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World Championship. Mixed Relay. Russia to take 6th place

In the first race of the 2011 World Championships that have started today in Khanty-Mansiysk, the Russian squad of Svetlana Sleptsova, Olga Zaitseva, Yevgeni Ustyugov and Ivan Tcherezov finished on the 6th position.

Olga Zaitseva: Well, the first pancake was lumpy. Maybe, people are expecting a lot from us now, but we're doing what we can. Both Svetlana and I were ready for that competition, but we made mistakes. It can happen with anyone. Today we know, who is capable of what now. We have put aside our emotions. It's life. I won't get upset and I won't call anyone names either. I will just say 'thank you' to everyone who supports us.

Svetlana Sleptsova: I don't know why this happened to me. I can't do anything. I failed the team because the first leg is very important. I could not cope with my emotions. But the life goes on and I'm thankful to those who keeps believing in us.

Yevgeni Ustyugov: From the previous experience I got that when you start from such a position as I did today, there is not always sense in skiing as fast as possible trying to make up with the leaders. I preferred to work as I'm accustomed to and, I think, the main problem today was cold, I felt a bit difficult to breath. I had a training camp before the World Championships, where I worked on my shooting and I can say I'm satisfied with today's shooting. Physically I feel good too. Before the start we four met and spoke about the pressure we feel competing at home. But of course I'd like to thank our fans greatly.

Ivan Tcherezov: I'm relatively pleased with my leg. I managed to work well, at a good speed. When I started, I just thought that I had to work without any indulgence. It was not easy, of course, I didn't take a good speed from the very beginning. But I felt it at the middle of the distance. We can't think a lot about today's failure, because there are 4 competitions ahead and I hope everything will be okay.

Vladimir Barnashov: We had a big discussion about the athletes to start in the Mixed Relay. We had a choice between Svetlana Sleptsova and Yekaterina Yurlova. Other coaches and I all said that Katya is in a better condition, but she never started first in Relay and we're at the World Championships now and the pressure is enormous. Considering that and the athletes' opinion we chose Svetlana. She finished 3rd in Sprint at Uvat and here at Khanty-Mansiysk she seemed to be alright according to the coaches and doctors' opinion. Although we have to confess that on the whole she's not in her best conditions now. Maybe it was our fault. Olga Zaitseva shot clean at the prone shooting and then tried to ski as fast as possible to make up with the gap. So she felt too tired at the second shooting and also made mistakes. Ustygov showed a perfect shooting while Tcherezov made 2 mistakes at the prone but was very fast. We knew that they would perform well and they didn't fail.

Before making the Sprint entry we must think everything over carefully. We don't want to change anyone spontaneously now, we have to know if it's about a temporary recession or it's the athletes' general condition at the moment. If the athlete's condition does not allow him to compete well at the highest level, we won't let them start in Sprint thus just losing quota.

RBU Media Office