KRISTIANSAND (VG) Anna Vjakhireva (27) stated that she is a handball player and not a politician. For this reason will not comment on the war in Ukraine.
We walked her along what she had no idea of the “soft coastline”, because she had not yet had time to learn so much Norwegian.
Snakes in Kristiansand did a thorough job before being brought to Norway. Putin’s war required it. They spoke to their sponsors, to politicians, to the Handball Federation, the Sports Federation and others – and received a positive response to bring in one of the best handball players in the world.
Even the head of the Helsinki Committee, Berit Lindemann, had put his seal of approval on Vjakhireva’s signature. She believes that a clear distinction must be made between ordinary Russians and the Putin regime.
However, her longtime coach in the national team, Yevgeny Trifilov, did not like her. According to the TASS news agency, Trifilov said that the transfer of the star “looks ugly” in the current situation.
– How is your relationship with Trifilov?
– How do I say it? no relation ship.
– What you mean?
– I’m not talking to Trifilov. But this does not bother me.
On the other hand, the head of Russian handball, Kremlin friend Sergei Shishkarev, gave Vyachereva the green light to move to Norway.
– Yes, he supported me, she says.
– So did family, close friends, and most of the handball family in Russia.
Trifilov has almost divine status in Russian sports. But Vgajireva did as well. He was the coach and she was the best player when Russia won the Olympic gold in Rio in 2016. Handball was suddenly on the lips of the Russians.
After that, the two and the rest of the team were honored by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, as were all the other Olympic winners.
Vipers won the Champions League for the second time in a row this summer. Since then, coach Ole Gustaf Gekstad has lost both Nora Mork and Isabel Goldin. Anna Vgajireva is a good alternative.
Gekstad admits they were prepared for the negative reactions to the inclusion of a Russian player, but things went well.
Here’s our tip for the 2022/23 Elite Series:
This is how the Elite Handball Series ends: – It was never exciting
The handball season is about to begin, and there are an unusually large number of questions.
– It was mostly positive. There are individuals who did not like it, but among sponsors, the media, and others, it went very well. We might have expected more feedback.
We sat in the cafe next to Vjakhireva’s new workplace, the gym at Aquarama. She only has black coffee and apologizes by saying “it was brunch”.
– I was well received in Norway. People are hospitable. In all of the girls on the team. I haven’t had time to get to know a lot of others yet.
She was born in Volgograd (famous for the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II), but the family moved early to the motor city of Togliatti. She comes to Kristiansand from Rostov, not too far from the Ukrainian border. Before that, she played for the club in Astrakhan – and Zvenigorod was her first stop as a big player.
– Dad was a handball coach all the time, so we moved a lot. He was never a great player, but he is a very good coach.
Sister Polina Kuznetsova is 35 years old and still plays for Rostov, where Anna Vgaghireva also played with Catherine Lundy.
– Was she the one who convinced you to go to the snakes? By the way – should I say “you” or “they”?
– We are happy to say “You”! Catherine didn’t convince me, but we talked before moving on, yeah.
Is the 2016 Olympic gold medal the biggest of your career?
– Rio, of course, was great, and so was the Tokyo Olympics. Silver there meant a lot to us. Hope there are more medals!
Why did you choose to move to Norway?
The important thing for me was handball in the first place. I love the country, I love the way Snakes play handball. Norway is one of the capitals of women’s handball. And I wanted to try something new.
– Surely you could have earned more elsewhere?
– yes! I definitely didn’t come here for the money.
Romanian version of Eurosport She wrote in June that she was offered €20,000 – more than NOK 207,000 – a month to play for CSM Bucharest, or just under NOK 2.5 million a year.
Anna Vgajireva was bored after the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Therefore, she put handball on the shelf.
– I was mentally and physically exhausted. I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought I would give up forever. Actually already in 2020, but then the Olympics was postponed for a year and I managed to do it for another year of my own free will. But then I started training again in January of this year, and I knew I was eager to get back into handball. And since March the matches have been played again.
– And now?
– Now I really enjoy handball. I don’t know how long I will play.
– what happened?
– I’ve worked a lot with a psychologist and have found a better balance between handball and the rest of my life.
What is your impression of Ole Gustav Gekstad as a coach?
– Very positive. I feel like he loves working with professional people.
We start talking about the war in Ukraine. It is clear that Anna Vgajireva will not comment on this.
– I won’t answer questions about that.
– Because you are a handball player and not a politician?
– Of course that’s why! And because I can’t. It will not be now.
– Do you have relatives in Ukraine?
– I don’t know that actually.
She signed a one-year contract with Vipers, but she does not rule out that the contract will be longer.
– Everything looks so good now. You should never say never.
– What distinguishes Russian and Norwegian women?
– I don’t know much about Norwegian women yet, but…
Vjakhireva thought about it for a long time.
– I didn’t think about it much. But here on the team, I don’t see much of a difference. Here I am surrounded by good, independent and goal-oriented women. I only knew Catherine before, but everyone helps me very well. I am lucky.
– What do you think of gender equality in Norway?
– I’ve never felt persecuted anywhere. But I guess Norwegian women work a lot more than men? Maybe they earn more too?
We have to disappoint her by answering that the latter is “no.”
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