2-time Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel this time travels to Russia to be held in Kazan for the sixth conference of Ministers and senior officials responsible for physical education and sport. Before the speech, occupying the post of Minister of sport of the famous spagetti with the assistance of the press service of the Embassy of France in the Russian Federation gave an exclusive interview to “MK”.
Laura Flessel. Photo: press service
– You – 2-time Olympic champion and multiple world champion in fencing on swords, our Minister of sport Pavel Kolobkov – also Olympic champion in this kind of weapons. Sword, or rather, the school of the sword, helps to solve problems in life and politics?
After a recent meeting in Lausanne, which was endorsed candidates of the capitals of the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024 and 2028 years (”ll take them in Paris and Los Angeles – is unclear so far, only the order in which – “MK”), I can say that this experience was really useful to me. Champions aren’t made in one day. Needs a lot of work, takes dedication, physical and psychological preparation. You learn to keep a beat going forward. Today, when I in fact make their first steps in politics, all I really comes in handy… for many years in sports have shaped my personality and I intend to use this experience as a Minister.
– How long have you known Paul Koloboks?
– I was lucky to cross paths with him many times in international fencing competitions. The epee fencers are often found in different parts of the world. We met at a time of great rivalry between France and Russia – and honest attitude to the opponent. For me it has always embodied excellence. Have Kolobkov in the driveway was a, you know, insinuating style, saying that it was used very delicately. He had the soul of a champion, he combined the desire to win and amazing, I would say, humility. Very importantly, he is always with great respect to the enemy.
– How do you see sporting relations between France and Russia? Where their needs to be further improved, in your opinion?
– France and Russia – are important participants in international sports life. We can now talk about the successful operational cooperation between our federations in many sports. But we have the opportunity to go even further. To develop cooperation in the field of sports in the economy, in the sphere of exchange of experience in organizing international events and conduct of major sporting events.
– You were born in Guadeloupe. As is the case with the development of sport in overseas departments? Just as in the metropolis? Are there any differences?
– Guadeloupe, as all the overseas territories, rich in Champions. My recent visit to Guadeloupe or Martinique in June confirmed my belief that it is necessary to go a considerable way to create sports infrastructure that needs to be as thick as in the rest of France. We together with the Ministry of overseas territories develop a plan for the development of sports facilities adapted to the peculiarities of the environment: climate, seismic standards…
– You know, in many schools of France handball part of the school curriculum. This, in your opinion, the secret to the success of your handball players? Why bet on this sport?
French handball Federation has done a great job with the school sports organizations. From this was born the tradition of wins, it’s passed on from generation to generation, including the youth team… I don’t know exactly what is the secret of victories of the handball players, but I think it stems from the fact that the preparation of the athlete is complemented by the rapid introduction of the national team, where final preparation and psychological adaptation. In my opinion, a high level is based on the ability to manage their emotions without losing yourself. It’s not just about the sport. The high technical achievements of handball are largely determined by the quality of training and team cohesion. It should be noted the high level of professionalism of the two head coaches – Daniel Costantini and Claude Onesta.
– And what place in popularity in France is fencing?
– The French love fencing. I saw this myself when I participated in various competitions. Today’s aim is to highlight these big international competition, so the media continues to promote this beautiful sport. You can trust me, if we get the right to organize the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024, I will do everything to ensure that this interest long before the Games.
– How many times have you been in Russia?
That’s a hard question! Over 20 years of career I spent a lot of time in Russia. Most of the competitions in which I participated, was held in Moscow or Saint Petersburg. I have many good memories of the title of world champion in the team competition, which we won in Russia. We beat the Russians in the final and was afraid of public reaction, which turned out to be very friendly: we were greeted on the podium.
Like you, we hope that the French team on football will come to Russia for the 2018 world Cup. In which city would you like to play?
– On any platform – provided that it will advance as far as possible!