Many teams have been impacted by the pandemic these last 18 months but that hasn’t stopped a new generation of rafters from wanting to race. Anastasia Gubanenkova is used to competitive raft racing having raced for several years with the Russian Open Women’s team. She has since taken up coaching a new generation of Russian teams. Here she introduces two of the newest teams on the Russian raft racing circuit.
Inspiring a new generation
Words and photos by Anastasia Gubanenkova
Once upon a time six young sportsmen from Saint-Petersburg decided to take part in the Russian National Selections in the Open category at the beginning of June on Belaya river. The competitons started at 9th of June and there were more than 40 teams from nine regions of Russia. It’s interesting to note that only 13 teams appeared from the European part of Russia and 28 travelled mostly from Siberia: Altay, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk!
Our trip started with some unexpected things: our boat got lost in troubles! Luckily the teams were able to ask the organisers to loan this equipment. We needed to choose between 10 or 12 foot boat for class R4 (the usual is 8 foot!). At the end of all this team from Tomsk shared with us their 10 foot boat 10 foot which weighed about 40 kilos.
During the competition the team had to focus on the race and ignore all the issues they could not manage. First and third place in the men’s divsion went to Altay Republic and the team from Tomsk came second in R6. In R4 our team has trouble in the Downriver – they choose the wrong line so only came 16th overall (best result was 11th in Sprint and 12th in H2H). In the R4 Tomsk got back their gold medals, and the two teams from Altay Republic went to second and third places.
And what about the women you ask? For many years the Eniseushka from Krasnoyarsk hold strong their leadership in Open the category. Such as this time. So congratulations to all!
There is one more thing: it’s about young girls who took part in Russian Rafting Champ for the first time in collboration between two cities from European part of Russia (directly from Ryazan and Saint-Petersburg). To be prepered for the 2021 selections in category U19 two teams decided to make an agreement. So at the October 2020 first trainings had started.
Girls met twice before the first start in June that was difficult to manage common trainings because of the pandemic. But we thought that would be great experience and it was. During first days of Champ girls were holding 6th place, Slalom went bad our team turned 7th but on the last discipline they show the best result – 4th place!
And now while I was writing this article both of thouse teams (boys and girls) took part in Open nationals competition in Elets and got the GOLD!
Prior to the pandemic the teams had planned to go to Romania to compete in the Dracula Race. We have our fingers crossed that they can do this next year or maybe to the new Euro Cup being planned at Botosani (white water course in Romania). We wish the teams all the best and welcome to the #riverfamily