Anna Abdulova: “Triathletes should work on creating their media image”





Two months ago, during the FTU Reporting and Election Conference, the interests of athletes at the Triathlon Federation of Ukraine were first represented by Anna Abdulova from Zhytomyr. Her candidacy was nominated by athletes, and during the Conference itself was supported by the majority of delegates. According to Anna, the Athletes’ Commission should not be limited to the right to vote only once every four years… This structure should become a bridge between the athlete and the Federation. Details – in our material.

Congratulations, Anna! In November, during the election of the FTU President, you represented professional athletes among the other delegates and had the right to vote. Given the density of the struggle in the first round of the election of the new president of the FTU – perhaps it is the voice of the current athletes in the end became decisive! What does the status of the Chairman of the Athletes’ Commission at the Triathlon Federation of Ukraine mean to you in general?

The Athletes’ Commission is a very important structure that should influence the processes within the FTU and have a representative. We will submit a version of the relevant document on cooperation to the Presidium, which we are currently working on. Now, under my chairmanship, I am assembling a Commission of a certain number of athletes, approximately five or seven people, who will join the working group. I think that by the end of January we will announce the full membership of the Athletes’ Commission. Our task is to form the position of athletes and the needs that I, as a representative of athletes, will articulate before the Presidium of the FTU. I want to emphasize that any of the Ukrainian triathletes can write or call me, ask their question or problem – I am freely available and ready to help.

What will the Athletes Commission be directly responsible for, what are the needs in the first place?

First of all, these are the main moments that athletes encounter during their careers – both during competitions and training, and at the basic level of everyday life. These are the needs and wishes for equipment, methods, conditions and locations of the meeting, accommodation, nutrition, vitamins, etc. Anything that could simplify the athlete’s training and competition process and work on the end result. After all, I am far from confident in the flexibility and communication skills of our coaches – so in the face of the Athletes’ Commission, Ukrainian athletes will have their voice at the Federation level, and that’s great!

How do you see this cooperation: it will be a struggle of “two towers”? Or vice versa – though not easy, but no less constructive work for the common goal?

Fighting the Federation, working “from the opposite” are remnants of the past. If you do not work clearly in communication, do not stick to the parallel “athlete-coach-federation” and so on – nothing good will come of it… If there is no common goal and all participants in the process go their own way, it will be something like “swan, crab and pike.” Therefore, we are all interested in constructive work for a common result!

I think we can already reveal a little secret: in the coming days there will be a presentation of our joint project of the press service of the FTU and the Athletes’ Commission…

So! This is the page of the Triathlon Federation of Ukraine on the social network Instagram. It should have been done a long time ago – but better now than never. We will fill it with interesting, high-quality and useful content to get maximum pleasure and results. This is our good initiative to help develop our sport. Triathlon should become super-interesting for everyone! I want to bridge the gap between triathlon as a professional sport and ordinary people who have never heard of it. So, as they say – stay tuned!

How to move our athletes to be more active in that regard as well?

I think that for the first time we, as the initiators and implementers of this idea, will devote a lot of our personal time to fill the page. I hope that when Ukrainian triathletes see feedback, they will take the initiative, join the content of the page, share interesting facts from their lives and careers.

We are all looking for sponsorship – but if athletes do not pay time and attention to creating their media image, then what are we talking about? To be lazy to send a photo, not to answer a few questions from the press service, and then to make claims – what kind of common cause and development can we talk about?

At the last Presidium, the task for the upcoming Olympic cycle before the 2024 Games was clearly outlined – three or four Olympic licenses. What do athletes say about that? Will it take us the strength and time to realize the goal?

It will be very difficult – but possible! The problem is that we usually spend a long time “rolling around” and think that we will have time for everything… As practice shows, the tactic to stretch the process of obtaining licenses for the last two years of selection – it does not work. You need to start this work now! We need to focus on specific athletes, which was not the case before. We need to identify candidates for Olympic licenses, sparring partners and keep the focus. Of course, a lot can change in four years, but without clear planning we will not realize our tasks.

Previously, a lot of money was allocated for the training of youth, junior staff – we took children in groups of forty to Turkey, and then the Federation did not have enough money to take the main team to the World Cup relay… Still nothing, but then the vast majority of children who were taken to the collection – they are nowhere to be seen or heard! They do not start abroad, often throw triathlon at all. As a result, we were left without young people and without claims for additional Olympic licenses. This can and should be changed!