Dmitry Mindiashvili: “They’re coming to us for school”

The Russian freestyle wrestling championship turned out to be one of the most scandalous in history. Passions boiled both on carpets and on the sidelines. The great coach Dmitry Mindiashvili laid out on the shelves why the tournament ended in exactly the same way and not otherwise.

In addition, Dmitry Georgievich spoke about the chances of Krasnoyarsk citizens to get to Rio, and our hopes for the next Olympic cycle.

– Are you satisfied with the results of the national freestyle wrestling championship?

– We must start with the fact that the competition is prohibitive at the Russian championships. All historically wrestling regions have incredibly strong teams, it is almost impossible to predict in advance who will win in the end. In addition, the tournament was held in Yakutia, where wrestling is known and loved. The Palace of Sports was shaking, emotions went off scale, to achieve success in such conditions is doubly honorable.

At home it is always more difficult and more responsible to fight, they look at you, they believe in you, a huge burden of responsibility rests on the shoulders of a fighter. Nevertheless, Viktor Lebedev managed to overcome all difficulties and became the champion of the country for the sixth time already.

– But after the competition, Victor himself refused his victory, citing the fact that he was being sued.

– These are emotions in the first place. Victor is a very honest guy, educated, cultured. I cannot say that his opponents were directly condemned. Yes, there were mistakes, including in favor of Victor, but this is a struggle, the influence of the human factor has not been canceled. Lebedev himself, taking into account everything that happened around the carpet, showed himself well. He is an experienced athlete, multiple country and world champion, World Cup winner. I am sure that his statement is more emotional. When the passions subside, he will calm down and continue to fight for a place in the national team. His chances are good.

I understand the reason for his decision. He believes that he did not speak in the best way in front of his fellow countrymen and relatives. At the same time, he shouldn’t leave like that. By doing this, he will erase everything that he has done in his outstanding career. Until I pulled it. Calm down – and talk. The Olympics were supposed to be the crown of all his wrestling years, it is wrong to give up your dream like that.

It’s very hard to fight at home. I remember one of the USSR championships in Krasnoyarsk. All my guys, honored athletes, burned out. Ivan Yarygin lost to Levana Tediashvili in the rank of two-time Olympic champion. To speak to our own people is not even a double, but a triple responsibility. I want to show myself as best I can. And in the end, often nothing happens at all. Lebedev, in spite of his disappointment from his own struggle, became the champion.

As for a specific fight with a wrestler from Dagestan, now we cannot judge how Lebedev would have behaved if, for example, he had been given not two points, but one. He built his further tactics with this advantage in mind. If there were a different score, Victor would have fought differently.

– The delegation of the Dagestan national team behaved not in the most beautiful way, removing their athletes from the competition because of, in their opinion, biased refereeing.

– Dagestanis are very strong. The team from them is one of the best. But removing your athletes from the championship is a form of disgrace. The head of Dagestan was absolutely right. It all looked like a challenge to the whole country. Ugly situation. They put themselves above the struggle, apparently considered that they could not do without them.

– Can they face any sanctions for such a demarche?

– We wrote a complaint to the President of the country, made a scandal. This, of course, does not paint them. I am outraged that an athlete from Dagestan, in front of the entire country, climbed to fight the deserved champion Lebedev. And after that they still protect him.

I have many friends and students in Dagestan, they are all honest and kind guys. It is unacceptable to behave this way, since you dishonor not only yourself, but all the fighters of the republic. At the same time, Caucasians are hot people, they flare up instantly, I myself am. But we are quick-witted. I’m sure they regret their emotional decision.

– Young Krasnoyarsk wrestlers showed themselves great at the championship, did you expect a similar result from them?

– The youth really did great. They showed that we have a great future for the next Olympic cycle. Alexander Zelenkov became the second in his first adult national championship, this is an excellent achievement. Murad Nukhadiev is still very young, of course. He has enough flaws, but he grows, learns. For him, a bronze medal at this stage of his career is a great achievement.

Mukhamagazi Magomedov, in my opinion, has every chance to go to Rio in heavy weight. He won against everyone very confidently. Yes, there was no Bilyal Makhov, but it is far from the fact that nominally the first number of the national team could surpass Magomedov.

– Is the situation that some wrestlers missed the championship, in your opinion, correct?

– All these exemptions are complete nonsense. As the head coach of the national team, I never did that. Let you be a world champion, but above all a member of the national team, you must prove your right to this place, no one will create hothouse conditions for you. I am categorically against the fact that some of our wrestlers were released from the national championship. Besides, I am confident in Magomedov. Makhov is an excellent fighter, but in my opinion he is inferior to Mukhamagazi.

Last year, our wrestler underwent surgery, he lost some time, but then he went to a new level. To be honest, this year I did not think that he would become the champion of the country. But the guy was surprised, he won absolutely deservedly!

– Anzor Urishev became the champion, but Abdulrashid Sadulayev, who was just released from this championship, is in his weight. Will the Krasnoyarsk wrestler have a chance to compete for the Olympic place, or is it already reserved for Sadulayev?

– Of course, Abdulrashid is a great fighter. A real athlete. If he goes to Rio, it will be deserved. But Anzor also has chances. I am sure they will be brought together for the Games to find out who is stronger.

– In most countries, the domestic championship is the decisive stage in the selection for the Olympics. Why is it wrong with us in Russia?

– I think our approach is more correct. The athlete must prove his readiness, his strength throughout the four-year cycle. It is wrong to draw conclusions based on the results of only one competition, even if the national championship before the Olympics itself. Another thing is that important preparatory starts should not be missed in the Olympic year, you need to constantly be in good shape.

– There is an opinion that getting into the Russian national wrestling team is more difficult than winning the Olympics.

– This is largely true. Let’s remember Artur Taymazov. Having left to play for Uzbekistan, he became a three-time Olympic champion. I trained him in the national team at one time. Then he lost the competition. In Uzbekistan he was the strongest of all. Quite a lot of domestic athletes are starting to compete well for other countries. They come to conventional Romania, win the championship in one wicket, get to the Games and show the result there.

The most recent example is our Opan Sat. Having left for Turkey, he won two championships in a row without a chance for opponents. Although the Turkish wrestling school is very strong.

– Do you admit that at the Olympics Sat can cross the road to any Russian wrestler?

– Difficult question. Still, first of all, I always worry about the fighters representing Russia.

Opan is a talent, one of the most promising fighters. He came to us from Kyzyl raw, we nurtured him, gave him everything. It’s unpleasant, of course, that he chose this path.

Krasnoyarsk fighters have always been distinguished by their patriotism. Love not only for the country, but also for our region. That only Vanya Yarygin was not offered! From Kiev they sent a letter signed by Shcherbytsky, the first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine: crazy salary, many times more than we could afford, a luxurious apartment on Khreshchatyk … I say: “Vanya, the conditions are great, we must go.” He looked at me, threw away the letter and replied: “Let’s make everyone come to us.”

Buvaysar Saytiev was offered a lot of money in Turkey. Received a categorical refusal. Adam, his brother, was promised in Greece to make heaven on earth – to no avail. Vitya Alekseeva wanted to see a huge number of countries at home, did not go. We have such traditions. Therefore, Opan Sath’s departure came as a complete surprise.

– When our fighters leave to fight for other countries, are they primarily attracted by money, or do they really want to get to the Olympics?

– Of course, they want to go to the Games, but money also plays a role. Everything is individual here. One of the greatest wrestlers, Arsen Fadzaev, a two-time Olympic champion, really wanted to get to his third Olympics in Atlanta. But he didn’t make it to the Russian national team, so he left for Uzbekistan and got to the Games. In this case, I’m sure money played no role.

– On the one hand, it is bad that we are losing fighters, but, on the other hand, this is an indicator of the performance of our school.

– I agree. The successes of Sata and others confirm this.

– What are our Olympic prospects in Greco-Roman wrestling?

– The main Olympic hope is Nikita Melnikov. He was released from the Russian championship due to injury. But I have no doubt that he will be in perfect order by the Games. Brothers Semyonov, Adam Kurak – we have strong fighters. Another thing is that the competition is crazy. The current Russian Greco-Roman wrestling championship was held in Grozny, it is extremely difficult to win there.

– The head coach of the regional freestyle wrestling team Viktor Alekseev believes that the next Olympic cycle may become Krasnoyarsk – they say, we have a huge number of incredibly talented and strong young wrestlers.

– There are a lot of talented young people. She already props up recognized leaders. Another thing is that the guys in no case need to reduce their demands on themselves, and then all the roads will open before them. We will work and hope for the goodwill of fate. We’ve been supplying Olympians regularly since 1972. A large number of medals were won. But you need to live in the present and the future. I will repeat myself: the main thing is to work.

We are not luring anyone to Krasnoyarsk with money. In some regions, the fighters could be surrounded by unthinkable benefits, and they come to us, first of all for school. We, of course, create all the conditions for training, but no frills. Some regions can afford to pay ten thousand dollars for the national championship, we do not have such amounts. But we reward in full for victories at the world championships, the Olympic Games.

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