Russia's Sledge Hockey Star
A Team On The Rise; A Player Rising To The Top
Russian Paralympian, Dmitry Lisov wants to be the best sledge hockey goal scorer in the world. At just 22 years old, Lisov has helped transform the Russian sledge hockey team from nothing three years ago, to one of the elite teams in the world today.
At the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool in Goyang, South Korea, Lisov scored four goals and added an assist to lead his team in scoring. The Russians finished third in the tournament, defeating the Czech Republic 3-0 for the bronze medal.
Then, at the International Ice Sledge Hockey “4 Nations” Tournament in Sochi, Russia at the end of August 2013, Russia had the Czech’s number again. In the bronze-medal game, Russia scored four unanswered goals in the third period, eventually winning, 7-2. Lisov had three assists in the game and finished the tournament with six points, all assists, to go along with a plus/minus of plus five. The young forward, nicknamed “Dima,” was named the best attacker at the 2012 Russian Championships. Lisov doesn’t want to stop at mediocre however, he wants to be the best ... the very best!
Lisov was quoted as saying that “overtaking Greg Westlake and making him give up the title of the best forward in the world is one of (his goals).” With the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games being in his home country, and being one of the top young snipers in ice sledge hockey, the expectations are high for Lisov and Russia to produce in March. Indeed an IPC article in August 2013 highlighted the huge influence Lisov has had on Russian Sledge Hockey;
Dmitry Lisov: Taking Russia From Pretender To Contender
Russia has gone from not having an ice sledge hockey programme just a few years ago, to being on the world’s biggest stage in their own country. Three years ago, Russia’s ice sledge hockey players were perched forward on their couches, taking mental notes as they watched the gold-medal game between the USA and Japan at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics. Taking a break from their training camp, the Russians, 11 hours ahead of Vancouver, couldn’t sleep. The anxiousness of waiting four years to compete in their home country was too much to handle, and watching their competition was the only option.
“We realised that the next four years would be very difficult for us and that our skill would only let us dream of a gold medal in Sochi at that time,” said Dmitry Lisov, who was 19 at the time, one year removed from starting to play the sport. Lisov, now 22, is one of Russia’s biggest scoring threats up front and showed the competition why, at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool last season. Lisov guided his team to a bronze-medal finish at the event, and more importantly, showed the ice sledge hockey community that Russia is no joke.
Setting A Legacy
Russia have never hosted an Olympic or Paralympic Winter games before, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t ready to host them in 2014. “In 1980, our country amazed the whole world by holding one of the best Summer Olympic Games in the history, and I hope that the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Russia will also be unforgettable and tremendous,” said Lisov.
With all the hype and the entire world watching, that kind of pressure does not go unnoticed on an athlete such as Lisov.
“Of course we are nervous because the Paralympic Games will be held in Russia for the first time, and we are sure that there will be no free places in the stands. All the spectators will expect us to win, and it presses us a little, but coming out on the ice, we’ll forget everything. Each of us has only one thought, one target, to win,” added Lisov.
Watch Out Canada And USA - Here comes Russia
However, in order to win in Sochi, the Russians will face stiff competition from the likes of Canada and the USA. Canada are the defending world champions, defeating the USA, 1-0, in the championship game in Goyang, South Korea last April. While Lisov scored twice against Canada in the group stage of the tournament, he admitted his team still has work to do in order to continue to improve.
Even with Lisov’s offensive touch, he doesn’t feel as though he is doing it by himself. “During the World Championships A-Pool, each of our players did his part so well that I had to just put my stick under the puck.” said Lisov. “We have many good players that are capable of turning the scale of the game, especially looking ahead to the Paralympic Games.” According to Lisov, teams like the Canada and the USA – the powerhouses – will have to start looking in their rearview mirrors. “They're used to only be two leaders, being competitors only to each other, but suddenly our team came full of desire to demonstrate our strength,”
Although very humble of his personal abilities, Lisov is always looking for ways to improve his own game and aspires to be the best in his trade. “A gold medal in Sochi would be the best reward, but before falling asleep every evening, I think of the things that I do well and things that I must improve on,” he told us.
“Overtaking Greg Westlake and making him give up the title of the best forward in the world is one of them.”
Rest up Dmitry, Sochi 2014 will be here very soon. Very best wishes from all at Eduzine Global.
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