Sergei Sitnikov: “Adam was condemned, but he still won”

Most recently, the Greco-Roman wrestler from Krasnoyarsk, Adam Kurak, won the Russian championship in St. Petersburg. In the pre-Olympic season, he is entering the main contender in his weight class for a trip to Rio de Janeiro. We met with the champion’s coach Sergei Sitnikov, who has been with Adam all his sports life.

Sergey Vasilyevich, let’s start with the victorious national championship for Adam, Are you satisfied with his performance?

– Of course you are. Adam not only took first place, but also showed excellent mature wrestling. After the tournament, no one had any doubts about his superiority over his rivals. Among them were the Olympic champion Albiev, and the world championship medalist Kuramagomedov, and several other cool young wrestlers, champions and medalists of the European and world championships.

We can say that after last year’s victory in the championship European and gold championship of Russia Adam dominates in his weight?

– I think yes, he won both tournaments with confidence. In addition, according to the rating of the International Wrestling Federation over the past year, Adam became the first.

What other competitions are coming this year?

– In June in the capital Azerbaijan Baku will host the first summer European Games. Competitions will be held in 26 sports, including Greco-Roman wrestling. And then two months later, the main start of the year – the World Championship in Las Vegas.

Having won the national championship, Adam received an automatic ticket to the World Championship, or to get to Las Vegas, you also need to win European games?

– It would have been better, I think, to skip the European Games and conduct targeted preparations for the World Cup. But the competition in Adam’s weight is such that any wrestler who went to the games instead of Adam can win, and then participation in the World Championship itself will be in question.

After the Russian Championship, we discussed this situation with Adam, he said he was ready to speak in Azerbaijan and in the United States.

You’ve been training Adam since childhood?

– Yes, since the third grade. I then recruited boys to the wrestling section in Yeniseisk, Adam was the smallest, but even then I saw in him the character of a winner.

I’ll tell you this story. At the first competition in his life, Adam won two fights, during the break we went to lunch with him. He asks me who he will hit when he wins the next opponent. And without any if, that is, he did not doubt his victory. Lose Adam then, perhaps his words could have seemed like boastfulness, overconfidence, but he won.

Is Adam in his best shape now?

– He has gained invaluable experience in recent years. He became a seasoned fighter who felt the taste of great victories. This, of course, made him stronger as an athlete. As for the physical condition, there is always room to grow.

At the youth level, your pupil did not really stand out, why?

– When it became clear that a high-level wrestler can turn out of Adam, I began to systematically prepare him for an adult wrestling. Therefore, at the youthful and youth level, he did not particularly shine.

Were afraid to drive him ahead of time?

– Not that he was afraid, just devoted the whole sports path Adam has one goal.

Is the goal to win the Olympics? Four years ago, in an interview with our newspaper, you called Adam a potential Olympic champion, then these words could have caused surprise, but now you can repeat them?

– Of course, both then and now I am sure that Adam Kurak is able to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Adam himself said that at one time he wanted to give up the fight, but you kept him from doing it.

– There was such a moment. He was upset that he could not reach the next level. I calmed him down, convinced him that this Olympic cycle would be successful for him. So far, it turns out.

In the group that you recruited in Yeniseisk, was Adam the most talented?

– There were many talented guys. I can’t say that Adam was the very best, one of the many talented boys. But his character plus a stable psychology helped him rise above all his peers from that set.

Adam is almost impossible to get mad. Even before the most important starts, he remains calm and confident in his abilities, there is no need to be afraid that he will burn out before reaching the carpet.

Then we had not just a section, but a whole sports class. The guys were engaged in wrestling, the girls were skiing.

Did you supervise their studies, or would sport be in the foreground?

– The schedule of their school day, of course, was different from the life of ordinary schoolchildren, but I followed their progress. He did not punish, but conducted conversations, convinced that in addition to sports, a person should receive a good education, so that later it would be easier for him in adult life.

That is, you were not only a coach, but also a kind an educator?

– Of course, I think it simply cannot be otherwise. We pull the boys out of the street, teach them how to fight not so that they come back and apply the acquired skills in the wrong place.

It is necessary to conduct educational work, constantly talk, explain what is good and what to do in any case not worth it.

Who will be the main rivals of Adam at the European Games and the World Championship?

– There are many good fighters. For Adam it says that he has already defeated them all. However, this does not mean at all that now you can approach fights with them carelessly, but psychologically, these victories are very important. Once again, they allow you to make sure by your own example that there are no invincible rivals and everyone can be beaten and overcome.

Do you analyze each opponent?

– Naturally. Watching the video, notice the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents.

But before the draw it is impossible to guess with whom you will have to go out on the carpet.

– This is so. But the strongest fighters are known. We are preparing for them.

After the change in the rules, the fight became more spectacular, attacking, did Adam benefit from these transformations?

– I think that Yes. In general, Adam was always looking for happiness in the attack. He preached an aggressive style of fighting. Standing wrestling is his forte. On the ground, he does not feel so confident, especially when he has to defend himself. If earlier the opponent could dry up the fight, go into defense and wait for Adam’s mistake, now warnings are issued for this. Willy-nilly, you have to fight aggressively. And in such a fight, Adam feels like a fish in water.

Do you go to the training camp of the national team with Adam?

– It doesn’t always work out. After all, I still work as the director of the sports school for wrestling. But when preparation enters the decisive stage, I always come. We were preparing for the national championship in Krasnoyarsk. We worked in a calm home atmosphere, and it gave a result.

Is the so-called hand of Moscow strong in your category? Do the athletes representing the capital have any advantages?

– I would not say. On the carpet, everyone is equal, whoever is stronger wins in the end. True, the Russian championship was held in St. Petersburg, and three winners were from the team of the Northern capital.

Adam was ever condemned insolently? You are a judge of the international category and you see such things at once.

– A competent and experienced judge will never merge someone. When there are equal rivals on the carpet, everything is decided by small nuances. An outside observer will never understand that one of the fighters is being condemned.

We had one case at the Poddubny Grand Prix in 2010. Then I myself worked at the tournament as an arbiter and was in a judge’s uniform. Adam was then really impudently condemned. I had no right to interfere, but I expressed everything out of emotion, as a result I was disqualified for one year.

However, despite all this, Adam still won that fight.

– What international category do you have?

– First.

So you have the right to serve both the Olympic Games and the World Championships?

– You need to get a special license for the Olympics. But at the world championships and other major tournaments I have the right to work.

Adam grew up as a person and an athlete in front of your eyes, what is your relationship now, father and son?

– Adam became a real man and a wonderful athlete. He has his own family. We are more likely friends. During training, I am, of course, in charge, and he must fulfill all the requirements. But when we leave the carpet, we become friends. It happens that together we go out into nature, run cross-country, communicate, walk in the fresh air.

When Adam has any problems, he calls you first?

– He is such a person that he does not create any special problems, I don’t even remember right away when he last asked for help. If only during his studies. Of course, I will always come to the rescue and do everything in my power, but whether he will call me first – I find it difficult to say.

When it all started in Yeniseisk, they could have imagined that Adam would achieve such heights?

– It is difficult to answer this question. I can say that I have always aimed my pupils at the highest results. Someone did not succeed, Adam succeeded – primarily due to his character and hard work.

I believe that champions are not born, but become. Many very talented guys passed through my hands, who splashed their gift and did not achieve anything in the struggle. Adam is different. He added crazy hard work to his talents, and as a result his efforts bore fruit.

In 2009 I felt real pride when he first sensationally became the champion of Russia. You can say that then I was happy for him.

That is, Adam made himself, under your careful guidance, of course.

– This is so … He endured, worked, did not work, got upset, but worked on. Now Adam is an honored master of sports, champion of Russia and Europe, winner of the World Cup, but the main goal has not yet been achieved, which is what we have been working for all these years.

The main thing is to get to the Olympics in Rio de- Janeiro and win first place there. Then we can say that we have fulfilled our task one hundred percent.

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