“When I jumped in, I fell on the huge man” – as a blind athlete crossed the Bosphorus

St. Petersburg blind Amateur athlete Andrey Sosnov two years ago I started to learn to swim, and after a few months set a goal: to swim the Bosphorus.

Andrey Sosnov leader Mary Brown. Photo: Facebook

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When I buzzed about the ears, as used

– Tell us how this goal is to cross the Bosphorus Strait – you got?

– I work as a nurse in the all-Russian society for the blind. And the opportunity came my wards to determine the free pool. Early in the morning we were given track. I thought, “Why don’t I do with them?”

I don’t know how to swim, though, and grew up on the Volga. There we were just flounder with the guys, I call this “floating village”. But just flounder I wasn’t interested, I had to learn to swim. And I slowly began to do.

– You are given a coach?

– The problem lies in the fact that the coach did not give us, and there is quite expensive. Studied almost independently, ask for advice from friends, sometimes from coaches at the boards below them heavily not to annoy. Then by chance on the Internet I saw a video that you can cross the Bosphorus. This has left my desire to learn to swim, it was interesting, there’s so motivating said: “From Asia to Europe, from the Black sea to the Marmara”, the warm clear water, everything.

Andrew. Photo: “the St. Petersburg diary”

– Andrew, you said “saw a movie”. You are blind or visually impaired?

– I have the first group of disability, the heaviest, there is very little residual vision. The disease called “retinal degeneration”.

– The feeling in the water is the same as on land? There is the constant fear that somewhere to crash?

– Since I have visual disabilities from childhood, I would not say that there is fear. But, of course, some part of my mind responsible for the fact that I was attentive and watched so as not to bump, not bump.

– During preparation, when you only decide to cross the Bosphorus, to have someone told you: “don’t do that! You can’t do it!”, discouraged?

The wife said, “are You crazy?” Friends kept saying, “the Bosphorus – it’s miles of water, it’s impossible!” But then when I buzzed about the ears, as used. Information has become more to do, they saw that I swim, train in the Leningrad region in the lakes to swim, gradually ceased to talk. Coach I have not found, so I prepared myself. Go to the pool for two years, and heard about the Bosporus and began to seek him about a year ago. Year training, two to three training sessions a week.

Preparing for a swim. Photo: Facebook

There is no support for Amateur sports for the disabled

– Why didn’t the coach to find?

– I work two jobs, the apartment is newly bought, beat it now. The cheapest coach worth a thousand rubles per lesson. It is a financial matter, I don’t have an opportunity. And the state support of Amateur sports for adults with disabilities in Russia, unfortunately, not now.

If you’re an adult with a disability, it is very difficult to find something to do some sport. If you’re a child, there are several options, the state pays for you.

In the same swimming, athletics. And if the baby received the title of master of sport, for example, with it, the government will Tinker. And if not, then yeah, goodbye. Then I want to do – pay.

I just did a post on Facebook about the U.S. Association of blind athletes, they were doing a camp triathlon. I wrote that I hope someday we’ll catch them up and overtake. I don’t like to compare, say, here, in the West, all is well, and we have bad. But, in fact, they have much better. In the US, in particular, to find sports person with visual disabilities much easier.

The problem is, rather, the task of such sports as athletics, swimming, Cycling or triathlon, that necessarily need an escort, leader. And they have there from those who want no rebound, it is considered prestigious. They have a large database, there is no shortage of escorts. And we have hard to find such a person.

Photo: Facebook

I work in the Moscow area. I somehow calls the Deputy head of administration, Nikita Vladimirovich Aleksandrov, on business. And I’m also constantly in meetings complain that there is no support for Amateur sport. And he called a meeting and asked what can be done to people and went swimming. And the Director of the REC centers have not been able to answer. There is no system. The government does not see its task. While we’re on the inside won’t push, nothing happens.

I, in particular, the mission saw: I need more to do things that will attract attention. I already then I reflect, that it is possible to benefit. And now, see, even when the authorities at the district level includes administrative resources, is gathering people that seem to be responsible for it, they can’t do anything. They have no rates, the clock is painted in the budget is not mortgaged.

Though there is infrastructure, and if even I myself learned to swim, it turns out, do not need kinds for the training of people with disabilities. There would be conditions, a lot more people would come and doing it. And they are just sitting at home and don’t know where to go. I called from the Crimea, from Moscow, Lipetsk, St. Petersburg, people with visual disabilities know about me and also wanted to cross the Bosphorus. Inside there is a request! And Nikita Vladimirovich, of course, thank you very much for what he included. Maybe something will happen.

I don’t have time to buy a place in the swim – and a friend gave it to me

– Through the Bosporus you sailed one or have you had an escort?

In sports terminology, this is called “leader”. There was a girl, Maria Kashtanova. Ligament we medical tourniquet with a length of approximately 70 centimeters at the level of mid-thigh, swam in parallel. We practiced in the lakes of the Leningrad region. That was interesting. So, probably, comes the sense of partnership. Mary I is not pulled, not pushed, when it was necessary to curtail. It is felt that man floats around, changing the density of the water, the auditory sensations. But when she corrects course, this is not due to mechanical or tactile influences on me through the bond, and otherwise. You can hear how it sails, or feel a wave from her.

With Mary Brown. Photo: Facebook

– How you found Mary?

– Wrote in a social media post that need an escort on the Bosphorus, and through mutual friends she responded, called me. When people like it, begin to communicate, something life changing. Masha is a successful girl, she works in the management of the GINZA Project restaurants, and she called me up and said, “let’s try”. And it also characterizes her as a person. It is very stable: I’m stronger and heavier than her, but she never complained that she was to me hard to swim.

– What you need to do to participate in this challenge?

– Buy slot, a place in the race. In total, it involved 2,500 people, and the country offer of 400 slots. I don’t have time to buy their own, they ended while I was entering your payment information. And my friends, with whom we first wanted to go together, Alexey Seredkin, gave it to me. I sailed under the name “Alex”. In Istanbul we met Oleg Ivanenko from Ukraine. This is a man who has paralyzed the entire lower torso to the shoulder girdle, he, too, sailed the six and a half miles. He runs the brush and one biceps, then he went back and some brushes.

Usually people with disabilities start first, but this time was not like this. Of course, we went to the organizer, said that we are there, we would preferably not in the crowd. They promised us to release the first. There after the ferry athletes come to the starting pontoon groups, to avoid the crowd, and from there jump.

When the ferry was taking us to the start, it was docked, the people on the ferry started already a little crazy from the excess of adrenaline and expectations, was hot, the air conditioning could not cope, they screamed, whooped, “Come on faster”, and when I opened steam, all just rushed into the water.

Photo: “the St. Petersburg diary”

The limit for this race – if you missed, you do not give certificate crosscontinental swimmer. On average, this distance pass a little faster hours. We swam slower, not much bothered, took an hour and forty. In the end came back for, like, half an hour was flounder on the spot, then came back.

When I jumped in, I fell on the huge man

– When you jumped in, what was it like?

– When I jumped, I fell on top of a huge man. I even cried out of surprise that I rarely. He is confused in our bunch, we pushed. Then some woman scratched my thigh, though, the pain from the scratches I’m only at the finish felt. I was completely focused on the process, focused. It’s hard now some emotion to remember.

Began to rake the people around you. There is such a huge water, people spread out. I just swam quietly, the distance the crawl on the belly. Another interesting story about this swim was. Start appointed on Sunday, I arrived in Istanbul on Thursday, and Masha – in the night from Friday to Saturday.

The day I was alone and he went to get a starter package. When the bus asking the way, a woman who was explaining to me where to go, asked: “And you know what there will be big event on Sunday?” I said, “you Know and I’ll participate.” And she said, “I too will take part there, I was the only woman that is 29 times the Bosphorus was crossed, and now in the 30th swim, no swim, the history is not missed! Well, hope to see you there with you.” And we did see her she gave me a high five before the start of on the ferry.

– The Bosphorus – your only swim in open water?

– No, after I participated in the swim around the Peter and Paul fortress, 4.6 km. Six hundred people sailed. Next year I want to swim across the Volga butterfly. But honestly, the atmosphere, the mass heats to me a bit alien. On the Bosphorus I was completely focused on the process of swimming, I was interested in everything to do with distance, with the swim, I thought in Istanbul about it.

But I was under the impression that the vast majority of those who arrived, primarily focused on instagram, and then on the Bosphorus.

Come, say, in a cafe before the start, when we on the boat I went and looked distance. First three minutes of silence: all post photos and then begin the conversation. It’s not annoying, let me stress that no one did anything wrong, not stolen anything, no one is insulted. It is neither good nor bad, that people share their achievements and emotions. I like that, too.

But just personally, I primarily focused on the process, for me it is a thousand times more important than everything else around. On the Volga is also the official swim, but I want to sail alone, without any pathos. Just a boat with friends to take another day, another place to do it. They in Nizhny Novgorod is carried out, and I’m probably in Cheboksary swim.

Swim around the Peter and Paul fortress. Photo: Facebook

– There will be somehow to regulate the movement of ships at this time. You are alone and safe for their health can do it?

– There will be a boat. It’s not a tram, if anything, will olivem. Or they will wave as we’ll be in touch. Organized in General. I set a goal to swim three kilometers. Just want to master the butterfly, it is much harder for me than the rabbit. It will stimulate. Plus new overcome: there is no state support, and it is difficult to do without a coach. I learn the butterfly stroke to swim by myself or not?

In the Bosphorus was clean sea water, good, but in Russia we have a lot where you can swim, there is plenty to conquer, and a lot of what to remember.

With Mary Brown. Photo: Facebook

And by the way on state again: I still get carried away, now preparing for the marathon in Shushary can’t find someone for me to run, not to mention the coach.

It should not be: “I am disabled, give me free”

– Tell us about the marathon!

– The one in Paris in April. Run I started something like a year and a half ago. In the summer organized a youth exchange in Poland. The pool wasn’t there, but it was the guys who were involved in Amateur Jogging in the morning. And I had something in the form of support, I thought that perhaps run with them.

Ran, I liked it, I gave in, returned to Petersburg, found the girl-the volunteer who ran with me. But, unfortunately, when she moved to another part of the city, the ability to run I have lost. Last year I was running top ten on the “White nights”, then 15 miles – run Pushkin – Saint Petersburg.

– To run to us as things? Give some slots? Organize a separate start?

Disabled slots, but I don’t like this approach, to be honest.

I myself is awkward to ask: “But I have a disability, will give me a free slot?” I don’t think that should be: “I am disabled, give me free”.

But at the moment the average income for people with disabilities is much lower than that of people without disabilities. 85% of people with visual disabilities is not employed. And nowhere to go if a person wants to play sports and not be such things as free slots, you might not be able.

But Yes, we have it: the organization, conducting track races, go forward and register for free. However, wishing is usually not very many, three or four people, maybe. He is not worth anything.

– You fled with a companion?

– Yes, of course. You can run related to the level of the elbow with a rope or rubber band. But we with the girl-volunteer just ran around, and when there was a big crowd, I her elbow was holding, she told me: “Right, left, curb”. Felt that she was here, everything was fine.

Photo: Facebook

– For the marathon, you prepare yourself too?

– While no one with whom to run, go to the stadium. It’s mostly straight, there are no barriers. But it is very hard to go to the stadium: it is far, it takes half an hour. A person without a disability simply to get out of the house and escape. Now slow the process of preparation. 15-20 miles per week if it turns out well. But for a marathon it is very small. We need to find someone to run, and to increase the distance.

I still want to try a triathlon. I tried to ride on the velotandem ahead sighted pilot steers, and the rear blind athlete, such as a motor. No, it’s fine.

– For you it’s a story about “I can”? What are you doing this?

– First, I learned to swim, and I heard the Bosphorus, wanted to swim, and only then began to reflect, why me. Maybe there is a grain of vanity and ambition. I you now like to talk about it, my friends like to tell.

On the other hand, here I am working, useful, probably, do: teach people with visual disabilities those skills which every day they come in handy to use a computer and telephone. But this work, too, becomes routine, and I already can’t remember what I did two weeks ago.

But as I crossed the Bosporus, I think I’ll remember and tell their grandchildren. These are emotional experiences and adventures that are laid in memory. Such emotional times a year.

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