Author`s name Olga Savka

Russian oligarch's daughter wins national jetski championship

A state television channel did not expose the girl's last name in its report

The Russian jetski championship was finished last week. The sports event was marked with a TV scandal. The Russian television channel Sport agreed to broadcast the championship, but the administration of the First Channel did not allow to expose the last name of the championship's winner.

The girl named Anastasia has become Russia's two-time watercraft champion. Now she is intended to represent Russia at the world jetski championship in the USA. Yet, a news program of the First Channel did not say Anastasia's last name, because the girl is oligarch Vladimir Potanin's daughter. A news host simply pronounced her short name: “Nastja, the freestyle champion.” It was Russia's official jetski championship, though, supported by the Russian Olympic Committee and the federal agency for physical culture.

The First Channel has not been noticed before for its hostile attitude toward the head of the Interros holding (one of Russia's largest investment companies). It is not ruled out the administration of the television network decided not to say the girl's last name just to be on the safe side. They probably preferred not to ‘promote’ oligarch Potanin in light of the notorious trial on oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Anastasia Potanin has become a hostage of somebody else's games, although she was the honest winner of the championship. Her father's millions were not involved.

Below is an excerpt of Anastasia Potanin's interview she gave before the start of the Russian Jetski Championship.

How long have you been into the watercraft sport?

I have been into it for more than seven years already. Everybody in our family likes this kind of surfing. When I won Russia's championship last year, my father stopped treating my hobby as merely an entertainment. He realized I could do a sports career. Last year I needed the victory at most prestigious Russian competitions, because I could exercise my sports potential in the real fight with other athletes from Ukraine and Latvia, for instance. To win this championship is also very important to me, because it would be a step forward in the international scale.

How do you estimate your chances for victory?

This year I have been ranked the best in freestyle. I was watching other athletes performing and I thought that the class of Russian athletes was developing and growing very fast. I will have to work really hard to keep the championship title.

Does your brother Ivan do watercraft too?

Yes, he does. Next year he will probably be one of the candidates to win the championship. This year he has already proved to be a top professional, although he is under 18 years old, so he can not take part in the championship yet. I think there are enough Russian boys nowadays going in for watercraft as a sport. I am certain they will surpass the current level very soon.

Is it a men's sport?

It is one of the few sports, which does not separate men's and women's competitions. All riders are equal irregardless of sex. It makes this sport more complicated and more excitable. It is not easy to win in such circumstances, but it is definitely worth it.