Alexander Pevnev: “I will win the world championship and become a surgeon”

Krasnoyarsk sambo wrestlers triumphantly returned from the European Youth SAMBO Championship. Five of our athletes took part in the competition, four of them became the first.

Maria Gunther, Daria Monkina, Paruyr Sahakyan and Alexander Pevnev won gold medals, and Stanislav Koltsov became the third … Alexander Pevnev has kindly agreed to become a guest of our editorial office. It must be said that this is a very versatile and interesting young man, at the age of 18 he clearly knows what he wants and is confidently moving towards his goals both on the mat and in life. Alexander is the champion of Russia and Europe, as well as a first-year student of the Krasnoyarsk State Medical University.

Sasha, let’s start from the very beginning, how did you come to sambo?
– I was born and raised in Kansk and at first was engaged in mountain skiing. But in my city there were no good coaches for this sport. At the same time, the Kan sambists are in sight. They constantly traveled to Russian and international tournaments. It so happened that at the age of ten I decided to try myself in this sport and I came to the section. It was in 2005.

Did your parents mind? Sambo is a traumatic sport.
– Quite the opposite. Mom herself said: “Look how good our SAMBO coaches are, they constantly write about their wards in the newspapers, talk on television, and besides, this is a truly male sport.” True, until now, if she is present at competitions, she is very worried. And he often closes his eyes when some kind of reception is carried out against me. But the main thing is that she is very happy with success, always supports and is proud of me.

And when did the first successes come? And how old did you realize that you would be doing SAMBO professionally?
– At first it was very difficult. Injuries, fractures, but then it got better. In 2009, I won the championship of the Siberian Federal District for the first time and qualified for Russia, which was a surprise even for me. I was just in seventh heaven. It was then that I realized that I wanted to practice SAMBO at the most serious level.

Sambo and medicine are completely different things, how did it happen that they go hand in hand in your life.
– Since childhood I wanted to become a doctor. And everyone in the family wanted this, especially my grandmother. I was going to enter St. Petersburg, but during the exams I was preparing for the junior world championship in Bulgaria, so I entered Krasnoyarsk. Sport has made its own adjustments to my plans, but I do not regret it. I study at the medical faculty. In the future, I would very much like to become a surgeon. The coaches, of course, recommended entering the Faculty of Physical Education so that studies would not interfere with training. But I insisted on my own.

Study does not interfere with training, as you can see, but training does not interfere with study?
– You have to give a lot of energy to do everything. They don’t give me any favors at the university, and it would be strange if they did. After all, I’m studying to be a doctor, a serious profession. In addition, our teachers are very principled, whether you are an athlete or not, they do not care much. The subject must know by heart in order to receive credits and exams.

Did sports achievements help with admission?
– Unfortunately, and maybe fortunately, not. I also asked this question at the commission, and they told me that only knowledge would be taken into account. Participation in the regional Olympiad in chemistry helped a lot, this subject was given to me with an automatic machine with maximum points. And what is interesting, at school I was not particularly drawn to either chemistry or biology. I was more interested in exact sciences. But when I had already decided to go to medical school, I began to take these subjects more seriously, as a result, now they are very interesting to me, well, when I entered the knowledge they were useful.

You understand that sooner or later you will have to make a choice. It will be very difficult to combine performances at the adult level in SAMBO and study.
– I understand. But for now, I’m coping. Although I won’t hide it, it’s hard, there is practically no free time.

Where did you like it more in Cyprus or in Bulgaria?
– In Cyprus. They left from here, the snow lay. And there is beauty, warmth, sea, waves. True, we bought only after the end of the competition, during them we did not risk it.

What do you lean towards more, who do you see yourself, for example, in ten years?
– More likely a doctor. It is quite possible that if I achieve my main goal in sports, I will end my sports career and focus on my second passion – medicine.

And the main goal is the adult world championship?
– Quite right. But it would also be very nice to win the European Championship among adults (smiles).

Well, let’s imagine for a second: Alexander Pevnev – the world champion leaves the sport at the dawn of strength, and a year later Sambo enters to the Olympics program. Will you come back?
– For this, of course. The Olympics are a dream. So far, unrealizable, since our sport is far from being included in the game program. But if this happens, then I will make every effort to get into the national team. I am sure that for any athlete participation in the Olympic Games is the main event in sports life. And winning them is something worth spending your strength and health for in training and competitions.

Let’s talk about the European Championship that just ended recently, how many fights did you have? Which one was the most difficult?
– I had three fights. In the final I was opposed by a Ukrainian. A very serious and strong opponent. At the very beginning, I managed to make a hold and earn a few points. In the future, he built a fight against defense, trying to maintain the advantage. Opponent climbed over the edge, tried to equalize, but I did not allow him to do it. Only at the end of the fight did he manage to score one point, but it did not help, and the referees awarded me the victory on points.

Before the competition, what did you set up for? Was you confident in your victory?
– I realized one very important thing for myself: when participating in any tournaments, you need to tune in to each next opponent. Then everything will be fine. And if you start to cheat yourself that you must win or get into the prize-winners, you can simply burn out and fail at the most important moment.

Did you follow the fights of other Krasnoyarsk guys?
– Of course. I was sick, worried. Paruyr Sahakyan won a very tough final. The judges were on the opponent’s side, but in the last seconds of the bout he managed to carry out a painful hold and won the gold medal.

What feelings did you get when he stepped onto the top step of the podium?
– The main feeling is lightness. My heart is happy and calm from the fact that I did not disappoint, justified the hopes of parents, coaches, and the president of the federation. And, of course, great satisfaction from a job well done. The last weeks have been very busy. We were preparing conscientiously, and now we can take a little rest, so that we can prepare for future starts full of energy and desire.

Tell about your family.
– Parents live in Kansk … As soon as I have free time, I try to visit them. The older sister is far from sports, but she follows my performances. Always aware of where and what I won, sincerely congratulates. My parents also have a dog and a cat, who are also waiting for my arrival.

Would you like to have a pet here so that it’s not boring alone?
– I really want to, but I practically never go home. Study, training, training camp, competition. And if you have a pet, then you must take care of and monitor it, I simply do not have time for this, unfortunately. Besides, I’m not alone. I have a girlfriend, she is also from Kansk, we have known each other for a long time. Of course, it’s not easy for her. Because of being busy, I don’t give her as much time and attention as I need, but she understands everything. Her faith and support mean a lot to me.

Sambo is not an Olympic sport, does it somehow affect the support of athletes, funding and popularity?
– Sambo although not Olympic, but a national sport. Plus, it’s very popular. We are provided with everything you need. We constantly leave for training camps in other cities. We conduct sparring sessions, exchange experiences, which is very important for professional growth.

In MMA (mixed martial arts), would you like to try yourself? Sambo wrestlers perform very well in it.
– This question is often asked, but so far, perhaps, is not the time. As a child, I watched the fights of Fedor Emelianenko with bated breath. I admired this athlete. Still, MMA is a completely different sport. Before entering it, you need to try yourself in combat sambo, this is a more contact type of our martial arts. By the way, the Russian championship in combat sambo will take place soon, I would like to participate there, see what I can do. True, my mother is against it. She believes that this type of martial arts is very dangerous, not to mention MMA. But perhaps in the future I will try myself in battles without limits. In general, really, people from combat sambo show themselves very well in MMA. I know Vitaly Minakov from Bryansk, he is a four-time world champion in sambo. To date, Vitaly has fought ten fights in mixed martial arts and won everything with confidence.

What is in your life besides studying and sambo, what do you do in your free time?
– My childhood hobby for downhill skiing was not in vain. I still ride with great pleasure. Of course, I do it very carefully, I don’t wear out headlong, because the risk of injury is great. I also like to ride a bike, go to nature. I love driving. At first, from the Krasnoyarsk movement, my head was spinning. It was a little scary, it seemed that everyone drives according to their own rules, but over time I got used to it, and now everything is fine.

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