The weight lifting alternative


 
We find out where Moldova is and speak to Laser sailor Alexandr Denisiuc about sailing in his country
It is not every day that you sit down with someone from Moldova. This, we discover is not some civil war torn west African dictator state (we'd be thinking of Monrovia - capital of Liberia) and our latest interview victim does not come with large rings enlarging various body parts. Moldova, we discover after a five minute hunt around Google, is in fact sat snugly between Romania and Ukraine (ie northwest of the Black Sea). It was originally part of Romania until the Ruskies hived it off for themselves at the end of the World War 2. It was then decidedly 'Eastern Bloc' until gaining independence in 1991. According to the wholly unbiased CIA website it became the first former Soviet state to re-elect a communist party and is "the poorest nation in Europe". Crucially for our surprisingly unphased 17 year old interviewee and aspirant Olympic Laser sailor, Alexandr Denisiuc, who we meet at this week's Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Weymouth, Moldova is also landlocked. While he lives in the capital Chisinau (also known as Kishinev - another useful fact for your next pub quiz) Denisiuc says he trains on a small lake just outside the capital and sails every day. Compared to the plush, business-like surroundings of the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy the club Denisiuc belongs to in Chisinau is also Moldova's school for weight lifting. While inevitably football is big in Moldova, weightlifting is the country's main Olympic discipline. One can only imagine the extreme range of physiques - from spindly teenage Laser sailors to barrel-chested he-men - wandering around that club. Out on the nearby lake the situation is less than ideal for Olympic training. "We have no Lasers as all," says Denisiuc. "We have a copy of the Laser, made 20 years

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