Inside FIL: The FIL Group is reorganising itself

Fred Zimny

Salzburg (FIL) The introduction of the third international race series, the Continental Cup for the youth luge athletes and the departure of Maciej Kurowski as head coach of FIL Group 1 - the World Cup team - the FIL teams had to reorganise themselves. Development Director Fred Zimny explains the new structure and the coaching team in following Inside FIL Interview:

Long-time FIL head coach Ioan Apostol is coming back to the FIL. How did it come about?

Fred Zimny: “I am very happy to have such an experienced coach return to the FIL, where he worked for many years as the FIL Development Manager. His knowledge, skills and experience will be a tremendous asset to the FIL athletes. The connection with Ioan came through his making it known that he was available for a new coaching role. We are very happy to have him as the new FIL Group 1 Head Coach where he will join long time Assistant Coach Yuriy Hayduk”. 

Due to the introduction of a third race series, the Continental Cup in Youth A, the FIL's need for coaches has increased. Who could you win over as a new coach?

Fred Zimny: “In the beginning, the addition of a third racing series, the Continental Cup, seemed like a daunting undertaking, especially when it came to filling the new FIL coaching roles with high quality and available coaches. I'm very happy to have Bogdan Macovei move to the Head Coach role with the FIL Youth A Group along with newcomer Martins Lozbers from Latvia. I think this pairing will bring a combination of experience and youth to the new Youth A level athletes from around the world as they join together as a "team" in this new FIL race series.” 

Wasn’t Martin Lozbers racing for Kazakhstan? Has he worked as a coach before?

Fred Zimny: “Martins is from Latvia and he raced on the Latvian National Luge Team for several years. After he finished his competitive career he also raced for Kazakhstan for two years, after which he did some coaching for smaller nations, for example Finland and Ireland, but also Latvia. So even though he is at the beginning of his coaching career, he also brings experience to the game.”

Luge Camp Thailand

When does the season start for the FIL-Teams and what are the biggest challenges?

Fred Zimny: “The season for the FIL groups will start early this year with FIL Group 1 training in Lillehammer in October, FIL Group 2 training in Sigulda at the end of October and the FIL Youth A Group at the Luge School in Latvia. The Youth A Group will spend several weeks in Bludenz this season in preparation for the WJM there in January.
As far as challenges, by far the biggest one this year has been trying to find training time on tracks. Because of the increased demand on all tracks from luge, bobsled and skeleton, it has been almost impossible to find training time on many tracks, especially Winterberg, Oberhof and Igls, where the demands have been very high. Unfortunately this has led to minimal to no training time on these tracks for the FIL teams”.

Aren’t you now also responsible for natural track luge?

Fred Zimny: “Yes, in my new role as FIL Development Director, I will work with the responsible persons from the FIL Natural track family, such as Andreas Castaglioni, to help mold and grow the program in a way that will most benefit the sport and the FIL. I look forward to this challenge”.

Thank you, Fred for this interview and all information about the FIL Development program.