Dmitry Chernykh: Tiger Zhorik Will Become World-famous

The Vice-President of the Russian Judo Federation Dmitry Chernykh belittles his merits in developing judo in the South Ural region and usually doesn’t give interviews. Meanwhile, he brought the Euro-2012 to Chelyabinsk and turned the city into the capital of the 2014 World Judo Championships.


Слева направо: Мариус Визер, Дмитрий Черных, Сергей Соловейчик

- At first you discussed the opportunity of holding the World champ in Chelyabinsk with the president of the International Judo Federation Mr. Marius Vizer at the European Championships. What did he say?

- It was a small talk. Marius Vizer saw overcrowded bleachers and great attention to judo at the European Championships in Chelyabinsk. I asked, “How about having the World Champ here?”. It was a joke. But at the end of the Euro-2012 we received high praise from the European experts. Our judoka Mansur Isaev made a final push to bring the World Championships to Chelyabinsk by winning the Olympics in London.

- What happened with plans to hold the World Champ in Moscow?

- The idea is to show Russia as a big sporting country by holding international competitions not only in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but in the other regions. So, it is no coincidence that great international events take place not in capitals, but in the provinces:  The Olympics in Sochi,   the Summer Universiade in Kazan, and many World Champs in different kind of sports. The Chelyabinsk region is in a van.


- You have heard a lot of positive opinions from the officials and sports administrators. But do you know what athletes and coaches said about the Euro-2012?


- Yes, I do. The success of the Euro-2012 was made by expert s and local people.  The athletes said that they had never met so friendly attitude. Maybe it is a unique quality of Russian soul. A lot of money was spent, but it is impossible to buy the atmosphere. This is the main achievement of the Euro-2012.


- You talk about Marius Vizer a lot. What kind man he is? Is it easy to get along with him?


- I'm accustomed to associating with the authorities and famous people. So, we made it up with Marius Vizer easily. He is a significant figure in sport. He leads the biggest world organization – the Sport Accord. This is the alternative to the International Olympic Committee that includes 95 international sports federations. The Sport Accord selects cities for holding World championships in different sports. And it is very pleasant that the judo representative is at the head of it.     


-You were proposed to become a vice-president of the European Judo Union, weren’t you


- At first I accepted this appointment, but then I had to refuse. The only reason – I don’t speak English. At this job you need to speak fluently in order to take decisions and discuss it with colleagues. I understood that I couldn’t be useful. I didn’t want to do the job badly that’s why I came up to Sergey Soloveichik, said thanks for trusting me and left.


- Have souvenirs already gone on sale?


- The First merchandise was sold at the Grand Slam in Moscow. The World-2014 souvenirs will be on sale at the World Champ in Brazil.  The merchandise will be vary various and high-quality.



- Will people choose the mascot of the competitions by voting?


- We haven’t thought about it yet.


- In any way, nothing can compete with Tiger Zhorik…


- Maybe we will take him for the second time. Zhorik has become the symbol of the whole Chelyabinsk judo. People love him. Zhorik has become well-known in Europe, and will become world-famous soon.

- Everyone says that the Euro-2012 was perfect. But you probably have found some shortcomings that must be fixed during the preparations to the World-2014.

- There was only one shortcoming – the men’s national team lost competitions to the Georgian athletes. I suffered from that fail a lot. Team competitions were held on the last day of the championships, and of course we needed a final step. Our judokas performed well.  Before the tournament I told that we would win four gold medals, and nobody believed me. But it came almost the same way. Only men’s team didn’t win. The women’s team brought a medal. And I feel sorry for Zafar Makhmadov. He earned a bronze, but had all chances to grab gold.

 - The World Judo Championships is going to be a great event for Chelyabinsk. What are the differences with the Euro-2012?


- About  1,000 athletes from 150 countries will take part in the World Judo Championships. The competitions will last not five, but seven days.  The Champ will be broadcasting in 200 countries. It’s doesn’t make any difference technically what kind event to hold – Russian, European, World. But such a scope! Chelyabinsk will become the center of World judo for seven days.


- Fans are always fascinated by their local athletes. But the team squad will be announced by the head coach Ezio Gamba.  Will you ask him to involve more Chelyabinsk judokas into the tournament?


- I think that the World-2014 is for the strongest athletes. These competitions not for regions, but for Russia. The best prepared judokas will stand on the tatami. We have to earn as many medals as possible. Fans support Russia, not only Chelyabinsk. We are willing to see local athletes at the World-2014, but the result is more important.