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Meet the new coaching staff

The RBU Executive Board meeting was held past Friday, April 29th. The participants discussed the results of the 2010/2011 season, approved the expanded list of the candidates for the national team and announced a new coaching staff.

The Russian Biathlon Union has decided on the key positions of the coaching staff for the national teams. Valeriy Polkhovskiy was appointed as a new Head Coach of the Russian team. Both the women's and men's teams will be split into two squads — A and B.

Andrey Gerbulov will be appointed as a Head Coach of the men's A-team. He will be responsible for the shooting training. Andrey Padin is a new coach for functional training, Nikolay Lopukhov will take over both the functional and technical parts. A Head Coach for the men's B-team is Nikolay Knyazev, a functional coach is Maksim Kugaevskiy.

A new Head Coach of the women's A-team is Wolfgang Pichler, with Pavel Rostovtsev serving as a shooting coach. Andrey Russkih heads women's B-team. He will work with Sergey Konovalov and Pavel Lantsov.

Alexander Kurakin will be a new Head Coach of the national reserve men's team. Robert Kabukov and Yuriy Mayorov are responsible for the functional and shooting training respectively. A Head Coach of the national reserve women's team is Alexander Selifonov. He will work with Nadezhda Belova (shooting coach) and Sergey Efimov (coach for functional training).

Former Head Coach Vladimir Barnashov will continue to work as a State Coach of the national teams.

«All candidates are already agreed with the Sports Ministry,« — says RBU CEO Sergey Kushchenko. «We will send the minutes of the RBU Executive Board meeting to the Ministry. After the approval of candidates, 3–4 of May, all coaches will meet to present the training programs for the next season. Later the composed programs will be sent to the RBU Council and Sports Ministry».

«We also plan to split the men's and women's national teams into A and B groups. But we're not dividing them on the main and reserve — training process will be equal,« — comments Kushchenko. «In the nearest future we also plan to work further on the selection criteria for the national team. During the past Coaches Council meeting in Tyumen we had active discussions upon this issue. The main idea of the changes is that before the start of the season and World Championships we will organize competitions within Russia. All candidates for the national team will participate. The team will be composed from those sportsmen who are best ready at that moment. We plan to have a final version of this criteria by the 1st of July.»

«Forming the coaching staff we thought not only about short-term period but also about future perspectives. That's why starting from this season, the younger generation of coaches, like Pavel Rostovtsev, will work next to the experienced professionals. We hope that the knowledge of Wolfgang Pihler and Andrey Gerbulov will be adopted by Padin, Rostovtsev, and after that will reach the coaches of the youth and junior teams. It is important to systematize work of the coaches on all levels,« — stressed Sergey Kushchenko.

«While forming the coaching staff we tried to choose the best specialists — those, who are not afraid of taking responsibility, ready to contribute something new into the team's work and take the best from what we have got for now,« — comments the President of RBU Mikhail Prokhorov. «These coaches are not afraid to adopt a foreign experience».

«Today we rely on the experience of a world-class coach who has achieved huge success on the international level. Pihler will help not only the women's team but the entire coaching system of the Russian biathlon. The Swedish didn't hesitate to take the German Pihler into the national team and succeeded. So, why should we be ashamed? Russian journalists have already named Pihler «a biathlon's Hiddink». Let me remind, that the Dutch coach was criticized so often at the beginning, but he went towards his aim and after the European Championship he had received only positive comments on his work.» — says Prokhorov.

«We have a huge desire to win, that's why we're making these changes. We want the best specialists to work for Russian biathlon and we will not be back out of this strategy», emphasized Prokhorov.

The decision on the coaching staff was made on the past RBU Executive Board meeting. RBU will send the list of the coaches for approval to the Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy.

RBU Media Office