18.05.2008 12:23
Veronika Shatkova was our choreographer and quite a strict mentor. I remember her first class because they threw me out… It was actually quite difficult and unfamiliar for me at the beginning in Novogorsk (which is where our sports base was). After all, I was still small, and didn’t know the teachers or what they expected of me. I was given a very short introduction to Vera Shatkova – “This is your choreographer, come tomorrow to choreography”. At the very first session I stood next to a girl I knew – Larisa Kharchenko - (she was also from Tashkent) and she whispered into my ear what I had to do. And Veronika though we were talking. She said “So you’re having a conversation! – right then, get out of the hall!” And she threw me out. I was really afraid and thought that was it – the end. I thought they wouldn’t let me stay; they’d call me an ungrateful child who didn’t listen to anyone and tell me leave. But Irina Viner came over – I was sitting outside the door of the gym – and asked what I was doing. I told her I’d been thrown out of the choreography class. “But why are you sitting around here?”, she asked. “It’s cold, you’ll freeze. Come into the trainer’s room”. It was so unexpected I didn’t know what to say, but I was really pleased they weren’t throwing me out. Although that first lesson was not a success, my relationship with Veronika Shatkova quickly improved. I really loved going to her classes - they really did teach me a lot. Veronika taught us, her students, a sense of rhythm, how to listen to music, and she was the one who showed me how to be graceful in my movements.
24.04.2008 17:05
When Mum and I got to Moscow we reported straight away to Irina Alexandrovna Viner. But at first she didn’t even want to see me, because she’d found out that I was 12 years old, which was a bit too old for rhythmic gymnastics. But Mum insisted that she watch me perform in the hall, and Viner eventually agreed.

And so I began practising, performing various elements and jumping all over the place. And incidentally there were some girls in the hall who were members of the Russian team – real stars, you could say. But I was used to always having lots of girls in the hall, so I did what I’d come to do, tried very hard, and didn’t even notice when they started gathering around to watch me. Irina Alexandrovna came over, took a look at how I was performing and asked me if I knew how to smile. I said I did, and she told me to smile and repeat my jumps. So I started again, and at one point jumped so high that I got scared and thought “Good heavens, how did I manage to get up so high that my legs are going down but haven’t hit the floor yet?” Everyone was struck dumb. Viner took me by the hand, led me over to the Russian team’s chief trainer and said “Just look at this astonishing child! How flexible, and how she jumps!” And she kept me on and told Mum to leave and not to come back for three days. The training base was outside Moscow, in Novogorsk, and Mum could barely stop herself from coming back and taking me away from there. That’s how my sporting career began in Moscow.

Irina Alexandrovna is a very high-class trainer. In fact, I would say that the Russian school is one of the best and this is largely thanks to Irina Alexandrovna Viner. She throws herself heart and soul into her work, gives the girls everything she’s got. Sometimes she describes gymnastics as her hobby, but in fact it’s her life’s work. She feels very closely what her trainees are experiencing and knows exactly when to push them a bit harder and when to stop. Sometimes she can be strict and she can even raise her voice, but always in a professional way. I owe her so much. It was she who made a champion of me, who gave me confidence in myself and a belief that I could achieve great things. At the same time Irina’s very human. She won’t force you to practise for no reason. She really feels the girls well. For example, once before the European Championship she sent me on holiday to Turkey for a whole 10 days and told me I wasn’t to practise at all.
29.03.2008 17:04
When I started training in Moscow it was under Vera Nikolaevna – she was Irina Viner’s right hand.

Vera Nikolaevna and I developed a very good relationship, and not only at the professional level. I could share my problems with her and she knew how to console me and give good advice. To be honest, I haven’t seen that level of trust in a relationship in any other type of sport.
28.03.2008 17:02
Aneliya Andreevna trained me in Tashkent before I moved to Kazakhstan, and then, when I returned, I went back to her. I love her a lot: she put in so much effort to make a real gymnast out of me.

I used to travel a lot with her to competitions. I think she was the first to see that I had what it took to become a good gymnast. At that difficult moment when my family was faced with the hard choice of whether to leave the country or continue with sport it was Aneliya Andreevna who advised me to go and show Viner what I could do: “If you really have talent, Viner is bound to take you on and then you should continue with your gymnastics”.
21.02.2008 17:01
Before I started school – I was probably six or seven – we had a wonderful trainer called Elvira Tarasovna Romeyko.

It was thanks to her that I got into good physical shape – which is actually the foundation that I stand on to this day. But I didn’t spend much time with her before moving to another trainer… And then we moved to Kazakhstan, where I was trained by Larisa Nikitina. I’m grateful to her, too. She taught me well.
20.02.2008 16:57
My very first trainer was Margarita Samuilovna. That was in Tashkent, and I had just turned three when Margarita Samuilovna accepted me for the rhythmic gymnastics club. She trained us children really well: mostly playing, organizing relay games and incorporating elements of gymnastics in those relays.

That was very wise, because children really love to play. I’m grateful to Margarita Samuilovna, because she’s the lady who gave me my love for this sport.
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