Olympic Committee president quells rumors

  • 2005-12-21
  • From wire reports
RIGA - Jelena Rublevska, Latvia's Olympic pentathlon silver medalist, will not represent Russia in future international competitions despite what she told the press, said the president of Latvia's Olympic Commit-tee.
Aldonis Vrublevskis told the Baltic News Service on Dec. 16 that the athlete was influenced by her emotions when mentioning the possibility of competing for Russia - a possibility that, Vrublevskis asserts, will not come true.

Essentially, the issue comes down to athletes' bi-annual bonuses, the president explained. Although athletes received maximum sums for the first half of the year, there was not enough money in the second half to pay out bonuses in full.

"Yesterday [Dec. 15], at the national sports council meeting, the government was asked to change the system," Vrublevskis said. "It would be right to review all results at the end of the year and distribute the money fairly."

He agreed that training conditions in certain sports, such as running, fencing and riding, were inadequate in Latvia.

Janis Liepins, vice president of Latvia's pentathlon federation, also said that Rublevska would not represent Russia. "I am concerned about the future. The best coach receives half of what he has earned," he said, commenting on the problem of bonuses.

This month, the Latvian government awarded athletes for their achievements, but bonuses to most of the country's elite athletes fell short.

Rublevska, for example, received 3,000 lats (4,269 euros) for her third place finish in the world championships - out of the maximum bonus of 5,000 lats. Gymnast Jevgenijs Sapronenko took first place in the European championships this year: he received a bonus of 3,750 lats out of the possible 10,000 lats. Weight lifting champion Viktors Scerbatihs received 4,500 lats for an achievement of the same level.

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with the daily Neatkariga Rita Avize, Rublevska criticized Latvia's poor training conditions, along with the government's attitude toward sports.

"I do not deny that I had a proposal to represent Russia," she said. "I did not receive the offer yesterday or a week ago, but almost two years ago. I am going to Moscow for a competition on Dec. 18 and most probably will start considering the possibility to accept their proposal more seriously."