Alexandra Nitsenko and Maria Matyushenko: “We are white and fluffy, but we can give back”

We met the silver medalists of the world championship in freestyle wrestling Alexandra Nitsenko and Maria Matyushenko immediately upon their return from Sarajevo, where the competition was held. The girls, despite the won awards, are unhappy with the result and have already started training, they yearn for new fights and victories.

Girls, world championship silver – an award in general, worthy. Why are you unhappy with this result?

Alexandra : – In fact, we could have won gold and we really wanted it. But, probably, somewhere a little burned out. It’s one thing when you sit alone in a room waiting for the finale and imagine your triumph, it’s another thing when you step out onto the carpet, and, alas, reality does not coincide with your desires. In the final I made a gross mistake. I have an injury to my right leg, and so that my opponent does not pass me into this leg, I put my left forward. The opponent immediately went to my left foot and put me down.

Maria : – And my first fight was the hardest. Before the competition, I drove weight, everything was swollen, and it was also hot. I could hardly move, breathed heavily. Nevertheless, she defeated the Mexican with a score of 8: 0. Then she defeated the Italian with a score of 10: 0, and showed the same result in the next fight with her rival from Kazakhstan. And then the finale … (sighing heavily, Maria clenches her fists). The mood, to be honest, was fighting, I was not afraid of anything at all, I already wanted to qualify as quickly as possible. Even before the fight, when I was being tuned in, I was told at first to do nothing at all and just stand. Well, I didn’t do anything for which I received a “liability”. After that, I went to my feet, and my opponent performed her signature move and put me down.

I see you are still indignant.

Alexandra : – Of course, it was clear that our rivals were not one head stronger than us. In our weight class, we were the first numbers and lost, we set the coaches.

How did the coach evaluate your performance?

Alexandra: – He said that we will win back in the youth team.

Maria : – We are now just preparing for the transitional championship of Russia. Competitions will be held in November. For us, everything will be new there in general, a different weight category, the opponents are already young people.

Are you moving into a higher category?

Maria : – Yes, the coach told us to gain weight.

Well, to gain, it’s not to drive.

Maria : – Yes, I agree. I drove 6.5 kilograms before the world championship. The last 400 grams didn’t want to leave at all.

Alexandra : – If you do not gorge yourself and keep the weight during all the training sessions, then everything is fine.

Maria : – When there are two workouts a day, and there is a buffet in the dining room, it is difficult to restrain yourself. We had very good conditions at the training camp. When it was very difficult to move, and the weight needed to be removed, they went to the sauna in clothes, sweated. True, it didn’t help me. I went into the steam room, sweated, went out, and even fifty grams did not decrease.

Boys are easier in this regard. They take off their swimming trunks at the weigh-in so as not to drive those extra fifty grams.

Maria : – So we also take off (laughs). Sometimes you even have to cut your hair.

Alexandra : – Yes, we recently had such a case. The girl simply did not want to drive fifty grams, took and cut her hair. Although the solution is strange. I would never do that.

As a rule, when girls are invited to martial arts, the opportunity to learn self-defense techniques is cited as one of the arguments. What argument became decisive for you when you chose freestyle wrestling?

Alexandra: – My friend was engaged in freestyle wrestling, constantly traveled to different cities, competed. I became interested, I also wanted fame and prospects, so I came to freestyle wrestling. At first, my mother was not serious about this choice, she scolded me for having to skip school lessons somewhere. And when I started showing results, she changed her attitude radically. Now he looks at me with respect as a professional athlete.

Maria : – But with me everything is much simpler and more banal. My twin brother started freestyle wrestling first, and I followed him. Accordingly, our relatives took it normally. Before the fight, she was engaged in ballroom dancing for five years, but left because there was no partner. She danced best of all, but there was no one to perform with at competitions. Then I went in for swimming for myself, went to track and field athletics, was fond of tourism and mountain skiing. Even now, if I have free time, I go skiing.

Did you have to use freestyle wrestling techniques as self-defense?

Maria : – I had such a case. I had to defend myself. True, it happened by accident, one might say, automatically. It was at school, the boys wanted to joke, so I made a passage to the legs … That’s it, boys don’t joke anymore (laughs).

The boys are probably afraid of you?

Alexandra : – No, they know that we are professionally engaged in freestyle wrestling, so we are respected. They look at us more as girls.

And as girls, are you white and fluffy? Or, as befits real wrestlers, you have a cool temper?

Maria : – We are white and fluffy, but we can give back!

Alexandra : – Therefore, we would like to see an athlete with us as a companion. A person far from sports is unlikely to treat with understanding that we are not at home for six months.

Different jokes are often made up about wrestlers, which young people like to poison among themselves. Do such jokes offend you?

Alexandra : – It depends on which ones. If about the fact that all wrestlers are stupid, then this is not true, because even an avid chess player will not remember as many combinations as we know. You need to know every connection, plus muscle memory. It is necessary to think over every fight and choose the right methods of struggle with each opponent, otherwise you can get injured or lose. As for the anecdotes about broken ears, on the one hand, it’s funny, but on the other, I’m even scared to think that this could happen to me. I have been fighting for many years and have been using different passages in fights, but I have never even hit my ear, let alone broken.

Maria : – Yes, we have, thank God, ears whole. Although other girls really break their ears. And it really hurts. Just imagine, the ear becomes inflamed, and every day they pump out the liquid from it with a syringe, and then tighten it with a tight bandage.

Alexandra : – We recently had three people broke their ears at a training camp … At the end of the training camp, we took a photo, and here they are all rewound with bandages.

Often athletes in their interviews admit that they are not superstitious. But there are those who believe in omens, take a talisman with them to the competition. What category do you belong to?

Alexandra : – Before the world championship my mother sewed a handkerchief. I took it with me to the weigh-in, put it under the tights, and the draw went simply gorgeous. The rivals weren’t very strong. I think the handkerchief helped.

Maria : – And I didn’t have any handkerchief with me, I didn’t have anything with me. What should have been taken? (Laughs) I don’t know why, but in our country it is generally accepted that blue tights are happy. All the first meetings I wrestled in blue tights and won. And in the final she came out in red and lost. Although red is said to be the color of the champion.

Alexandra: – Yes, it is, but for some reason everyone intuitively puts on the blue tights first in the competition. And even when we warm up before the competition, we also wear a blue leotard.

In everyday life, what style of clothing do you prefer?

Alexandra : – Classic. I am a first-year student at the university, Masha moved to the eleventh grade. Both at school and at the university, the dress code obliges you to wear classics. We are already accustomed to this.

Maria : – And in general, it’s one thing when you are in sports uniform at the training camp, and another thing when you walk around the city. It’s already somehow uncomfortable in a tracksuit, we are girls.

This year is not easy for you. Sasha’s first year at university, you, Masha, will have the Unified State Exam. Moreover, you are not at home for six months. Are you catching up with the curriculum with tutors?

Maria : – Yes, both with tutors and on your own. We take textbooks with us to training camp, however, we never open them there. When, after three workouts, you come to your room, you just fall exhausted and lie. What kind of textbooks are there …

Alexandra : – I don’t even have the strength to reply to a text message, you read, the phone to the side – and sleep. We have been working very closely for a year and a half now, without rest. They all returned exhausted, even zero emotions. My coach Alexander Vasilievich Suchkov gave me two days to rest, and that’s it – back to work.

Maria: – He didn’t give me two days. When we flew from the world championship, the coach said: “Well, Masha, I’m waiting for you at the gym on Monday”. I was stunned. We arrived closer to lunch on Sunday. This is for me to wash my things, go to sleep and go back to the gym. Well, that’s not fair! Sasha was given at least two days. Even before the world championship I was depressed, tiredness accumulated, so four days before the end of the training camp I say to the head coach of the national team: “That’s it, I don’t need any world championship, buy me a ticket, I want to go home. I won’t train anymore! ” But then she coped with her emotions. And now it’s a matter of honor, gold is needed. Well, like all athletes, we dream of Olympic gold. We think that by 2020 we will be able to do it!

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