Alexander Miller: We Have Good Young Coaches

The Honored coach of Russia is a unique figure in the Chelyabinsk region. He developed the teaching of the legendary coach Haris Yusupov and multiplied the achievements of the local judo. The pupils of Alexander Miller became winners and medalists of the Olympics and World Championships. The famous coach has visited 13 World Championships, and remembers all his judokas.

Alexander, you have a lot of pupils who are worth to be proud of. But what are your favorite victories?

- It’s difficult to specify. Surely, Vitaly Makarov has achieved a lot. He is the owner of the whole medal set from the World Championships. He is outstanding athlete. Especially taking into account the fact that he is the middleweighter. It’s a very competing division. One champion is coming after another. But Vitaly Makarov was always in the limelight. In, 2009 the pupil of mine Mansur Isaev gained bronze.

- The success of Vitaly Makarov in 2001 was a good sign for the Russian team. Did you expect him to win?

- We all were dreaming about it, and did a lot to achieve that result. The Olympic rush is higher, but it’s more difficult to become a World Champion. The final bout of Makarov was the brightest moment of the tournament. Some experts called this fight the best of last 25 years. The Japanese judoka was won by the classic Japan style. Both athletes were going to the final winning their rivals cleanly. They represented two different school of judo. We were very happy that Vitaly had won.

- The 2000s is the rise of the Chelyabinsk judo. Makarov, Morozov and Stepkin were members of the Russian team for a long time. Why do you think Morozov and Stepkin stopped and didn’t bring medals from World Championships?

- It’s difficult to say. I think, they compensated this lack winning other important international events. Dmitry Morozov took part in two World Championships. And both times came through the first rounds, but then failed. The fact of participating in such responsible competitions is very important. It’s very difficult to pass the selection.

- Now Makarov and Morozov are coaches of the national team. Did the bright career help them to play a new role in judo?

- Of course. I think, that Ezio Gamba noticed them long time ago. He liked how they fought. Morozov learned English when he was an athlete, and now he easily can explain his pupil what Gamba wants from them. Gamba trusts his coaching staff. And they showed good results at the 2012 Olympics. We have good young coaches. Vitaly Makarov and Dmitry Morozov will help our athletes to win many times.

- What do you think of the coaching staff of the Russian team?

- There is a result. That means that work is going well. The national team has brought 5 medals from the 2012 Olympics. Even the Japanese couldn’t achieve such result. It can be compared only with 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

- What championships do you remember best of all?

- I have visited 13 World championships. But the best one took place in Munich. A big delegation went to Germany from Chelyabinsk. Vitaly Makarov gained gold. That was a triumph for the Chelyabinsk judo. The victory was taken in front of our faces. I hope that one day we will feel the same. Let it be at the World-2014 in Chelyabinsk.

Vitaly Vizaulin