Andrey Seregin: “It All Starts Once”

Among the many photographs hung in his office – with famous wrestlers and famous mentors – there is also a cartoon made by a child’s hand. One feels that the work on the cartoon was quite a success for the young author: the portrait resemblance to the owner of the office is simply undeniable. And also captivating are the lines drawn by the grateful young artist under this donative portrait: “To the best freestyle wrestling coach – Andrei Petrovich Seregin!”

– This portrait is mine pupil Slava Chernovol sketched two years ago, he was only eleven years old then, – explains Andrey Petrovich. – And looking at him, I myself often remember my own childhood.

I was born in the tiny village of Bazan, it was not even a village, but rather one of the small farms scattered down the Yenisei tract. Now, of course, they are gone. The parents, the memory of whom I keep, are no longer alive. I am sixty, and my father would have turned a hundred years old last year. Mom told me that he was not in those parts of his own free will – he was exiled. After Stalin’s death, he received a certificate stating that he was convicted illegally, but ten years spent in exile cannot be erased from life …

I was just over a year old when my parents moved to live in a more impressive village – Bobrovka in the Kazachinsky district. There he graduated from the four-year school. It was an amazing village elementary school: there were only two teachers for four classes. I had to continue my studies in another village, which had an eight-year school age, in the village-pier of Galanino. My mother’s sister’s family lived there, so they sent me there to continue my education. They have three children and I am the fourth. So I lived in this friendly family, I went home only for the holidays. And I had to finish ten years in another village, Rozhdestvenskoye, about eight to ten kilometers away, but nothing – I still received the coveted certificate.


– Like any other boy, of course, he always wanted to be strong and agile. In the ninth grade, an enthusiast appeared in our village, who decided to teach us, village boys, freestyle wrestling. How could you not try! The memory of those first wrestling lessons still remains vivid: now I show my pupils to my children my finger, injured in my youth. I turned my opponent over in training, and he, resisting me, managed to hit my palm with his heel, almost tore off a nail. The conditions for our village activities were not very sanitary: we trained in dirty street shoes, on filthy wrestling mats. I seemed to have calmed the blood, but to save my finger from festering, this was not enough. My finger was swollen, it did not give me peace for a long time, and the mark hurt, it remained for the rest of my life.

In 1973, after ten years, I came to Krasnoyarsk. Having received the initial wrestling skills, of course, I really wanted to continue practicing. And one acquaintance volunteered to help, advised to go not to someone, but to Mindiashvili himself. Frankly, I had to muster up the courage: one would probably never have dared to appear to Dmitry Georgievich – we went together. Mindiashvili listened to us, looked me over: “Well,” he says, “the boy seems to be tough and wiry. Let’s see what will come of it, let it do. ”

To get into his wrestling group, one had to pass a kind of exam – tests in general physical training. I passed these exams, but they accepted me as a candidate. There were forty guys in the group, and several of them were chosen as candidates. Frankly, I was just happy even with this opportunity. The desire to study was simply overwhelming, I worked conscientiously, and my hard work was rewarded, and soon enough: after only two weeks I was in the main team. The guys in the group are of different ages, some of them are eight years older – to insult me, a village boy, they did not let me. The sports brotherhood is for a long time: we are still friends, we meet. It’s a shame, however, that such meetings rarely happen, not as often as we would like.

I entered a technical school, of course, physical education. At first, I must admit, I was thinking of going to a technological institute. I studied well in school, and in chemistry I was generally a leader among tenth graders. I adored chemistry, loved it, I was just addicted to this subject and was rightfully considered the best. My knowledge, however, came in handy in a physical education technical school: I was the first to cope with any laboratory, and the others immediately changed it, for many, after all, chemistry was a dark forest. It seems that it was not to my face, I, the Komsomol organizer of the group, was allowed to cheat, but, on the other hand, thanks to my earnings in this subject, we did not have any underperformers (smiles).


– Of course, I continued to practice wrestling: with Valery Grigorievich Ivanov in “Spartak”, with Sergei Grigorievich Khachikyan in “Dynamo”. After graduating from the technical school, he went on assignment to Sayanogorsk, again he had to return to Krasnoyarsk only after a while. And I was already growing up Alyosha, my eldest son – a family man, a father, I became, being young enough (smiles).

Aleksey graduated from our Institute of Combat Sports named after Ivan Yarygin after school. And the wrestling choice was not accidental for him: he trained with me, four times confirmed the standard of the master of sports. And when my grandson Danilka grew up in his family, he also did not pass by his grandfather-trainer, he studied for five years. My daughter Natasha also knows what freestyle wrestling is: she trained, competed, she even has a medal (smiles). I confess that I myself was surprised by her choice. I remember asking: “Natasha, don’t you think that wrestling is still not a very suitable hobby for a girl?” And she answered me: “Dad, why shouldn’t I study if I like it ?!” What can you argue here, when for yourself the struggle is the main thing that you live by. So my whole dynasty of Seryogins wrestlers grew up: Alexey, Natasha, Danilka …

My wife passed away ten years ago. Now I am in a new marriage. By the way, I met Oksana again thanks to the struggle. After the competition, which I was judging, I drew attention to the girl and realized that I fell in love, and irrevocably, completely. And Oksana answered me in return, despite the considerable age difference. She is 21 years younger, and sometimes teases: “I just can’t believe that you, it turns out, are so old with me!” (Smiling.)

With Oksana, we are now raising our son Dmitry, and he is growing up, of course, as a fighter. He has been engaged in wrestling for five and a half years. Bronze medalist of regional competitions, entered the national team of the region, now has earned a ticket to the competitions of the Siberian Federal District. I am sure that our youngest son Yegorka will definitely get acquainted with the wrestling carpet. He is still only more than two years old, but, as they say, give it a time … In a word, I have such a unique spread in children: the eldest son will soon turn forty, and the youngest will celebrate his third birthday. Wrestling life – it is! (Smiling.)


– To be honest, I am probably not capable of anything else in life except my work. A coach-teacher is my profession, and I am a maximalist in it: I give her everything I can. And it is probably impossible in any other way in any job that a person chooses for himself one day.

And for me it really started once – after I returned from military service. I rested for a week or two with my family, I feel: intolerably pulls me to the wrestling mat, to training. He took off his tracksuit and wrestling shoes from the wall, which they gave us back in the technical school, and to the gym. My first appearance there was immediately noticed. Albert Gavrilovich Lopatin, Honored Coach of Russia, and Mikhail Petrovich Dontsov came up to me. “Andrew! He served, returned! ” And after their congratulations on their return, a completely unexpected proposal immediately followed: “Will you work as a coach?” He answered without any hesitation: “I will!” – “Well, then let’s not waste time – let’s go to Natalya Grigorievna Rodina!” And we went up to her office …

Remembering that day, January 19, 1979, I am still amazed: how quickly all this happened then and was decided, instantly and forever. Maybe this was some kind of aura of that very day – Baptism? ..

God grant that in the life of every person on his way there are good people! I am very grateful to them, and I have kept this gratitude in my soul for nearly four decades. Thanks to them for the fact that I have not lived in vain all these years.

I’m really proud of my profession. Maybe this is even something that I have glorified pride, but I am such a person. Once in a circle of colleagues he shared a humorous aphorism he had heard from his daughter: “Only a shooting coach can argue with a wrestling coach”. And one of them suddenly said: “And I’m just a shooting coach!” I had to cool my comrade: “You’re out of luck,” I say. “Even though I am a wrestling coach, I shoot more lethally: from a tank gun!” After all, I am the commander of a medium tank by army specialty – Sergeant Seryogin! (Smiles.) So you better be careful not to argue with me.


– The main thing for any mentor is, of course, sporting successes, the achievements of his pupils. But, in my opinion, it is no less important what kind of person you will be able to raise. I am always glad when the destinies of my pupils develop successfully, when they prove with their not only sports, but also life successes that they grew up real men, made a worthy choice. And it can be very different. One of my guys now works as a chief physician, the other served in the airborne assault brigade. Another, having become twice a master of sports – in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, is now the deputy head of the city of Kaliningrad. Some of the guys, having passed the wrestling school, decides to choose the profession of an economist. Misha Molchanov, for example, without giving up fighting, managed to become an officer, a military economist. Gives lectures on economics for fellow officers from power structures. And in the evenings they train together on a wrestling mat, in the same group – both teachers and students. Another of my pupils is an operative today. In four years of studying with me, he became a master of sports in freestyle wrestling, and after leaving for the police, he managed to achieve success in judo, sambo, four times won the regional championships among his fellow policemen.

I’m not at all offended if the guys choose some new sports, profession. I’m just happy for them. I am very pleased that they are determined, they find themselves in life. You only experience satisfaction from the thought that their new successes became possible thanks to the skills of the wrestling school. The skills you taught them.

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