Tajikistan gears up for London Olympics – Central Asia Online

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Sport, Tajikistan

Challenges, rewards for athletes

The government supports its athletes, rewarding their accomplishments, but some competitors say shortcomings in the level of training facilities remain.

“Of course, training conditions for athletes in other countries are better than ours,” Ovcharenko said. “Take Belarus, where I competed last year. There, they have excellent tracks – both covered and open air. Here, we have to train year round outdoors in both snow and rain. In winter, for example, the track freezes and running is not only difficult but also dangerous. In summer, it is too hot.”

To motivate athletes, President Emomali Rakhmon earlier this year ordered cash prizes of 300,000 TJS (US $63,400) for gold medallists, 250,000 TJS (US $52,800) for silver medallists and 200,000 TJS (US $42,200) for bronze medallists.

Additionally, the Dushanbe mayor’s office plans to give free two-bedroom apartments to any Dushanbe resident who wins gold and to make them “Honoured Citizens of the Capital.” Dushanbe also is promising 45,000 TJS (US $9,500) and 35,000 TJS (US $7,400) for residents who win silver and bronze, respectively. Other benefactors include the Islamic Renaissance Party, which is promising two-bedroom Dushanbe apartments for any Tajik medallists, and Orienbank, which intends to give Lexus cars to medallists.

“I think this is a very good incentive for our athletes,” Ovcharenko said.

The coaches have high hopes for their athletes, but sports watchers are less optimistic.

Tajikistan has chances to win a pair of bronze and silver medals, predicted commentator Narzullo Latifov. “A lot depends on their opponents in the first round,” he said. “If they are no better than our athletes, then ours have a chance of reaching the second round. Otherwise, there’s practically no chance (for ours).”

Expounding on Ovcharenko’s assessment, he said Tajik athletes don’t have access to the levels of training that can win many gold medals. That lack of commitment sways many athletes to represent other countries, he said.

He cited hammer thrower Sukhrob Khodzhayev, a former Tajik athlete who is representing Uzbekistan this year, as an example.

“This young and successful athlete dropped Tajikistan and started competing for another country because we didn’t truly appreciate him here,” he said.

Tajikistan’s Olympic team also includes Dilshod Nazarov (hammer throw); Alisher Gulov and Farkhod Negmatov (WTF Taekwondo); Sobirdzhon Nazarov and Dzakhon Kurbonov (boxing); Rasul Bokiyev and Parviz Sobirov (judo); and Iskandari Rustam, Yusuf Abdusalomov, Zelimkhan Yusupov and Nikolai Noyev (freestyle wrestling).

via Tajikistan gears up for London Olympics – Central Asia Online.

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