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Steliana Nistor
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Cerasela Patrascu
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Liliana Cosma
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 main coach Dan Grecu
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 Main
coach: Octavian Belu
 
coach Mariana Bitang
 coach Nicolae Forminte
 
coach Lucian Sandu


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   Belu & Bitang at Deva, guests of the best* Romanian TV show

A small room, inside girls mini-hotel, serve as a classroom. The teacher come inside the girls building to teach their classes.At this moment, there were only seven girls, but in past years were sometime more, even 15.
   It is what was called before (up to 1940) in Romania "Royal Classes", (or mixed) because girls from different years learns in same room.
  Octavian Belu said that girls are given all regular school staff, less the sport classes. "Those who want to learn, learn"-says Octavian Belu."They have to learn in few weeks as much as children learn in few months at a standard school.


Octavian Belu consider himself (or rather say, he admit as being) a product of the communist, over-centralied system which, at least in gymnastics, have proved to be the most reliable. "For specific conditions in Romania, it was a good decision to keep this system working. It couldn't be done in other way. For example, we do not have proper training conditions-at Olympic levels- at many clubs around the country. The equipment is expensive and they change it almost after each Olympics, so this can be a major investment clubs can not afford".

"We have at Deva the most devoted children from around the country, which can find here all the necessary conditions for training and achieve the highest level"says Octavian Belu.

The program was filmed in a Sunday, just after the girls have returned from summer holidays (Oana Ban was still there and could be seen in the show). The reporter ask how came the girls work on Sunday. B&B said girls just make some stretching exercises to regain their mobility.

The reporter asked about Octavian Belu's medals total."I didn't make any total yet, such things are done after you retire. Maybe then, I will write my memories and make the total." On the screen, the TV station says that Belu have earned 39 Olympics medals (16 of them were Gold medals).

Mariana Bitang, the Belu's secondary coaches, helped him to gain 16 Olympics team at last 3 editions of Olympics.

"When everything works well, everybody is close to you (she mean them-the coaches), but when we have had some hard times...there were few to back us", says Mariana Bitang.

"The rumors about China (the coaches going there) were inventions, but they may become true any moment, since China have started to bring many coaches there (including Romanians, but for other sports). They want to get as many medals at the 2008 Olympics. We do have had offers, from other countries."-Mariana Bitang.

"It ss difficult in gymnastics because no matter you may be the best coach in the world, the girls on the apparatus will decide if you will get congratulations or be criticized. When the girl compete, you can't do more to help her, everything is in her hands. Unfortunately, sometime you can be a victim of "back stage games", like in man's gymnastics competition at Athens"-says Belu.

What about their earnings? Only past two years they have had received " Exceptional stipends", from Romanian Olympic Comitee. Mariana Bitang have admitted her cash monthly bonus was $800 (and she also have had a regular $150 salary from her Club), but Belu didn't said much about. Press have reported a $1000 figure for him.

Mariana Bitang has reminded the after Sydney (Olympics 2000) moment, when the coaches get some very ow cash prizes, like 1/2 (half) from what a single girl from the team get. Belu said he didn't like when when a newspaper have made the total for him and reported a $100,000 during his career. There was no question from the reporter regarding the 30% ("private") tax imposed by Octavian Belu and Mariana Bitang at Deva. Our sources have confirmed that this tax (imposed only on prizes from paid-contests and gym demonstrations, not on state-awarded prizes) is still enforced at Deva.

"In Romania, the basic rules to achieve top levels in sport are not understand properly" (as in the West)-says Bitang."Each gymnast should know some basic things, when she enter the team door. We are still accused of some things which are basic to follow, when you are involved into top performance"-Mariana Bitang

Regarding politics and Octavian Belu being involved in it, he said "I do consider that each one of us should do and stay where we have skills and can do at our best, not anything else".
    Octavian Belu was, past few months, under a strong influence from the ruling "psd" Romanian party, to get involved into politics.Predicting another (1996-alike) disaster at ending November election, (losing them) the ruling party already managed to involve the coach of national soccer team (Iordanescu) to be a member of their party. This get into a media scandal and a lot of negative coverage under the soccer coach. Octavian Belu seems trying to resist the pressures and avoid ending his career with (another) scandal (this time, one which brings no good after-Car or montly income).

About the long-disputed "renta viagera" (the lifelong pension which girls receive after they retire), Octavian Belu said "this pension was initiated by us" and Mariana Bitang added the basic idea was "to give a support to former champions which have medical or other problems, to provide them a basic life-confort." At this moment, the pension is seen as having a "bad effect into gymnastics. If the girl knows she have a basic (but relatively high for Romanian standards, the pension being calculated as three or 3.5 times higher than the minimum official income) provided for life, she choose to retire early and not to work so hard any more.

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