Olafs Kludzins

15 march 2014

Probably a lot of people have already noticed that “KALEVALA” broadens its geography in regards to the participants and the staff of the race. So is the Assistant of Race Marshall Olafs Kludzins, who came to Russia from Latvia. And as he speaks Russian really well, by no means we could have let go the opportunity to talk to him and ask him all our questions.

- Olafs, how did it happen that you became an Assistant of Race Marshall on the race “KALEVALA”?

- KALEVALA team called me and offered to take part in it. The format of the race with autonomic stages got me interested. I didn’t deliberate and just said: why not?

- Have you ever been to Russia before? And what impressions do you have about the township Kalevala?

- Yes, I’ve already been to Russia, but it’s my first time in Kalevala. When I was going here I’ve already been acquainted with your country, that’s why the township wasn’t something new to me. Yes, it is situated a little far from civilization but in Europe such things happen too, for instance, in Norway. Overall, I like it here. If not for the roads, I’d be happy to come here and make a stay.

- Have you tried yourself in the sleddog sport?

- Yes, I have. I have a dog and I did skijoring with it and in summer, when there is no snow, I did bikejoring. But it wasn’t because of the love to the sport. My wife wanted to have a dog and we took Siberian Husky, which needs a lot of training.

- And how did you become a judge?

- There is a stereotype that those who can’t get high results in sport become judges. I think it is so. I wasn’t claiming to the high results, but sometimes I had them.

- How did your organizer’s career started?

- Coincidentally, in the time when my wife and I took the dog and started thinking what to do with it, the sleddog sport started developing in Latvia. We found like-minded people, trails and disciplines that we wanted to try ourselves in. The first races we held ourselves and of course we had to both organize and judge them. At that time we learned on our mistakes and gained a lot of experience in everything. Later we created The Sled dog Sport Club and after that The Federation of Sled dog Sport.

- What gives you the most joy: taking part in races as a sportsman or as a judge?

- As it happens, I like the organizing part more. I feel myself more comfortable in it, but I still have plans to train with my dog.

- How close is your cooperation with the participants of the race?

- It is quite close. The judge’s mission is not to disqualify, be harsh and bad. It is enough to look after everyone, to have an order. So the judge must help and explain. But there must be some distance, I think.

- Are you an unprejudiced judge or you have favourites among the participants?

- Yes, I have, but that has no affect on the results. I respect people that work hard, whose dogs are listening to them. It is a huge work. I also like positive people, for example, Aleksei Kovalev. He always smiles whether he is at the beginning or at the end of the race.

- Do the races in Russia differ from those held in Europe?

- All races are different and each one opens something new. There is more competition in Russia. Every race has it, but just among Russian sportsman you do feel this competitive spirit. As the Race Marshall says: “A man is very nice, but when he puts on the participant’s number he changes instantly”.

Olafs, thank you for the nice talk. We hope that the good memories of the race “KALEVALA” will be with you for a long time.