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12 Июля 2019 / Family of champions

Family of champions

15-year-old Alexander Ten literally burst into triathlon, in less than two months winning three major competitions in a row: the championships of Kazakhstan, Asia and Central Asia. But if success in Kapshagay was, let's say, a pleasant surprise, then the victory at Gyeongju in Korea had the was a bombshell! And the recent easy gold in Cholpon-Ata only confirmed our assumptions: a new star of triathlon is growing up in Kazakhstan.
So where did this promising triathlete come from?


“From rugby,” responds the young champion, who has just returned from the Central Asian Triathlon Championship, modestly.  “I enjoyed playing rugby with and didn't think of moving on from that. But a year ago, my father suggested that I try myself in a triathlon. I passed selection in Almaty. Took first place. I liked it. It was just like that…


- ... And a year later you immediately won the Asian Championship ... Did you expect such rapid progress from yourself?


- I trained a lot. My trainer Maxim Mazur said that I was ready. And I thought: if he's taking me to the Asian Championship, it means that I’m really ready. I went the distance - and everything worked out.


- So, the Koreans and the Japanese - the leaders in Asian triathlon - are still shocked by how they were robbed of victory. How did you manage that? What stage was the magic moment for you?


- My swimming, to be honest, is not very good. But I almost kept up with the front pack. On the bike I caught up the Korean and an athlete from Hong Kong. It was comfortable to ride alongside them. We ran together too. But at the finish I overtook the Korean.


- What did your coach say to you after the finish?


- He praised me: “Well done! I'm proud of you. But this is not your limit. We will still train. And you still have many achievements ahead. ”


- What are you aiming for?


- For now I have one goal - to do triathlon professionally and do everything the coach asks me to do. He has big plans for me. After all, I haven't really achieved anything. I'm competing as a junior, competing with other 15-year-olds in the super-sprint. Now I will move on to the sprint, then to the “olympic” distance. Everything has to be done incrementally …

 

Interestingly, Alexander's parents were famous athletes. Valikhan Ten is a multiple champion of Asia, Europe and the World in powerlifting, the champion of Kazakhstan in bodybuilding, and is now a member of the board of trustees of the Almaty Triathlon Federation, and the general director of the United MMA Federation of Kazakhstan.


Olga Ten (née Sokomnin) — is Master of Sports in gymnastics, bronze medalist at the Asian Championships in the uneven bars and vault, winner of the Kazakhstan Cup, International Master of Sports of in curling, and a participant in the World, European and Asian Championships.

 

It would seem that his parents have achieved a lot in sports, but their son's victory simply inspired them... 


“Frankly, I burst into tears of happiness when the secretary general of the Kazakhstan Triathlon Federation, Maxim Kryat, told me by telephone about my son’s victory in Korea,” said Valihan Ten. “I never had such emotions when I won something myself. I won and forgot about it in a day. And I will never forget this victory of Sasha's in Gyeongju. Did I expect it? Yes. I’m not only the father of Alexander Ten, but also a member of the board of trustees of the Almaty Triathlon Federation, so I see him as an athlete first and foremost. When he won by such a huge margin at the Kazakhstan Championship, I realized: he now has no equal in his age category. When there was a question about my son going to the Asian Championship, I said to Kryat: “Maxim, I’m sure Sasha will not let you down”.


According to Olga Ten, Sasha is a very disciplined and hardworking guy. He understands that in order to achieve something in sports, you need to listen to the coach. When the coach says “swim”, he will swim until he completes the task.


“From early childhood I drove him to every kind of training, I was afraid that she would not have time to try something,” laughs Olga.

“Gymnastics understandably that's not up for discussion in our family. It helps for any sport. But Sasha was also involved in skating, football, swimming, karate, diving, athletics, rugby ... And everywhere he did well. For example, he  started running - he won the city championship for his age and went to the Kazakhstan championship, where he became a prize winner. In rugby, he was the captain of the team ... Sometimes he was competing in several sports at the same time. But when it came time to choose, he firmly settled on triathlon. I always watched all his performances and dreamed of his victories. And this picture, painted by me, came true. I myself, honestly could have achieved more in gymnastics, but did not fully realize my potential. But now I am extremely happy!”


By the way, two more athletes are growing up in the Ten sports family. Ten-year-old Arlan is number two the country in rugby, captain of the Almaty “Aziasport” team. He's also trying out triathlon ... Seven-year-old Aylin is still choosing – gymnastics, dancing, piano ... According to her parents, she really loves to perform.


And yet they say that nature takes a break for the children of champions…


- “As for genetics, it’s all from Oli. I am not naturally gifted genetically,” says Valikhan. “I've done sports all my life, but I achieved some success only in adulthood. And sport in its pure form was not a priority for me, it was a hobby ... Our children, especially the boys, I feel, will achieve much more in sports. They have the main thing they need - character!

- 'Whose, I wonder: mother or father?' - I ask out loud to Valikhan.

- “The youngest's character, like mine, is explosive. Arlan is emotional, sometimes he can be offended, get touchy. He likes to be in command. He's a warrior. The older one is calm, balanced, like Olga. He likes to do everything in order. Sasha is a good performer. No wonder that coaches love him so much. He also has dreams, but they are thought through. Both sons are promising in terms of sport. I also enjoy triathlon. But they are already overtaking me (laughs). I am sure we will all be proud of them.”


Alexander Trofimov, photo by Roman Egorov and from almatytriathlon.org, (https://time.kz/articles/sport/2019/07/03/semya-chempionov)

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