“Russia has lost a talented racer.” World Cup medalist left for Israel to save his career
The strongest cyclist in our country is already photographed in the form of the Israeli national team and is waiting for a new passport.
Russian cyclist, world championship medalist, record holder Mikhail Yakovlev left for Israel and is going to change sports citizenship. The athlete has already notified the Russian Cycling Federation of his intention. It is reported that Yakovlev received an Israeli passport in early August, and he will be able to play for the team of this country from 2023.
Alas, Russia has lost a great athlete.
“The only thing left to do is regret”
“Mikhail notified me of his intention to change sports citizenship. Now he is in Israel. We are losing a very talented racer, we can only regret it. In the current situation, he made a choice for himself, ”Match TV quotes Vyacheslav Ekimov, President of the FVSR.
Mikhail already shares photos from Tel Aviv in his social networks. On them, the athlete poses in the overalls of the Israeli team.
Photo: From the personal archive of the cyclist
Recall that in 2021, Yakovlev won bronze in keirin at the World Championships in cycling track in Roubaix, he also became the third at the European Championships in Grenchen, Switzerland. Mikhail holds the world record in the 200-meter round from the move, which he set at the Moscow Grand Prix of cycling in May 2022 – he covered the distance in 9.099 seconds.
“One of the strongest in the world”
The head coach of the Russian national track cycling team, Sergei Kovpanets, called Yakovlev one of the strongest sprinters in the world and said that the athlete would be able to compete for Israel only from next year:
“Mikhail did not tell me about the decision to change citizenship, he put our president Vyacheslav Ekimov up to date just recently. Judging by social media, he’s already there. I am upset, there is a feeling of great regret. Mikhail has already received an Israeli passport, he is applying to the International Cycling Union for a change of sports citizenship. Now the process is a bit faster. He will miss the European and World Championships this year, and next year he will be able to play for the Israeli team.
He will stop working with personal trainer Oleg Logunov, who is in Russia. This is Michael’s own choice. He showed certain results, became the winner of the World Championship, won youth competitions. Now this is one of the strongest sprinters in the world, ”TASS quotes the coach.
“I like to compete with a competitor”
It is hardly worth condemning a talented athlete for the decision to change sports citizenship. The 21-year-old athlete has every chance to continue to win on the world stage and show good results there. After all, as Sergei Kovpanets said, there is no opportunity for a Russian to speak even in a neutral status:
“I know that Misha tried to enter the competition in neutral status individually, but he was not answered. This certainly also affected, ”Kovpanets told Match TV.
Unfortunately, now that almost all Russians are banned from international sports, many young athletes are really thinking about changing their citizenship in order to compete with the strongest athletes in world competitions.
“I like to compete with a competitor, not fight against time,” Yakovlev told Match TV after his successful debut at the World Championships. Alas, in the current situation, the Russian athlete has a chance for such a fight only after obtaining the citizenship of another country.