By Joe Price
After three days of tough competition, Russia ended up with an impressive 43 medals at the World Youth Championships, just a couple of weeks before Kazan plays host to the European Open Championships.
As delegate of the Russian team, Victor Korneev, was extremely satisfied at the progress of the MMA team in Sofia. Looking back at where the process started, he explained how a lot of these athletes had been striving for this event long before it started.
“It has been a long journey to get to these Youth World Championships,” said Victor.
“We had smaller qualifying events in May, that then moved on to our regional championships. After that, the competition increased even more as our athletes competed in the national finals. They’ve worked hard to get to Bulgaria.”
The long path to this stage has not shown any visible signs of fatigue from any of the Russian athletes, with every fighter giving their all.
“We have done our best to bring as many Russian athletes as we could to the competition,” said Victor.
“We have plenty of MMA talent in Russia, and we were proud to see our 12-13 year-old athletes coming here and put on a good performance. Managing five gold, six silver, and three bronze medals reassures us that they are developing well and moving in the right direction.”
It is more than just the competing that is part of the challenge for all of the IMMAF youth athletes. When you also consider the time spent training and travelling internationally, perhaps for the first time outside their country, Victor believed his nation’s young athletes have handled themselves really well.
“These young fighters are coming to these championships for the first time, and to finish second place overall in that age group is great.”
“We feel it is a great result for the team, and we now know where we stand in trying to better these performances and improve at the next youth championships.”
The nation will be looking ahead to when they host their very first IMAAF event. The city of Kazan will play host to the 2021 Senior & Junior European Open Championships from 16th– 20th August, with Victor happy to see everyone back and ready for events once again.
“It has felt very good to be back, we always enjoy the time spent with our family at IMMAF. Thank you to the organisation, and to all the people who have helped produce a great competition. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Russia.”