By Yuri Kovalev
According to Belarus’ Minister for Sports and Tourism, Oleg Kachan, the high results demonstrated by our Belarusian sportsmen at the Wrestling World Championships in Turkey are sure to inspire public interest. “I think that we’ll see an increased interest in wrestling, since this sport is not too costly,” he notes. “Wrestling is perhaps the most ancient sport. Even in the moments following our birth, we begin to struggle for existence; I think that as many people as possible should go in for wrestling.”
Belarus earned six tickets to the 30th Summer Olympics, to be held in London in 2012, at the recent Wrestling World Championship. Alexey Shemarov claimed gold in the freestyle wrestling (under 120kg category) while bronze was taken by Ruslan Sheikhov (under 96kg). In the overall freestyle team standings, Belarus occupied 8th place among 102 states.
The Belarusian flag was raised over the triumphal podium of Greco-Roman wrestlers, with Alim Selimov, winning a gold medal (84kg), and Elbek Tozhiev (55kg) coming second. Additionally, Timofey Deinichenko (96kg) occupied fifth place, allowing him to claim a ticket to the London Olympic Games. Belarus was ranked 4th among 100 countries in the overall men’s team standings in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Belarusian athlete Vasilisa Marzalyuk (under 72kg) took bronze in the women’s wrestling, with Belarus ranked 10th among 100 states in the overall women’s team standings.
The Ministry for Sports and Tourism awarded the winners honorary certificates and financial prizes, while individual athletes received greetings telegrams from Alexander Lukashenko. The coaches of our Belarusian wrestlers have earned honorific mentions.
Alexander Medved, a three time Olympic champion and seven time world champion in freestyle wrestling, congratulated the young athletes on their successful results and noted that Istanbul had been a difficult venue since, ‘wrestling is Turks’ national sport’. He underlined that ‘work isn’t yet finished, as there will be many more events before London’.