Club Dragon World Rowing Championship, Valery Morgun

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Valery Morgun, the President of the Ukrainian Federation of Rowing Boats “Dragon”, Honoured Worker of Physical Culture and Sports of Ukraine, Honoured Master of Sports of Ukraine of Rowing Boats “Dragon”, Honoured Coach of Ukraine, Master of Sports of Ukraine on Kayaking and Kano Rowing told the FD about unusual for Ukraine, but already quite popular sport, the Dragon World Rowing Championship in Kyiv, which will be held in Kyiv and about the connection between sports and politics…

Club Dragon World Rowing Championship, Valery Morgun

“Sport is one of the best ways in which countries claim and declare themselves in the world,”

said Valeriy Morgun, the President of the Ukrainian Federation of Rowing Boats “Dragon”

How did the idea to create the federation for rowing on the boats “Dragon” appear? You should agree, this kind of rowing has not been very common for Ukraine.

– The foundation of the federation was in 2004, and of course, at that time, “Dragon” was an unusual, inaudible and even exotic sport for our country.

I devoted a considerable part of my life to kayaking; I took part in the competitions of an international level, where I was fortunate not only to see, but also to get to know more about this kind of rowing.

However, at some point, I was disappointed that in Ukraine this spectacular kind of rowing remains unknown.

Making “Dragon” boats rowing a popular and massive sport was one of the priorities for me and my associates, and then we decided to create an all-Ukrainian federation that would be involved in the development of this sport in all its directions.

Today, in our country there are successfully developing sports federations of different origins, but not all of them can be massive and cover all segments of the population. For example, our sport allows you to capture rowing at any age and be promoted in sport in general.

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We set ourselves the goal of making the “Dragon” boats rowing as familiar to the Ukrainians as the academic rowing, and kayaking and canoeing.

Club Dragon World Rowing Championship, Valery Morgun

How many teams and clubs does your federation include for now?

– The All-Ukrainian Federation consists of twenty one cell and a number of rowing sports clubs. We form the composition of the national team of Ukraine among the best athletes: adult, junior and youth ones. At the same time, fourteen of our cells, along with the main direction, actively develop the amateur rowing line on the boat “Dragon”.

Are these amateur clubs as numerous as the regional ones?

– I would say quite enough, but not as much as I would like. Amateur cells operate in Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv, Poltava, Zhytomyr and Cherkassy.

Most of all, I am surprised and delighted by the Lviv branch, because at the time when there are rivers and rowing canals in the territorial boundaries of Kyiv and Poltava region, Lviv sportsmen conduct training outside the city, however, this does not prevent them from being among the best in the national and international arenas.

Club Dragon World Rowing Championship, Valery Morgun

What are the Ukrainian team’s achievements?

– Undoubtedly, it is difficult for us to compete with those teams in those countries where this sport has been developed for a longer period of time.

However, we conduct competitions for various segments of the population, including Ukrainian championships, drawings of the Ukrainian Cup, international tournaments at which we obtain the necessary experience.

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This allows us not only to prepare for the international competitions of different levels, but also to promote this kind of rowing.

As for the success of the Ukrainian team at international competitions, since 2014, our athletes are always on the plinth of respect for competitions at European and world levels. Incidentally, the year 2018 was no exception.

What kind of international activity does your federation provide?

– On 13th of September, 2019, Club World Rowing Championship on “Dragon” boats will be held in Kyiv.

We are pleased that the International Federation has expressed its trust in the Ukrainian Federation of Rowing on the Dragon boats and made it possible to host this championship in the capital.

We were ready for the above mentioned competitions last year, but the International Federation had warnings about the unstable situation in the country.

I am glad that we managed to prove to the local authorities the importance of these competitions.

International level competitions are the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, and involvement in active sports, and good tourist advertising for the city of Kyiv.

We met the mayor of Kyiv, Vitalii Klitschko, who paid a lot of attention to the development of sports and got his support in the competition, we were allocated a water area near Obolonska embankment.

In general, the background to the approval of the Club World Cup in Kyiv is very rich, because our federation has passed a difficult path from the preparation of technical documentation to protecting it at a meeting of the European and world federations. And when, during the closure of the 2017 World Championship in Venice, the President of the Asian Canoe Confederation of the International Canoe Federation, Shokin Narita, solemnly passed me the International Canoe Federation flag, this was an official acknowledgment of the rights to hold the Dragon Rowing World Championship in Ukraine in 2019.

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So, next year, nearly 6,000 athletes from 40 countries will visit Kyiv.

Club Dragon World Rowing Championship, Valery Morgun

By the Decree of the President of Ukraine dated from the 23rd of August 2018, you were awarded with the title of the Honoured Worker of Physical Culture and Sports of Ukraine. How would you comment on this distinction?

– The recognition of such a high level is undoubtedly an honour for me. And not just for me. I believe that this award has been given not only to me, but also to our entire sports community of the “Dragon” boats rowing.

Do you agree with the statement that sport is out of politics?

– Of course, not. The sport is politics itself. When a team of a certain country wins international competitions, the anthem of this country is heard and its flag is raised. Isn’t it a part of international politics? I believe that sport is one of the best ways in which countries claim and declare themselves in the world. Remember, at the beginning of independence in the 1990s, when Ukraine was little known in the world, the Ukrainian prominent athletes and their victories at international competitions glorified our young state. For a long time, the very name of our country was associated, first of all, with sports and athletes. It’s worth of remembering.