to engage our prominent athletes in popularising sport in the Russian regions, because if they show up at a remote sport school they’ll give them a boost that will last many years. Please take note of this. Sport needs to be made more popular. This is my first point.

Secondly, we will continue developing high performance sports, finish what has to be finished and press ahead with the federal targeted programme. Someone – was that you, Mr Kravtsov? (Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Skating Union) – said that we will continue implementing the federal targeted programme for the development of sport infrastructure, because there’s much work to be done. Perhaps this is not enough.

Finally and most importantly, we count on all these training centres being used to improve results. You know what people think about sport in our country and elsewhere. Our people traditionally love sport, love athletes and expect you to exhibit great performances. We are getting close to the Olympic Games. Actually, we are nearing the finish line, and I wish you every success. All the best.