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Interview with Yevgeny Tsukhlo

Yevgeny Tsukhlo, member of the Technical Directorate of the Fencing World Championship 2007,   was closely following the Championship in Ghent.  Because all the organizersí mistakes, that occurred in Belgium, should be avoided in St. Petersburg. 

 Tatyana Koltchanova, reporter of the official web-site of the International Charity Fund ďFor Future of FencingĒ and member of the World Championship Directorate, spoke to Yevgeny during the Championship.

 At the World Championship Iíll work in the Press Center.  Thatís why Iíve paid special attention to the work of the European Championship Press Center and emphasized mistakes that we shouldnít make in St. Petersburg. During the first two days we had Internet connection troubles, which made nervous the reporters from different countries. Printed information about the Championship events came too late or we had no information at all. Even the tables of results given to the reporters lied in disorder on the table and it was very difficult to understand what kind of weapon they referred to. How do you think as a member of the Technical Directorate of the World Championship to which moments should we give attention in St. Petersburg first of all?

- At first glance the organization of sporting events of the European Championship in Ghent appears fairly well. What we want to avoid at our Championship are mess and fuss of the first days here. We could feel no collaboration between the Technical Directorate and the departments that controlled weapons check marking, departments, which were responsible for athletes coming for bout in time and carrying the flags. In practice the same situation is common almost for all competitions. I wish there were no moments that make our athletes nervous in St. Petersburg.

 How can we achieve this goal?

- The World Championship Directorate has already held several meetings, where the spheres of responsibilities of all the departments were defined; the heads of each work area were appointed. All of us are leaving for St. Petersburg a week before the competition to hold rehearsals, to think over all details.

 It also caught my eye that here there are a lot of volunteers, who help referees, for example, they are responsible for starting and stopping the stopwatch, which measures the bout time. These volunteers often got distracted, forgot to start the stopwatch, when the bout had already begun or stop the watch when the referee had said ďHalt!Ē. Sometimes several seconds decide the fencing bout outcome, and such mistakes can influence the result. How can it be avoided?

 - Itís necessary to select and train timekeepers carefully, explain to them the importance of their work. Itís not just a World Championship, but a competition, that will play the main role in selection of athletes for the Olympics. We faced one more problem. During this Championship the information system APPARD was used. This system provides the opportunity to bring information about each bout to the Internet at once. It works only when the stopwatch is on. In the saber competition bout time is not measured, because saber bout never lasts three minutes (time interval according to the rules).  But volunteers had to start the stopwatch for the work of the information system. It looked like they were not properly informed and they forgot to do it, the referees didnít control them either. As a result information about some bouts didnít appear in the Internet.

 At this Championship and at many other international competitions, including the World Championships and the Olympics, quality of judgement roused censure.  Can we influence judgement quality at the World Championship in St.Petersburg?

- There was a mighty row about it in Ghent. As this Championship is a part of athletes Olympics selection, the International Fencing Federation had the opportunity to appoint referees. The Referees Commission of the International Fencing Confederation submitted to FIE a proposal to select referees itself. FIE gave its consent. Referees were selected very carefully and among referees in foil, epee and sabre there were great professionals. You should understand that itís more difficult to judge the European Championship then continental competitions of Africa, America and Asia. But during the adjustment stage FIE changed this list for 35% and it turned out that foil competitions would be judged by consciously weak referees.  Unfortunately we canít fight it yet.

 You are right; I was taken aback by the fact, that the international certified referees couldnít make a decision without viewing action replay almost after each hit.

- Did you pay attention who they applied to? They were not FIE representatives, not special observers, but the referees who had judged the bouts before. In view of their low-level skills and referees solidarity you can imagine what advices they could give each other. The members of the Referees Commission of EFC addressed FIE with a request to use them as observers, and I was among them too. FIE met us halfway, invited us to the Championship, but we werenít allowed to view action replay. Using their positions FIE representatives solve problems of their countries only, and it was clear in Ghent. Iím afraid that we wonít be able to avoid the same situations in St.Peterburg, so we must be ready for it.

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