It’s been a big summer for the Belarusian Triathlon Federation; a brand new racing kit, their best ever results, and athletes beginning to make an impression on the International racing stage.
The Federation has been helped by an ETU Development grant and this has allowed them to set targets for the development of their athletes, coaches and the sport of triathlon in the country.
Maria Cherkovskaya-Tarasevich, Secretary General of the Belarus Triathlon Federation, says that getting the right kit for their athletes was one of the most important steps for the Federation.
“We spent part of our grant getting 15 racing suits for our National Team and they were on display at Alanya,” explains Maria.
“It’s very important for every athlete to be recognised by the spectators as a representative of his or her country. These racing suits, in Belarusian national colours, will facilitate the internet or TV audience picking up our athletes and make all Belarusians feel proud for our country.”
Aliaksandr Vasilevich is perhaps the highest profiled Belarusian athlete. As one of the country’s elite athletes, he has been supported by the Federation to allow him to compete more regularly in International events.
Vasilevich (pictured above) finished 27th in Alanya at the European Championships – the country’s best ever result for the European Championships.
He made his breakthrough at the 2011 ETU European Cup in Kupiskis, where he won the first race of his career.
Last weekend, he finished 7th at the ITU European Sprint Cup in Tartu, his highest European finish since that victory in Kupiskis but also his highest position in a stronger, more experienced, International field. Vasilevich’s next outing will be at the ITU World Cup in Tiszaujvaros.
Aliaksandr Dankho is another athlete with which the Federation have great hopes. The ETU sponsored his participation in Alanya, where he was 32nd, and he finished 25th in Tartu.
Whilst Maria says it is vital for athletes to travel and race competitively, their improving performances also help to boost the popularity of the sport in Belarus, helping the domestic race calendar to grow in participants and the number of races on offer.
“Usually we have about 9-10 races per year in Belarus,” she said.
“This year’s calendar includes two aquathlon races, two duathlon and 5 triathlon races of various distances and formats.
“Triathlon races vary from mini-sprints for kids to half-ironman races (pictured below). Our athletes also race at the Baltic Cup races and open championships of Baltic states, such as Lithuania and Latvia. They are our neighbours and travel costs are reasonable.”
As part of their continuing development, both domestically and internationally, two of Belarus’s younger athletes, Aliaksandr Hurinovich and Darya Kimso were chosen by the ETU to take part in the ETU Development Camp currently taking place in Serbia.
With Belarus athletes now looking the part and beginning to compete and make an impression at International races, the Federation’s members have also been making an impression with the European Triathlon family.
Maria was co-opted onto the ETU Development Committee in Alanya, a role she relishes and one which she hopes will give Belarus some standing and a voice amongst the European Federations and Committees.
“I was nominated and co-opted by ETU Board to complete the committee as a women representative,” said Maria.
“I'm really exited about my future work as it a very nice opportunity for Belarus to play a more active role in European triathlon family.
“As a member of the Development Committee, I will work on development projects of different countries which will be implemented within ETU Development Program during next 4 years.”
For more information, visit the Belarus Triathlon Federation page
Picture 1: Aliaksandr Vasilevich racing during the National half-Ironman competition, wearing the new Belarus Triathlon suit
Picture 2: Athletes competing in one of Belarus' biggest races - the half ironman.