More than a thousand paddlers took part in the Cup of the Ageev brothers and Olympic champions Yuri Postrigai and Alexander Dyachenko on the Moskva canoe sprint course in Krylatskoye from August 28 - 30. The competition was celebrating its 20th anniversary, and our correspondent, Sergey Medvedev, was there.

The first competition was held in 2001 in the Volgograd region for students of the local sports school of the Olympic reserve, in which the Ageev brothers used to train. Gradually, the event turned into a major annual international tournament. 

"Doing something good and not dreaming about it becoming great? You can not do it this way. We are athletes, ambitious people who are used to working to win and to get the champion title. Therefore, we decided to raise the status of our competitions as much as possible, introduced additional disciplines, established the biggest prize fund in the world of rowing.’ says Alexander Ageev. 

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The total size of the prize fund was 150,000 euros. The winners of the races received 10,000 euros each, the runners-up got 5,000 euros each, and those who finished third took 2,500 euros each. 1250 euros were paid to the participants of the tournament who took fourth place, and 600 euros were received by those who finished fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. So there was something to fight for. 

Stability against pandemic 

Alexander Ageev admits that the decision to host the Cup in 2020 was not easy. 

"We spent three months at home, and in May we discussed options at an online meeting. There was a proposal to postpone the competition to 2021, because I wanted to celebrate the anniversary magnificently without looking back at the restrictions. However, at the meeting, I insisted that the tournament should take place in 2020. Whatever difficulties may occur in the world, we must show by our work that the Cup is strong and stable. We took the current situation as a challenge and accepted it." 

Of course, all the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor at the competition were met: mask mode, disinfection, temperature measurement and other safety measures. 

More than a thousand paddlers from all regions of Russia 

The tournament was attended by 1213 paddlers from 31 regions of Russia. Athletes from 57 countries of the world sent applications for participation, however, due to the pandemic, there were difficulties with flights and visas. Only 13 foreign rowers were able to attend the competition. Nevertheless, the Cup was large and bright, as in previous years. During the three days the participants were competing for medals in 80 final races. 

"Among our participants, most of all there are representatives of the younger generation. We are talking about juniors of three ages (up to 15, up to 17 and up to 19 years old). These are future professionals and we are trying to make them see the beauty of paddling and get to know their idols. A fourth of the participants are adult athletes (from 19 years old). There were also many veterans at the Cup, masters who devoted their lives to paddling and continue to do it." says Alexander Ageev  

Disciplines for every taste 

The Cup program includes many disciplines and distances, there are absolutely all categories, both children and veterans ones. Thus, the hosts try to provide all paddling amateurs and professionals with a choice. 

The trick of the competition is that the hosts always experiment. We always create something trying to come up with a new thing for the Cup. So, this year we introduced a new distance of 650 meters, so that not only sprinters but also long-distance athletes could join us. We developed the rules, received a patent, and approved the prize fund. The new Superforce distance proved to be very popular. 

In addition, a unique race took place this year: a four of kayakers against an academic swing four. And the cherry on top was the SUP boarding of famous athletes, TV presenters and Instagram bloggers. 

Thanks for the support 

Alexander Ageev is grateful for the support of sponsors and officials. So, this year the Cup was included in the calendar of the International Canoe Federation ICF and the hosts received funding from the Moscow City Sports Department. Alexander Ageev said that there are always a lot of people who want to help in organising the Cup, so they manage to make such an impressive prize fund. And although the pandemic made its adjustments, resources and opportunities were still found. 

"We feel the support of the federation: they help us with boats, inviting foreign athletes, documents to official authorities. President of the Russian Canoe Federation Evgeny Arkhipov helps to coordinate with the International Federation the issue of including the Cup in the calendar. 

We hope to receive the status of the Champions Cup (private commercial World Cup) next year. In such a competition, athletes can, for example, earn points for the title of international master of sports. 

"We dreamed of such a scale, but did not think that we could achieve it. And now I want to do everything for the event to become even better! I think that with a team like ours, this is more than possible. 

Sergey Medvedev

Belarus <a href='/webservice/athleteprofile/42055' data-id='42055' target='_blank' class='athlete-link'>Artsem Kozyr</a> Moscow 2020

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