In less than a year Georgi Pavlov, the son of one of the Bulgarian sprint stars in the 70s and 80s – Pavel Pavlov, entered the athletics world as the founder and director of a club, organizer of an International Meeting and manager. In this interview you will learn more about the 31-year old building contractor, how he was able to make a quick success and what his ambitions are.
- Did you have a career as an athlete?
- When I was a little boy, I trained high jump just for two years with my coach Rumen Pavlov in Vratza. I participated two times in National Junior Championships, but without any success. I was at the stadium, at the track even as a little kid. My dad was the National coach of Morocco. We lived there for two years and I was always with him at the stadium.
- When did you decide to come back in athletics with a new role?
- When I came back to Bulgaria. I lived for 4 years in Spain and when I came back I met Lili Videva and Kosta Rachev. We met at the stadium and I saw the kids practice. The coaches told me what the situation was: that it was very tough, there was no financial help, no salaries. And just like that, for the love of athletics, I decided to help. At the start I was only helping Peter Dachev, but later came the idea of founding an athletic club in memory of my father, with his name in Vratza. I started with my first coach Rumen Pavlov and, step by step, my ambitions grew – for the meeting and in the manager business.
- It is incredible that the start was just a year ago….
- That’s true. I went to the National stadium “Vassil Levski” in September 2006. For one year everything developed headlong. I have a club with around 40 kids and this year I intend to attract some big names. As a first edition, the meeting was at very good level. The whole process is very quick because many people are helping. They see my desire to work on these things and respond – coaches, the leaderships of the Bulgarian Athletics Federation, the media. In the beginning I didn’t think that I’d come so far. The first intention was to just help Peter Dachev. I was told about his achievements, that he was a very serious man. I knew that I couldn’t invest in him, but for pleasure, because I love the sport, I helped him and it was worth it. Then my coach approached me with the idea about the club. I even started to practice again, this way I met most of the athletes, heard about their pains and concerns, began to understand their problems.
I Had two training camps in Belmeken and met the best coaches and athletes. The idea of the meeting was born there. First there was a small meeting in Vratza for kids aged 12-13 and then the big one in Sofia. I am happy with the first edition, because we were able to attract a big number of athletes and the competition was one of the best for the season. We had good luck, because the rain stopped on time.
- What are your plans for the club and the meeting?
- Around 10 new athletes will join the club. For sure Zhivko Petkov, Petya Dacheva, Desislav Gunev, Desislava Mutafchieva. I want to bring some of the big names in Bulgarian athletics too, but it is a matter of agreement. The meeting will stay in the same category next year, but with 2 or 3 times bigger budget, which is completely achievable. It’s too early to aim higher – to be in the International Calendar (EAA or IAAF), because the requirements are high. You have to guarantee strong competition in every event, TV coverage and etc. Still we don’t have the backup of a serious sponsor, who would guarantee attractable budget. For now everything is based on friendly connections and personal investments, but graduately and surely we’ll get to the target – a very strong International meeting.
- You have started to work as a manager too?
- I’m working now on this dream-come-true mission. Years ago I wasn’t thinking that I could be a sports manager. First, I have to sign contracts with all the athletes in my club and I hope that in future some of them will come up on the big stage. It is not a secret that you need at least one athlete on a very good level and along him or her I’ll be able to travel more, to widen my contacts, to meet more managers, athletes, and this will help me for the meeting’s future too. I’m not doing this for profit. I won’t take the traditional commission. I’ll work on a much lower one, because for me is important to make more contacts, to go higher in the athletic family. My ambitions are within 5-6 years to make athletic club “Pavel Pavlov” number 1 in Bulgaria and to have the best athletes in the country. I want the meeting to be in the IAAF World Athletics Tour and televised on Eurosport and the national stations. I had the idea of founding a big agency with all Bulgarian athletics managers in it, to help our athletes develop. I have invited the other managers to work together, but so far they are not responding. I’m not going to call them again, so I’ll start alone