President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Currently, the school admits some 300 kids a year, but back in the day our common coach [Anatoly Rakhlin] would take a few more, up to 400. But conditions back then were different. Significantly different from those of the children training today. As I understand it, most of today’s students live somewhere nearby; it is easier for those who live nearby to get here.
This is not a central district, and there are not that many opportunities to do sports. And I am very pleased that Mr Rakhlin is still active and working, continuing his coaching activities. Of course, all you folks know that Mr Rakhlin turned 75. He has been devoted to this work with children, with those like you, for very many years now, for dozens of years. And when I was about your age I started to train here with Mr Rakhlin.
I must say that this has always been more than just a sports school; it was a school of life experience and character formation. A school that generally helps people to live life with confidence, to support the weak and help them, to feel strong oneself and always move forward.
Mr Rakhlin, I want to congratulate you before your students and to wish you all the best. And from all of us here is a real man’s, an officer’s present: a presidential watch with the number 75 on it.