«Step by step» in the Finnish style

26 May 2013 Sergei Grishin
«Step by step» in the Finnish style

In this report we’ll tell you about the Finnish sensation that happened at the European Championship in Italy a week ago, reveal how the Vice-President of the Russian Judo Federation helped the Finnish SAMBO to take on a new lease of life, and, of course, share with you how the Finnish SAMBO athletes train and what are the next goals they set for themselves.

But first things first. Our today’s report couldn’t take place if the Finnish team haven’t sensationally won the bronze medal at the European SAMBO Championship in Crema on the first day of the competitions. The Finnish hero appeared to be the SAMBO athlete in the weight category of 68 kg in Sports SAMBO – Rintamaki Antti Petteri.

The first of the Finnish team, with whom we managed to communicate, was the person we saw on the coaching bridge during Rintamakki’s fights. Please, meet the Russian Vladimir Alexandrov – the world-class master of sports, the USSR and SAMBO World Cup champion, coach and current consultant of the Finnish SAMBO team.

“Now SAMBO is on the upgrade in Finland. The reason for that – is the project initiated and organized by Boris Rotenberg, the Vice-President of the Russian Judo Federation. Its core – is the exchange of experience between SAMBO athletes from St. Petersburg and Finland. As a part of this project, my colleagues and I go to Finland a few times a month, fortunately, it’s just 500 kilometers from St. Petersburg, and carry out seminars and master classes for athletes and coaches there”, – comments on the SAMBO revival in Finland Vladimir Alexandrov.

He continues: “At present the Finns are very interested in the development of SAMBO. Our seminars are very popular there, the Finnish athletes (mostly the former judoists) learn the nuts and bolts of the sports, yet new for them, with interest. In 2012 at the World Championship in Minsk (Belarus), they field their team for the first time. Today, they have already won the first-ever medal of the European Championship in Finland. I think that progress in the Finnish SAMBO is evident and there are a lot of unconquered summits ahead”.

But now one of the summits has already been conquered by the Finnish SAMBO athletes. Let’s talk to the one who made a sensation in Italy. Please, meet Rintamaki Antti Petteri – a student, he is learning to be a medical man, he dreams of becoming a physical therapeutist in the future. He says: “I am – the former judoist, I said “goodbye” to judo because of the changes in the rules, I don’t really like them, to be honest. Now I am really fascinated with SAMBO, I like this sports. I train in judo club, but perform in SAMBO, here is a paradox (smiles). I came to Italy and tried to perform as good as possible. This is only the second major international SAMBO start for me, my first appearance took place at the World Championship in Minsk”.

“In combat sport they say – the silver is lost, and the bronze is won, do you agree with the statement?” – we ask Antti Petteri. The pleased Finnish SAMBO athlete answers us with a smile: “Well, today I have really won this award, and I’m happy”.

Chief coach of the Finnish SAMBO team Juha Salonen also looks happy. We managed to talk to him. “Our today’s bronze medalist, having realized in due course time that he hadn’t managed to qualify for the Olympics in judo in London, was disappointed and to be honest, somehow “threw up his hands”. But then he began to practice SAMBO, and it appeared to be closer to him. Frankly speaking, I am also a judoist in the past. SAMBO – is a new sports for us, but very attractive. Let me explain why. You have a lot of opportunities to win because of the diversity of techniques in SAMBO. It is a sports of variability, and that is interesting. Not a lot of people practice SAMBO in Finland yet, but I’m sure it’s a matter of time”, – tells about the SAMBO development in Finland Juha Salonen.

Our next question to the Finnish coach: “How much more the Fins have to work to win the medal of the World Championship from your point of view?”. “I’d like to say that it will happen tomorrow (laughs). But for us – it is only the second European SAMBO Championship. Now we’ll try to win the European silver and as far as the medal of the World Championship is concerned, I think, we’ll reach it very soon, in a few years already. We’re still learning, “step by step”.

Well – “step by step”, that is – is a popular statement, meaning a systematic and serious approach to work, which for sure will have effect over time. As a result, we are confident and in the future we’ll follow the performances of Finnish SAMBO athletes in the international arena with insight as we certainly believe in “step by step” in the Finnish style.

Natalia Yukhareva

Flash – Veronika Sovetova

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