The ISAF President Göran Petersson visited Russia on 3 December to take part in the Russian Sailor of the Year Awards.
At the Ceremony in Moscow, the ISAF President presented the award for the 'Best Sailing Team 2009' to the Synergy syndicate of Valentun Zavadnikov, who finished third at the Louise Vuitton Trophy in Nice this November. In his short speech the ISAF President underlined the deep roots of the Russian Sailing history (Russia won its first Olympic sailing medal at the 1912 Games in Stockholm) and the nation's promising talent pool. "Russia has a proud sailing heritage and an excellent sailing future. Sailing is a growing sport and is popular in every corner of your country from Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea to Vladivostock on the Japan Sea; from Archangelsk on the White Sea down to the Black Sea."
As well as praising Russia's Olympic success and the outstanding performance of Synergy at the Louise Vuitton Trophy, the President also pointed towards the importance of developing the sport at all levels, "Your initiatives at the elite level are to be applauded and we hope that our already strong relationship will grow further through your support and involvement in helping ISAF with our commitment to develop grass roots participation. Russia will be a role model for many of our developing MNAs as we enter a new and exciting period in the sport of sailing. I am certainly watching your development with interest."
Other awards winners on the night included Eugeniy Neugodnikov
, 2009 Micro World Champion and winner of the ISAF Grade 1 Yava Trophy, who was named Male Russian Sailor of the Year. Female Sailor of the Year went to Ekaterina Skudina
, winner of the winner of the 2009 Berlin Match-Race, the Russian Women's Match Racing title and the Pirogovo Cup.
The morning following the Sailor of the Year Awards, the ISAF President met with Gennady Aleshin, first Vice-president of the Russian NOC and Deputy Minister of Sport. During the intensive and friendly discussion several important issues were covered, like the development of an international calendar in Far East Region (Vladivostok), increasing the number of major international events held in Russia and sport visa problems.
Later the same day, the President addressed a large audience of Russian Council members, prominent Russian sailors, coaches and specialists. In an open dialogue with his fellow sailors, the President talked about the most important ideas of the IOC, ISAF Strategies for the future up to 2020 and the present situation in Olympic sailing, as well as answering numerous questions. At the end of the meeting President presented the official banner of International Sailing Federation to Dmitry Zelenin, President of the Russian Yachting Federation, which will be placed on the wall in the headquarters of the Federation.
Reflecting on his trip, the President said, "I enjoyed my visit to Russia very much. I found here old friends and many interesting people. We see Russia as an integral part of the world sailing community, and we respect Russia as a real member of the ISAF team".