Nachyn Kuular: “You need to justify your name”

This year alone, Nachin Kuular, representing the Dmitry Mindiashvili Wrestling Academy, has already twice had a chance to climb to the top of the world sports podium.

Nachyn managed to become a winner at the World Championship among military personnel, and soon returned to Krasnoyarsk from Poland, where he won a gold medal at the World Championship in freestyle wrestling among athletes before 23 years old. We decided that the champion should definitely become a guest of the “STADION”.

– Nachyn, at the World Championship you had to fight five times. I have no doubt that each remained memorable, and which of them became the most serious for you, which of the rivals was especially memorable?

– All the fights, in principle, turned out to be quite difficult, difficult, both tactically and psychologically. There were fights, to which I initially tuned in differently, but directly on the mat everything went a little bit wrong as planned, and I had to reconfigure, get ready, change something already during the fight itself. And the most difficult, probably, was still not even the final, but the starting, the very first fight. I slightly underarm before going out on the carpet, and it almost let me down.

– Is the light blue under your under-eye just the result of that same under-workout?

– No, it was the Mongolian wrestler who made me feel good. (Smiling.) What can you do, wrestling is a very masculine sport, extremely contact, and no one is immune from such decorations. And in that very first fight, I fought with a Moldovan. I still managed to pull myself together and finish the fight, which at first did not work out in my favor, with a confident superiority. The second fight I had with an American – by the way, my former offender: we already had a case, we met him on the carpet, I had lost to him before, but at the current world championship we managed to pay back the debt in full. But just in the third fight I got the Mongol, with whom we had such great contact. (Smiles.) In the semifinals I fought with a Belarusian, and in the final I went against a fighter from India.

– We already know how this final fight ended. Tell me, how did you feel when the referee raised your hand in the air?

– To be honest, at first I myself did not understand what I had done. I didn’t immediately believe that everything worked out for me: I not only reached the final, but also confidently won this fight.

But, honestly, after that, no jubilation, and even less reassurance, did not appear. I just understood: the next step, to which I stubbornly walked, to overcome which I was determined, I crossed. And now the next step is ahead, and I really approached it.

– What is this next step?

– Highest – Olympic Games.

– And victory on them?

– Sure. Only victory.

– Tell me, how is it translated, what does your name mean?

– I myself was interested in this from a very young age. I asked all my acquaintances, adults – my mother, both of my grandfathers. Nachyn in Tuvan, as they explained to me, means “falcon”. They also told me that Tuvans also call people skilled in nachyns.

– Those who succeed?

– Probably you can say so.

– Does your own name inspire you?

– Sure! I really like it. Everyone should strive to live up to their name, and I try to follow this.

– In my opinion, on the wrestling mat, you can do it just demonstratively. I watched the videos of your fights, and, I must admit, during fights your amazingly rapid departure to the opponent’s feet is really comparable to a falcon dive. Nachyn, how did it all start for you? Why did I choose wrestling, because it could be football, hockey, skiing and much more?

– It’s true, everything could probably have gone differently. For example, I really really love to play football, as a child I was very fond of it. But what happened happened. By the way, my mother brought me into the fight. I grew up without a father, and she really wanted me to turn out to be a real athlete – a person who knows how to stand up for himself, confident in his abilities.

– Is your mom an athlete too?

– Yes, she was seriously involved in biathlon, played a lot of volleyball. But, apparently, it was this team sports experience that became decisive when choosing a sport for me, my son. She persuaded, advised: “Choose for yourself a personal sport in which you could rely only on yourself.” Therefore, we stopped at freestyle wrestling, which she led me into.

Mom, now with my help, from a young age introduced my little sister to sports. She is now eight years old, second grader, is engaged in gymnastics, and quite successfully.

– Do you often have to meet your mom, little sister, go home?

– Unfortunately, I rarely have to visit my relatives. Krasnoyarsk managed to become my home, in which I have been for the fourth year. The wrestling academy also became home. And I really really fell in love with Krasnoyarsk. I’ve been to many big cities and managed to make a comparison: Krasnoyarsk is more comfortable, here I am calmer and dearer.

– What is your training schedule?

– To be honest, I was a pretty lazy guy before. (Smiles.) I did not particularly zeal, I did not overload myself. For which, I will not deny, I often got it from the coaches. But over time, he began to realize: it is impossible to achieve serious success without work and sweat. Now I train steadily, not regretting the hours spent in the gym, on the carpet. At the wrestling academy I train twice a day and with full dedication.

– What is your weight category?

– Now “65 kilograms” is the Olympic weight. In general, I moved to this Olympic category recently, in May this year I started competing in it, and before that I fought in the category “61 kilograms”.

– Was it difficult to make such a transition, to keep within the new weight for you?

– A little bit. (Smiles.) Physically, of course, there is a problem, but it can be solved, you just need to take care of yourself, constantly keep yourself in shape.

– In an athlete’s career, it is not uncommon for other, more severe problems – injuries. I know that you have experienced this too.

– Yes, I had to. A very upsetting injury, because of which I ended up overboard for a very long time. The treatment took a year and a half. The most offensive thing is that I myself am to blame for the injury. I overdid it, training with iron, with a barbell, and as a result, I earned displacement disks. In a word, a real threat, the first stage of a hernia, and with such an injury it was possible to say goodbye to a wrestling mat. I am grateful to the wrestling academy, which provided support, assistance in treatment, my recovery, in my travels and flights. Everyone believed in me, and I just had to justify such trust.

– I confess, I was surprised by the words of the wrestling academy mentor Sergei Khachikyan, who said that he could not be called your coach, but rather just a consultant. How do you feel about this coaching self-esteem?

– We can say that it was Sergei Grigorievich Khachikyan who helped me part with milk teeth as a wrestler. He helped me correct all my mistakes on the carpet, and it was thanks to such advice that I began to get something. So Sergei Grigorievich, no matter how modest he may be, I consider and will always consider my real coach. As well as my personal trainer on the carpet and the closest life advisor who helps me solve all my everyday problems. I will add that there are many more coaches at the wrestling academy who are always happy to help me in something, show and suggest. Let’s say Viktor Petrovich Alekseev treats me like his own son. The wrestling academy is really an academy: sports, life, relationships. Within its walls there are many fighters of various nationalities, many reputable experienced mentors, and we are all like one family. During the four years that I have been at the academy, I do not remember a single negative moment in a relationship, not a single incident.

– At the ceremonial celebration organized at the wrestling academy on the occasion of your victory in the world wrestling championship at a common table, you found yourself next to the Olympic champion Shumakov. Did it happen by accident or on purpose?

– I did not choose a place specifically to find myself in the next chair with Alexei Vasilyevich. (Smiles.) But, to be honest, I was glad: once again to be next to the wrestler – the legend of the Olympics in Montreal, it was very pleasant for me to shake his hand. I have known Alexei Vasilyevich, one might say, for a long time, ever since I arrived in Krasnoyarsk. For the first time I saw him, too, at the celebration, though it was not me that was congratulated that time. (Smiling.) It was then that Alexei Vasilyevich told us, young wrestlers, the story of his wrestling life: where he came from, how he came to wrestling, began to train, how he won together with his fellow wrestlers at the most important performances. Such a story could not but be remembered: the story told about himself by the Olympic champion is a worthy example for those who follow in his footsteps.

– You admitted that your biggest dream is the Olympic Games.

– Yes. This is the highest goal for any athlete, and in this I am absolutely no different from other athletes.

– Nachyn, I suppose, if you become a participant-winner of the World Championship among military personnel, so you are a soldier yourself?

– Yes it is. For a year and a half I have been serving in a mountain motorized rifle brigade in a sports company.

– What about Nachyn-Sokol’s personal life?

– You mean, am I married? (Smiles.) I am 22 years old, I think that everything is still ahead. I have a girlfriend, of course, we are seriously thinking about starting a family. But, alas, it doesn’t work out – my family somehow doesn’t fit into my sports regime, my plans.

– And how long does this “for now” risk being?

– While I will continue to fight. And this, apparently, will last at least until 2024: there are two Olympic wrestling cycles ahead, and I don’t want to miss these Olympic Games at all.

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