Midseason. HC CSKA. Karina Sabirova: "I was surprised when they appointed me the captain of the team, not Polina Gorshkova"

29 July 2022
New Russian vice-champion 2021/22 captain said in an exclusive interview to Handballfast about the meaning of this role to her and how HC CSKA is getting prepared for the season. On vacation Karina Sabirova managed to visit the UAE with Tonya Skorobogatchenko and Belarus at Karina Yezhikova’s wedding… And according to her words, she really misses handball. 
 — Are you surprised by your appointment as a captain?
 — Yes, the decision was announced today. The head coach Olga Akopyan and her staff made the decision during the training camp in Kislovodsk, tomorrow we finish it. Of course, I agreed, although being surprised. I would like to thank for the trust.  
I supposed Polina Gorshkova to be the captain. But she is recovering after operation, maybe that is the reason…
I have already been in that role in youth team with Vyacheslav Kirilenko and at the beginning of career in Astrakhanochka farm club as well. 
Katya Ilyina is my deputy. What can I say? It’s an excellent choice. Katya is a reliable person. Although, everyone in our team is responsible and reliable. 
 — Then, I have a question concerning the team. It seems to be staffed perfectly, but will your friend Antonina Skorobogatchenko be able to play the season as right wing on her own? 
 — Yes, Tonya is likely to have a serious burden. But I pin my hopes on young staff as well. 
 — Let’s come back to the defeat in final with Rostov-Don in May. Did you worry about it for a long time? 
 — To be honest, I didn’t recover immediately. Firstly, I was in Moscow, then I went to my mom’s anniversary to my native Astrakhan, and that final was flashing behind my eyes all the time. Although, I tried to pull it out of my mind. 
I receive great support from close people. They said: "Karina, it is sport, everyone wants to win, just pull it out of your head". 
Of course, I recall Astrakhan part of my vacations with warmth. Moreover, to my surprise, this time there was no plenty of insects, though it is raging in June. And I spent much time at my aunt’s private sector in the gardens. 
 — Social networks are like news agencies now: you spent your sea vacations together with Tonya Skorobogatchenko in Abu-Dhabi, didn’t you?
 — Yes, we had great holidays! We bought the trip in May. We went there because of direct flight. It took us only 5 hours to get there. 
The only problem is that our bank cards are not accepted there at the moment. And it was a terrible heat there: +52 Celsius. 
Above all I was at Karina Yezhikova’s wedding, I went to Minsk by Lastochka train, it took 6 hours. I enjoyed our native nature. Though we didn’t manage to see the capital of Belarus properly. But now we are likely to spend there much time as guests and we will be able to explore everything there. 
 — How do you evaluate Jug-sport base, which has become the training ground for you?
 — It’s a great base! There is everything necessary for the training process. It is situated rather high, and during the first day a health path was organized for us, a sort of health resort hike down and then up.
Originally football was scheduled, but it started raining and the concept has changed. And the day after we started training. As expected during the midseason it wasn’t easy at the training camp. But everything necessary for recuperation is available there — swimming pool, sauna…
By the way, my mom and I were in Kislovodsk two years ago. However we were in spring when roses weren’t in blossom. And now there was a lot to admire, the views are amazing. And the wind saves you from the heat. 
We tasted Caucasian cuisine. Tonya, Kira Trusova, Vika Shamanovskaya and I visited a local restaurant, recommended by our massage therapist.
But it’s not the main point. It’s important to get prepared to the season. Honestly, I am already missing handball. 
Now we are going to Sochi with national team. There we will focus on the ball. 
 — Have you already managed to get along with newcomers?
 — Yes, I have. Teambuilding contributed to it. Once we even went to the summer biathlon. And thus, all the girls merged to the team perfectly. By the way, I got acquainted with Natasha Kotina at Karina Yezhikova’s wedding.      
Photos: HC CSKA press service, personal archives of Karina Sabirova
Authors: Dmitry Lyubimov, M.Lyubimova
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