Valeriy Ashikhmin: "We should never lose optimism and only move forward!"
The International Crossbow Shooting Union is now at a qualitatively new stage in its development and is on the verge of a modernization era. The IAU entered the year of 2020 already having a broad range of experience in holding tournaments, setting high-scores and reaching new achievements. Nevertheless, the organization is not going to stop and sets new ambitious goals! The IAU Secretary General Valeriy Ashikhmin talked about the opening of a second office, expanding borders and plans for future in an exclusive interview.
- Could you, please, share your opinion on how you evaluate the development process of the AU and the crossbow shooting sport itself?
- International Crossbow Shooting Union is dynamically developing and aims to evolve over time. Thus, the rules are being upgraded, qualification courses for judges are held, moreover, new competition formats, tournaments and disciplines are constantly created and even new high-scores are set! Therefore, the 20th World Crossbow Shooting Championship in Match and Field divisions went down in history. This world forum in Ulyanovsk was attended by about 400 athletes from 33 countries and, so, it has become an absolute record of all time of the IAU international tournaments. Once again this proves that crossbow shooting is an interesting sport that attracts more and more followers.
We are definitely always happy to welcome newcomers in our large crossbow family. We now have special competitions for them called “IAU and Friends”.
Speaking about the World Cup final, it is a spectacular tournament, its unique format displays a vivid sports show that is interesting and exciting for both athletes and spectators. This is definitely indicated by the fact that there are no empty seats in the sports venue during these tournaments!
For the first time in history the World Cup final in crossbow shooting Field division, held in Dubrava, was televised in real time. A live television broadcast was available throughout Croatia and online broadcasting was organized for fans from different parts of the world. Moreover, especially for spectators of shooting duels, a visualization program was developed and applied for the first time in the World Cup final! The results of athletes after each shot were immediately displayed on the big screen. Each tournament we receive a lot of positive feedback from the media, and we, in turn, learn how to build reliable long-term partnerships with it.
The new ambassadors from among the athletes and star guests of the tournaments will now help with the further development of the IAU. They will be solemnly awarded with special certificates confirming their honorary status. In addition, the fight for the honorary title "The best shooter of the year" will become much more interesting. During its last meeting, the IAU Executive Committee took the decision to change how rating points work. Starting with the year 2020 and beyond, the athlete rating in Field division will include only the scores of the current season, i.e. just one calendar year! This will undoubtedly increase the level of competitiveness and motivation bringing intrigue to the competition process!
By the way, we are expanding! The second IAU office has opened in Croatia. The new office will become the main branch of the IAU and it will be responsible for all of the international issues and official communication of the organization. The IAU Moscow office does not stop its work and will be serving as an auxiliary function to provide technical support. In other words, we will solve important issues and open new horizons! That is not all of it. Though all the highlighted issues prove that IAU is on the right track we understand that not everything always turns out right, but we should never lose optimism and only move forward!
- Speaking about the unanswered questions so far, which ones can you name at the moment?
- One of the most important unsettled issues is the sponsors. It is necessary to establish relationships with sponsors both at the level of the national federations, which are the parts of the IAU, and at the organization level in its entirety. Regarding this matter we still face some difficulties, though we are looking for proper solutions.
- Could you explain, please, why Croatia has been chosen as the place for opening another IAU office?
- Croatia has always performed perfectly in terms of organizing and conducting major international competitions. The most important thing is that Croatians love crossbow shooting with all their hearts, they value its traditions and have their own rich sports history. In addition, our new office members turned out to be an excellent, young and close-knit team which is able to solve the most important problems. I believe that together we will succeed!
- How do you see the future of the IAU? Please, share with us the future plans and goals.
- Speaking about global plans, our main goal is to enter GAISF. It is an international organization that unites national federations in sport. Once we are in this international convention we’ll be included in the World Games program, which are held every four years like the Olympic Games. To tell the truth, achieving this goal does not seem like something impossible. Even though there are certain rules, selection criteria as well as options for associate membership and presence in observer status we will do everything to accomplish our goal! Therefore, the plan is to actively continue working in increasing the number of member countries of the IAU, expand their presence in Europe, Asia and establish relations with countries in North and South America.