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Kazan foil queen: Universiade closely connects Shenzhen and Kazan

2011-08-15 11:07:48 GMT2011-08-15 19:07:48(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

By sportswriter Hu Longjiang

SHENZHEN, China, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Kamilla Gafurzianova, the fresh women's foil champion at Shenzhen Universiade, shed tears when she received an unexpected call right after she stepped down the fencing podium.

The call was from the sports minister of Russian Federation, who congratulated her on her win.

"He said I have brought glory to my hometown, and I am just so excited." said Kamilla, who is from Kazan, the capital of Republic of Tatarstan, Russia and the host city of next Universiade in 2013.

The 23-yeear-old girl seized the gold by defeating favourite Korean Joen Hee Sook, the bronze medalist in 2010 World Foil Championship and the world No. 5 in this event.

Kamilla, who ranks 92nd in the world, fought back from 9-13 to 14-14 and finally hit Joen on her chest and pocketed her first gold by 15-14.

Joen bursted into sad tears and walked out of the audience's sight right away, while Kamilla threw herself into her coach's arms.

"When I won the game, I first thought of my hometown, Kazan," said KamIlla. "I am the pride of Kazan and I will present my gold medal to all the people in Kazan."

Kamilla was born and grew up in Kazan. She started to turn foiling a hobby into a normal training since she was 12, and then turned it almost a profession in 2009, when she was selected as a member of Russian national foil team.

"It's extremely complicated for one to enter the national team. There is a special selection system, through which you have to undergo many many competitions and earn enough points," she said. "But that really changed my life."

The same year, she finished ninth in European Championships and clinched a silver with her teammates in World Foil Championships.

"She is not the strongest in all the athletes, but she is the hardest and most potential one," said Kamilla's coach Ildar Shaymardanov.

Shaymardanov, who is also one of the officials of the 2013 Kazan Universiade Organizing Committee, took 24 fencers to compete in Shenzhen. He said he came here not only for good results but also for learning from Shenzhen in hosting such a perfect Universiade.

"Everyone in the Russian delegation thinks Shenzhen has done a great job. From my first day here, I found that everything is organized so perfect without any problem," he said. "If you ask how we hold the 2013 Kazan Univerisade? We just need to look how Shenzhen did."

Different from the aggressiveness in competition, Kamilla was a "too quiet person" in life. "Except foiling, reading books is my favorite," said Kamilla.

She is now a undergraduate in Moscow State University of Railway Engineering, majoring in sport management.

"It's very hard for me to balance my study and training. I often practise foiling for at least six hours a day and have to study late at night or evening," she said.

She hoped to become a world-level foil player, and when she retires, she will be engaged in "work concerning sport management."

"I am impressed that Shenzhen is holding such a high-level Universiade, the perfect organization, the (emphasis on) friendship. I really hope 2013 Kazan Universiade will be mentioned in the same breath," she said.

She may visit "the window of the world", a hot tourist destination in Shenzhen, during her 12-day stay in Shenzhen.

Eight days later, Kazan will take the event's flag from Shenzhen.

She said Shenzhen and Kazan has been closely connected because of Universiade. "I would be happy if I am chosen as the friendship ambassador of the two cities, and I will take my good luck here and the blessing of Shenzhen people bcak home," she said.

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