The Mongolian bandy team, which won bronze medal at the 2017 Bandy World Championship held in Sweden from January 24 to29, returned home on February 1. Upon arrival, the team met with Head of Physical Culture and Sports Authority Ts.Sharavjamts.
The Physical Culture and Sports Authority congratulated the bandy team for winning a bronze medal at the Bandy World Championship, which is the first medal captured by Mongolia. Ts.Sharavjamts said that the Mongolian bandy team will compete in the 2017 Asian Winter Games, which will be held in Sapporo, Japan from February 19 to 26, and expressed his readiness to support the team.
National hockey and bandy team coach A.Mergen gave an interview during the meeting.
Congratulations on winning a bronze medal. The Mongolian team also won four bronze medals from the Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia. The bronze medal seems to come to Mongolia often.
Yes, I think the bronze medal loves us. Our team has been competing in the Bandy World Championship since 2006. This year, we reached our goal and claimed a bronze medal. I am very excited and proud of my team. We are still pursuing this sport even if the state doesn’t support us. There were times when we wanted to give up, but since we have already chosen this sport, we will pursue it until the end.
The bronze medal is nice because we earned it after winning against a team. I feel pity for my athletes when they compete in a tournament and return without a medal. They sacrificed a lot of things. Words can’t even describe how hard they worked.
We did it this year.
Mongolia played against Japan for the bronze medal. Were you feeling confident?
Yes, we were. Athletes’ psychology is very important in team sports. We played against Japan for bronze and won 6:5. I was very excited at that moment. I cried. This achievement is the result of our hard work.
I want to express my gratitude to president of the Mongolian Ice Hockey Federation D.Davaasambuu, vice presidents Javkhlan and Batbaatar, and ice hockey enthusiasts.
In the semi-final, Mongolia lost to Canada. Did you have a chance to win?
The world can’t imagine Canada without ice hockey, the same way we can’t imagine Mongolia without traditional wrestling. There are over 3,000 professional players and 2,700 ice sports facilities in Canada. It was an honor to compete against Canada.
Ice hockey development and training in Mongolia and Canada are so different, like the gap between the sky and the earth. I think we might have had a chance to win because we lost only one point to Canada.
The Mongolian team went to Irkutsk, Russia by car and flew from Irkutsk to Sweden in order to save money. That was risky because your car might have broken and you could have missed the tournament. Who made this decision?
We didn’t have enough money to fly to Sweden. We thought about a lot of ways to go there and the last choice was by car. Our team has 24 players. We drove to Irkutsk and flew to Sweden from there.
We didn’t face any barriers or obstacles while driving to Irkutsk. It is 1,024 km from Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk. We drove for three days.
How did you prepare for the tournament?
It is hard to train in Mongolia because Mongolia doesn’t have any ice sports facilities for winter sports athletes. If we had an ice sports facility, we could do our training there and reach success in many international tournaments.
We prepared for the tournament for 10 days at an ice rink in 15th khoroolol.
There were three foreign players in the Mongolian team. I think that influenced the success of the team. How did you find them?
The Federation of International Bandy allows teams to have up to three foreign players in the Bandy World Championship. I tried to find foreign players for the Mongolian team and learn from them. That’s how I found three Russian players: Roman, Igor and Rodionov.
They were very good and helped us win a bronze medal. The team from Sweden offered Ra-
dionov a place in their team.
How much did it cost to have foreign players on the team?
I don’t want to talk about that. We did everything to succeed at the Bandy World Championship, and promote Mongolia to the world.
Did you exchange ideas on building an ice sports facility with other non-winter sports federations?
Yes, we always talk about that. Foreign experts said that the Mongolian team is good. If we had an ice sports facility, we would be more successful.
If the state builds an ice sports facility, other winter sports will develop in Mongolia too. We need ice sports facilities more than prizes.