Denis Lapotyshkin: Judo Fans Will Like Merchandise for World-2014

The Vice-president of the Chelyabinsk Judo Federation confesses that there are no alternative to Tiger Zhorik as a mascot of the World-2014, and tells about receiving the flag of the International Judo Federation and his plans for the upcoming championships.

- Denis, you were among the members of Chelyabinsk delegation that received the IJF flag in Rio de Janeiro. How was the ceremony?

- On the last day of the competitions in Brazil, during the closing ceremony, the flag of the International Judo Federation was given to Chelyabinsk. A lot of people were involved in the ceremony – kids, titled athletes, sports authorities and managers. The President of the Brazil Judo Federation Paulo Wanderley passed the flag to the President of the IJF Marius Vizer, and he gave it to me. Of course it was a great honor for me. It was very pleasant to take part in the event. Now the main task for us is to prepare the tournament well. We want to make the best World championships in history.

- What do you like in Brazil? What are you going to use at the World-2014 in Chelyabinsk?

- Our delegation has paid special attention to the Judo Park that was equipped in the area around the Sports Hall. It was a big entertainment city that always was full of children and their parents. They took part in the contests, won prizes and had fun. We want to build the same Judo Park in front of the Traktor Arena to the World-2014 in Chelyabinsk. It will be free for all visitors. All attractions will be associated with judo . Moreover, between the north side of the Miass River and the Rodina Concert Hall we will install the stele with a clock that will count the time to the World-2014. And here we will hang the replica of the IJF flag.

- What will be the mascot of the World-2014?

- We made a decision not to reinvent the wheel, and use the mascot of the Euro-2012 Tiger Zhorik again. Local people and guest of the city love it so much that there is no sense to change it. During the Euro-2012 the Zhorik merchandise was sold out in several days. By the end of the tournament we didn’t have any Zhorik toys at all. So, people will have a second chance to buy the adorable mascot of judo. Besides, we are planning to extend the range of merchandise for the World-2014. I think judo fans will like that.

- What tasks do the Chelyabinsk athletes have for the World-2014?

- We are planning to have at least four local judokas in the national team. Our main task is to provide the athletes with good training process. We have all necessary conditions. At least four Chelyabinsk sportsmen have to get in the national team. Kirill Denisov, Mansur Isaev, Zafar Makhmadov and Renat Saidov have good chances. Of course Denis Yarcev, Rada Biktimirova and Alina Pukhova will also contest for the place in the team. But we gave to understand that the head coach of the Russian team Ezio Gamba is responsible for the results. So, he will use the strongest athletes.

Vitaly Vizaulin