FINA has opened a developmental center in Kazan, Russia, joining with the FINA Development Centre in Dakar (SEN), Thanyapura (Phuket, Thailand) – FINA Training Centre, and Spire Institute (Geneva, OH, USA) – FINA Training Centre as one of four official FINA training/development centers.
The FINA development centers serve a variety of functions, including providing facilities and coaching for athletes involved with FINA’s scholarship program, should they choose to relocate to one of the centers.
Kazan, located where the Volga and Kazanka rivers meet in western Russia, was named Russia’s “sports capital” in 2009, and since then it has hosted a number of major international sporting events, including the 2013 World University Games, the 2015 FINA World Championships, and matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
According to FINA, the Kazan Center’s mission is “to create conditions for scholarship holders that will allow revealing the maximum potential of every athlete, both in sports and personal areas. Each athlete is faced with the task of improving results from the moment they arrive at the Centre and qualify for the world championships and the Olympic Games.”
This development center will be based at the Olympiets Sports Complex of the Kazan Olympic Reserve School. Athletes will be training in the actual pool that was initially set up temporarily at the Kazan Arena for the 2015 World Championships.
Ranko Tepavcevic, the center’s General Coordiantor, also revealed that this location will specifically serve as a hub for FINA’s newly-launched diving scholarship program.
In an interview published by FINA, Tepavcevic further explained that…
“As FINA states, the main goals of the FINA Development Programme are to promote and encourage the development of the aquatic disciplines all over the world by reinforcing the cooperation and mutual support with its 209 National Member Federations. At the same time, it is strategically important to provide progressive educational opportunities for Coaches and Officials in all six FINA aquatic disciplines, and finally to enable athletes in all six disciplines to reach their full competitive potential.
Tepavcevic also talked about how the various centers might work together in advance of the World Cup meets later this year.
“We are communicating with other centres as well, initiating the idea to organise, together with FINA training centre in Thailand, common campus in Kazan before the SWC later this year. It will enable us to share the ideas and promote the development programme together. We are looking forward to meeting their coach Miguel Lopez, who is successfully running the programme there.”
The first athletes have already arrived in Kazan, including Kristina Panasenko (Kyrgyzstan) and Nikita Bortinikov (Moldova), Giorgi Biganishvili (Georgia), Arina Baikova (Latvia), Ado Gargovic (Montenegro), Mi Song Pak (North Korea) and Bisma Khan (Pakistan) will make up the full team in the coming days and next month.
Gulnara Garipova will serve as the center’s Head Coach.