Elizaveta Nugumanova: “It’s a shame that I was third among the senior girls at the Russian Nationals but didn’t go to Worlds because of the federation.”
Elizaveta Nugumanova about not being selected for the World Championships 2021 and motivation to continue skating and represent Russia.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 15th November, 2021 by Rustam Imamov
Last season, a new hero appeared among Russian best skaters – 18-year-old figure skater from St. Petersburg Elizaveta Nugumanova. Elizaveta successfully performed first at the stages of the Russian Cup, then at the Russian Grand Prix, and then became the third at the Russian Nationals, if we take into account only athletes over 15 years old.
The figure skater was included in the reserve of the national team and had to be sent to the European Championships in Zagreb, but the European Championships was canceled. Her readiness for the World Championships caused some doubts among the officials from the Russian Figure Skating Federation, who, as a result, decided to give the third spot to Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. Nugumanova still disagrees with this decision, appealing to the internal regulations and rules of the FFKKR itself.
Not everything turned out this time. In general, how would you assess your performance at the Russian Cup, your current shape?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: In fact, everything is not very bad. Only combination didn’t turn out in the short program. To be honest, I was very upset. It seemed that before that everything worked out, I was ready. And then such a failure. In the free skate, I did almost everything, I am very pleased with my performance. I’m even very happy, I haven’t had such skates lately. Much better than in training. I only doubled the flip, but this is no longer so important. So in general I am satisfied with myself. Everything is fine.
You also didn’t succeed in the short program at the previous stage of the Russian Cup in Sochi. What is the reason? Nerves, system error?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: My back ached very badly and it still hurts. The mistakes here in the short program are largely connected with these problems. It happens that something hurts in your back and it is impossible to train. And you can’t explain how it works. It happens that you walk for a couple of days, and everything is fine, nothing hurts. And then you go on the ice, and everything hurts right away. It hurts, it doesn’t hurt. In Sochi, the pain was indescribable, that’s why the performances turned out like that. There are still problems with the back, so it is not always possible to show the maximum.
Because of the health problems, do you lower the bar of requirements for yourself, or do you always need to fight, despite the circumstances?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I skate for the sake of my loved ones. For those to whom I am dear and who are dear to me. My mother, my whole family always watch my performances. And even if something doesn’t work out, I don’t really think about the goals, specific tasks. I just skate, try to please the people who are important to me. I skate for myself, for people who love me, who watch all my performances, write on Instagram, cheer for me. This is very motivating to fight further, and I do not pressure myself with unnecessary demands. I do what I like and what others like.
Over the past year, you fan base have noticeably increased, have you noticed that?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Of course. And it’s great when people support – it’s always easier to go and skate a program at a competitions.
After your performance in Kazan, young figure skaters often came up to you. Is it nice to see that kind of attention?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: There are a lot of children who like my skating. And when they come up for a photo or autograph, it’s always very nice.
If you are asked to give a little advice to a young skater, what will be the main one?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Do not worry and do your job well. Calmly. Most often they ask how to prepare for competitions.
You are now in the reserve of the Russian national team. How can they reach the same level?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I think you just need to work. Live by your purpose, live by figure skating. Live with a dream, as it was with me. I dreamed of getting into the national team, and my dream came true. So live every day and set yourself up to the fulfillment of your dreams, that you will succeed. Then there will definitely be success.
Judging by the last season, you definitely deserved at least one Grand Prix. But in the end this did not happen, and you are here – at the Russian Cup. Are you very upset?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I was very upset. And now I am upset that I took fifth place in Kazan. I always get upset when I can’t do it … More precisely, I show good skating, I think I should be happy! But no. I do it, but it doesn’t enough for medals … It’s a shame that last year I was third among the senior girls at the Russian Nationals and didn’t go to the World Championships. We have always had and still have a rule that the national championships is a qualifying competition for the most important international events. And I was the third there, but did not go to Stockholm. How should I react to this? Of course, it’s very disappointing. It seems that I skate well, but to no avail. …
Then what motivates you to continue at all?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Perhaps, I’m too positive person. And I continue to skate, although I remain outside the number of contenders. I myself cannot understand where and how I find motivation to fight, train. But, apparently, this comes from a great love for sports. I devoted my whole life to this sport. Therefore, I continue to skate. And I show decent skating.
Decent, but, alas, not enough for prize winning places. The level of competition in women’s singles is incredible!
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I won’t argue with that. 13-14 years old girls compete against me, for whom it is much easier to jump. But I do not despair.
Let’s go back to the last Russian Nationals and your third place among seniors. If the European Championships had been held, then you definitely would have gone there. Is it a shame that the pandemic ruined these plans?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: So, in fact, I 100% should have participated in the World Championships, if we judge by the rules of our federation. There are rules – the top three from the Russian Nationals always goes to the European Championships and the World Championships. But, apparently, these rules do not concern me.
In addition to the official rules, there are still not quite official ones.
Elizaveta Nugumanova: And it’s a pity that there is such a thing in sports. It upsets me insanely. I try not to talk about it, but last season was hard for me. I cried, I could not accept it. What is beyond social media – it’s another story. I allow myself to show emotions only at home, behind closed doors. Nobody sees this, nobody hears me talking to my mother on the phone after the competition …
Have you tried together with your coach to contact the representatives of the federation for clarification?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: But does it make sense? I don’t really want to even talk about it now.
You continue to fight, while two other Russian girls gave up and decided to go to train abroad. How did you take this news?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Masha Talalaikina is my best friend. My only friend in sports who has stayed with me for such a long time. We always support each other, I hope she succeeds. Once she made such a decision, then let everything work out for her (Maria Talalaikina decided to switch sport citizenships and represent Italy). Unfortunately, not everything is so simple, and there are problems with the transition. But I hope everything will be resolved as soon as possible.
That is, the transition has not yet been completed?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Yeah. And they haven’t done it yet. There is opposition to her decision. I hope that since she has decided to move, then she will succeed.
How does she explain her decision?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: We do not discuss this topic with her. We have a thousand topics that we can discuss. We did not discuss the change of citizenship. This is her decision, her choice, and I respect it. And, as a friend, I will always support her.
Have you ever considered such a step for yourself?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: No, not an option. I have always skates and will continue to skate for Russia. This is my homeland, I love Russia very much, we have the best country. I will compete for the country where I live, where I was born. No matter how hard it is, I still go and skate. There are very few girls left who skate at this age. Since junior age I have been in the elite of figure skating. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to achieve more. But that’s ok.
Maybe everything is still ahead? Tuktamysheva at the age of 23 mastered a quadruple, so not everything is not lost.
Elizaveta Nugumanova: May be so. I hope that someday everything will be fine in my life, I will live in peace. Because with this figure skating it is no longer possible to live peacefully. No way.
What plans do you see for yourself in the future?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: It’s hard to say, I don’t even know. There are a lot of problems that no one knows about yet. I’ll explain to my fans soon on Instagram. And people will find out a lot for themselves.
What are your chances to qualify for the Russian Nationals now?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: It’s even funny for me to think about it. What are my chances to qualify for the Nationals? After being in the top three … I don’t know at all, I didn’t count the points. And even thinking about it is very hard. When everything goes against you like that. Obviously, it was not possible to skate well in Sochi. It’s just that no one sees, does not know all the problems, I am not talking about them. And if you say – ill-wishers immediately start to answer.
Recently, Alexander Zhulin suggested adding points for age to adult figure skaters. What do you think about this idea?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I am for it! Cool proposal, if I decided something, I would accept it.
And how to arrange it, an increase in components?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Bonuses like at the Russian Cup. Let’s say 10 bonus points, why not? Then it would be possible to fight. Because it is very disappointing to see how you leave the elite.
Another suggestion for solving the problem of the age minimum is to divide the competition into technical and artistic. That is, for example Samodelkina wins in technique and you are given gold for the best skating. Is this an adequate idea?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Perhaps it’s really not bad. Many people enjoy mature skating. Some people like jumping more. Perhaps it is fair to give equal chances to everyone. If there are two sets of medals, why not? I try to bet on presentation. I present the program well, I work on the second mark. There are very few skaters who can combine both technical and artistic components at the same time.
Kamila Valieva is an exception to the rule?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I really like Kamila. She has soft hands, ballet skills. Perhaps she really is the very exception. She always tries to show a holistic program, so she has a great future.
There were hopes for Alena Kostornaia as an example of an equally gifted athlete both in technique and in presentation, but now she is going through not the best stage of her career.
Elizaveta Nugumanova: Why? She skates fine. It is impossible to always win. I like all the girls, I try to be friends with everyone. And I see their great work.
What do you think about Loena Hendrickx? Many are impressed after the Italian Grand Prix.
Elizaveta Nugumanova: She’s very cool. And the program is cool, and the skating. It is immediately obvious that she is a woman, not a child and Loena shows this perfectly on the ice.
Are you going to watch the main competitions of this season?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I try to watch all the competitions. I sit at home in front of the TV, I’m curious. But sometimes it is very sad and hurts that you are at home and not there.
Did you watch last year’s World Championships with special sadness?
Elizaveta Nugumanova: I didn’t watch it. Only men. This is the most painful topic for me, which I still cannot let go.
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