by Matteo Morelli
Sofía Val and Asaf Kazimov are a brand new partnership representing Spain. Their coaching base is the brand new SK Worldwide Ice Dance Faculty in Madrid, headed by former Spanish ice dance champions Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin. They advised us a bit extra about themselves and the way they went from deciding to skate collectively when the skating season had already began to competing on the World Championships in Saitama.
Sofía and Asaf, thanks very a lot for speaking to us. You’re a new partnership that was shaped a number of months into the 2022/23 season. How did you discover one another and the way did you resolve to skate collectively?
Asaf Kazimov (AK): I break up with my earlier associate at the start of August final yr, after I used to skate with Germany. I began to seek for a brand new associate and Sara advised me that Sofía was looking for a brand new associate too: we had a check out right here in Madrid, with Sara and Kirill. On the best way again within the airplane, I already knew that I’d have appreciated to group up with Sofía.
Sofía Val (SV): Our check out wasn’t that lengthy, it was 5 days. We had been each looking for companions. After the check out we knew we needed to skate with one another, so all of it occurred fairly shortly. He determined to return right here and practice with Sara and Kirill, and we’re very glad it’s figuring out so nicely.
Glad to listen to that issues had been so good from the beginning. Do you know one another earlier than?
SV: We by no means spoke to one another. I used to be nonetheless skating in juniors final season and Asaf was competing in seniors.
AK: We knew of one another from different individuals, however we had by no means met in particular person earlier than.
You have got been skating collectively for such a brief period of time, but you have got already achieved some essential outcomes this season, together with going to a significant occasion just like the World Championships. What did you deal with because you determined to affix forces? Did you instantly arrange aims for the season?
SV: We didn’t set huge aims from the start as a result of it was already fairly late within the season after we began collectively. We didn’t know if we had been going have the ability to compete as a result of we didn’t get the discharge. It was a bit sophisticated, it at all times takes a little bit of time and we had been attempting to do the whole lot in a really quick interval. We couldn’t do Nationals formally, so our goal was simply to attempt to do that competitors in Tilburg (Worldwide Problem Cup) to attempt to get the factors for Worlds, however already competing at a world occasion was a giant step for us.
AK: We had been ready for my launch from the German Federation and we solely bought it on the finish of January, which was the final week the place you may attempt to apply to compete in Tilburg. We had been very pleased to have the ability to skate at this competitors collectively.
Let’s return to the previous. How and when did you method skating? Have you ever at all times been ice dancers, or did you begin in several fields after which shift?
AK: I’m initially from Russia and I began to skate there. I used to do some single skating for six years, and after I was round eleven I modified to ice dance. My coaches stated “nicely, you’re fairly okay with jumps, however inferior to you may be”, they usually requested me if I want to attempt ice dance. I did that, and I actually loved it. After which my household and I moved to Germany in 2012, and I’ve been doing ice dance since then.
SV: I began single skating in Madrid, and I by no means thought I’d have come again to coaching right here! After I was 13, I watched ice dance on tv and needed to attempt it, so I went to attempt it in Lyon and I actually loved it. Inside per week I made a decision that I needed to do ice dance, and moved there. It was a reasonably fast choice! Coming from single skating, I didn’t actually watch ice dance in person who a lot, and I used to be very impressed by the senior ice dancers coaching there.
You had totally different companions earlier than deciding to skate collectively. What did you’re taking away with you out of your earlier experiences?
SV: Your work ethic is essential and it must match your associate’s as nicely. The remainder can come alongside and with work, outcomes will are available. If you end up not snug or your communication together with your associate will not be the very best, it’s actually tough to spend hours on the ice with the opposite particular person. Asaf and I can work for hours collectively and we nonetheless benefit from the course of, we love each minute we spend on the ice and I believe that is an important factor.
AK: I completely agree with Sofía. For me, communication can also be an important issue, as a result of generally you see one another virtually 24/7, so it is advisable to take the whole lot with loads of humour, help one another, discover compromises and options collectively. It is vitally vital.
You might be coaching on the brand-new SK Worldwide Ice Dance Faculty in Madrid, which opened round a yr in the past and is led by Sara Hurtado, Kirill Khaliavin and Ksenia Monko. How are you discovering it there?
SV: I began skating right here since final summer time, after I didn’t have a associate but. The earlier season, I used to be coaching in Villard-de-Lans when Sara known as me to say they had been doing this venture, and I knew I needed to work with them. What is essential to me is that they’re 100% into this, they’re absolutely dedicated and spend loads of hours with us.
AK: After the check out in September I already knew I needed to be a part of this venture. It was the complete dedication that completely persuaded me, the working angle, the best way all of us work collectively and help one another.
SV: They’re very open minded, they allow us to have our area to create and actually help us, but additionally lead us to what they assume is the best choice for us.
The ice dance motion in Spain loved some years of nice high quality skating with two groups competing at worldwide degree: Olivia Sensible and Adrián Díaz, and your coaches Sara and Kirill. How do you’re feeling following within the footsteps of those groups?
AK: We’re nonetheless a really younger group, so we’re beginning our improvement now, attempting to progress with the whole lot. Clearly, we want to be pretty much as good because the earlier groups: Sara and Kirill are our idols, we’re very glad to skate with them and be coached by them. We’re taking it step-by-step, there needs to be steady enchancment.
SV: There are extra groups coming right here at our faculty. That can also be very nice as a result of we get to check ourselves to different groups, attempt to study what they will do higher than us, and vice versa.
AK: It’s good sportsmanship and rivalry.
Let’s take a look at your debut: as you stated, your first worldwide competitors collectively wat the Problem Cup in Tilburg, the place you led to sixth place. How did you’re feeling then and what did you’re taking away from it?
SV: I believe it was a fantastic debut. I used to be very nervous. We had solely been skating collectively for a number of months and we needed to skate clear, however behind our heads we knew we needed to get the factors for Worlds. You don’t wish to get an excessive amount of strain in your head, simply in case you get too disillusioned, however we had been actually happy with the outcomes.
AK: I used to be not as a lot nervous, however somewhat fascinated with the programmes, how they need to be. After the competitors, we had been very glad that we managed to do what we did, particularly after such a brief time frame.
The outcomes at Tilburg allowed you to qualify to your first senior World Championships, the place you ended up being the primary group on the ice to open the rhythm dance. How did you reside this expertise?
SV: We didn’t have any rankings, it was our second competitors collectively and my first seniors, so it was a extremely wonderful expertise, we had been so glad to be there.
One factor that stood out is how a lot all skaters in Saitama appeared to have bonded. That should have been very nice!
SV: Sure, I already knew some groups, others I didn’t. With the ability to be within the lodge with all the opposite skaters was actually enjoyable. We had the very best time. It was nice additionally as a result of loads of the groups that had been there are wonderful skaters and we glance as much as them, so additionally attending to know them as individuals was wonderful. For instance, the primary three days we had been coaching with the Italian couple Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri. That was implausible!
AK: If you end up on the ice with this group that simply received the European Championships after which find yourself in second place at Worlds, it’s one thing else!
The placement itself should have been lovely too.
SV: It was! And the organisation of the occasion was wonderful.
By way of present or previous ice dance groups, do you have got any that you simply take inspiration from and also you take a look at as what you want to turn into sooner or later?
AK: There are loads of nice groups: Advantage/Moir, Papadakis/Cizeron, for instance. There are nice groups which have nice qualities. I believe it is extremely vital to develop your individual type and your individual function on the ice, for the judges and the gang, to point out that you’re totally different: that is what we try to develop inside the subsequent years.
SV: There are younger groups now which might be so highly effective, and the older groups: you possibly can study one thing from each group. For instance, I look as much as Madison Chock: I really like how she strikes, her presence on the ice, her look from the start earlier than she even begins the programmes, her arms when she is skating, the whole lot, however we try to develop our type slowly, we’re younger and we hope that we’ll get there.
The 2022/23 season is now over: how is the work for the brand new season shaping up? Have you ever already arrange your objectives?
AK: Regarding the programmes, we’re at present fascinated with them as a result of the theme of the Rhythm Dance is the 80s and there’s a lot to select from. We’re looking for the type that fits us. Regarding the objectives, we wish to take it step-by-step, we wish to attempt to develop from yr to yr. We are going to take this time now till the season begins to work on the brand new programmes and do our greatest.
SV: We wish to attempt to do as many worldwide competitions as we will to be often known as a pair. Being new, particularly within the ice dance world it is very important be identified and in addition get skilled, as a result of there are different older groups which have way more expertise and in order that performs a giant half. Hopefully we’ll begin to get a little bit of rating for the large competitions.
Let’s transfer away from the ice: inform us one thing about your self, your passions, what you want exterior of skating!
SV: We don’t get that a lot day without work! Some days, we begin at eight within the morning and end at seven within the night. Loads of the times we relaxation, however we each produce other pursuits. I’m finding out psychology from subsequent yr, I’m very enthusiastic about this! I’m going to do it half offline and half on-line, as a result of it may be fairly exhausting to do the whole lot collectively.
AK: I began to check electrical engineering, and simply completed my bachelor’s. I’d begin a grasp’s diploma right here in Madrid. After the skating profession, I’d most likely wish to work as an engineer.
SV: We additionally each love dancing, I really like hip hop. It’s tremendous enjoyable! Takes off your thoughts a bit out of your programmes, which you may get a bit bored with doing them on a regular basis. I additionally love baking, and being with my canine!
AK: Household time is at all times nice, after Worlds I went again to Germany to see my household and my girlfriend. We had a good time, as a result of now I reside in Madrid completely and I don’t see them so typically.
Thanks each so much for sharing a lot about you. Is there something you want to add to our dialog?
AK: I want to say, as soon as once more, thanks to our coaches. We are saying this to them day by day, however nonetheless we wish to thank them for all of the alternatives they offer us, for his or her work with us and the way a lot time they make investments into it.
SV: It wouldn’t be potential for us to compete in such a brief time frame in the event that they weren’t with us on the ice for thus many hours, so thanks Sara, Kirill, and Ksenia.