‘Otherwise there’s no sense in going to the Games’

Belarusian sportsman Javid Hamzatov wins bronze in Greco-Roman wrestling

Belarusian sportsman Javid Hamzatov wins bronze in Greco-Roman wrestling. In the 85kg category, the Belarusian wrestler, aged 26, defeated Bulgaria’s Nikolay Bayryakov in the fight for bronze. Hamzatov’s rival made it into the ‘bronze finals’ through a series of consolation matches, the last of which he finished literally 10 minutes prior to his fight with Javid. From the outset, the Belarusian took the initiative, leading 2:0, then pushed his advantage, finishing with a 4:1 victory.

Javid Hamzatov (R) self-restrained and cold-hearted on the carpet

At the Rio competition, Hamzatov began by defeating China’s Peng Fei 4:0 in the 1/8 finals. In the round to enter the semi-finals, he beat Austria’s Amer Hrustanović 9:0. Meanwhile, in the competition for the finals, he lost to Ukraine’s Jean Beleniuk, 0:6.

Javid Hamzatov comes from Dagestan, where he learnt wrestling. He moved to Belarus in 2006 and has since been successful at various tournaments. Before Rio, his best result was bronze, at the 2013 world championship.

Were you self-confident in the fight for bronze, at ease, having gained the lead early on?

The fight went quite well from the very beginning. My rival grabbed me by my tights, to prevent me from holding him. The referee responded promptly and gave me two points. It was a pleasant surprise, as I haven’t seen the Belarusian team treated that way before. It’s never easy for us. The referees performed well during the fight for the bronze award.

Why couldn’t you defeat Ukraine’s titled athlete Jean Beleniuk?

I had the chance but winning back two points from such a top-notch sportsman is very difficult. Oh, those referees! When my trick wasn’t counted and he was given two points later, it became obvious that the fight would be a tough one. Therefore, I played for all-or-nothing, started attacking and opening up, thus losing the fight.

Were you well-prepared for Rio-de-Janeiro?

Yes, otherwise there’s no sense in going to the Games. Wrestlers come to a tournament not just to take part, but to win medals.

The Olympic season is quite hard, have you managed to avoid injury?

Without serious injury, although, as we trained hard for the Olympics, anything could have happened. We had non-stop training, and the qualification tournaments for the Games exhausted us. Luckily, I qualified for the Games during competitions in Ulan Bator. Many excellent wrestlers failed to qualify for Rio, including the Polish and the French: world champions. Qualification fights for Rio participation were a real challenge. I’ve never had such a tense season in all my career.

Mozyr’s wrestling school keeps doing well. What conditions does it offer to raise Olympic champions?

It has splendid coaches. The first coach, Malik Eskendarov, focuses on training the younger generation, enjoying working with young people. He’s always very helpful. It brings results.

Do you currently train in Mozyr?

It’s hard to find a high-level sparring partner in the town, as you need to be within a national team to have good practice. Mozyr has fabulous conditions for the first stage of training wrestlers.

Through the President’s Olympic Choice action, to which children’s institution will you donate money?

To Mozyr children and youth sporting school, where I wrestled as a young man.

By Andrey Vlasov
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