Home World News Alexander Karelin: Combining championships with Belarus will expand our internal reserves

Alexander Karelin: Combining championships with Belarus will expand our internal reserves

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Alexander Karelin: Combining championships with Belarus will expand our internal reserves

Alexander Karelin.
© Kirill Zykov / AGN Moscow

Now, when Russia is excluded from international tournaments, our country should not create alternative world championships, but focus on improving internal selection and returning high dignity to the title of national champion. The three-time winner of the Olympic Games in Greco-Roman wrestling, a senator of the Russian Federation, told about this in an interview with Parliamentary Newspaper Alexander Karelin.

– Alexander Alexandrovich, even when Russia was accused of creating a state doping system and they began not to let our athletes compete, there was talk that we need to create alternative championships, sports arbitration courts and so on. After February 24, these conversations only intensified. How do you feel about such proposals?

– To be honest, I think they are not very promising. These are decisions that would have been acceptable not even before the February events, but several years ago. Now I don’t see the point in them. I think we need to restore our representation in international institutions. I am sure that everything will eventually come to this – we will still be returned to the system of international competitions. One of the confirmations of this, I think, was the behavior of the organizers of the Games in PyeongChang-2018: then a certain circle of organizations called for not letting the Russian team to that Olympics, and they said that without us, their Games would not be interesting to the public.

I think that now our sport is just going through another round of history – we do not experience anything fundamentally new in terms of pressure from outside. And this pressure has always only strengthened us. In 1952, the USSR national team, which included prisoners of concentration camps, home front workers, veterans of the Great Patriotic War, competed at the Olympic Games for the first time – and immediately took the second team place! Wrestler Yakov Punkin won one of the gold medals – and he went through several concentration camps during the war. Only forty years later – in 1992 – we already competed as a CIS team. But, being at the collapse of the Union, in Barcelona we took first place among all the teams! Another 30 years have passed, and already in 2022 they are again trying to defame us in order to exclude us from tournaments. Let’s go through this too.

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– How long can such an attitude towards Russian sports in international sports organizations last?

– I think that at the level of club entry we will quickly restore participation in major tournaments. The fact is that we are interesting not only for the results, not only for the fact that people want to compete with us. We are interested in professional communication. We have developed powerful sports and pedagogical methods that are in great demand outside our country. Because all over the world they teach mainly technical points and nuances. And here, first of all, they educate character, teach them to win – this is our coaching school, a tradition of sports pedagogy and psychology. Yes, somewhere we have lost this feature, but in general it has been preserved.

– What should our national sport do today in order to pass this difficult period with dignity?

– First of all, pay attention to the internal selection. Tightening the gaps in primary training is a children’s, school sport, a sport for everyone. And when the floodgates are opened back to us, we must be ready for competition.

Now, due to the exclusion of Russians from many major tournaments, which promise large fees, the price of quick results will fall, and we will be able to prepare guys for the long term. With all the drama of the situation for our sport, a very interesting time is coming when, with our scientific developments, with our human potential, we can create conditions for growth, we can lay, if you like, the ideological base of the sport of the highest achievements in Russia.

– With whom can we compete today in order to remain competitive?

– In my opinion, we need joint championships with Belarus – this will definitely bear fruit, expand the selection.

– And how do you look at the organization of large joint tournaments with the same China or other countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America?

– I don’t think we need to create alternative world championships or anything like that. The world, including the West, knows and understands our potential very well. And be sure to invite us back.

– You often hear from masters of the older generation that we have lost a lot in relation to sports. What do you think we need to bring back today?

– We must return the high value of the title of national champion, the winner of the Russian championship. Here is an example: at one time, looking at Western posters, we learned that there is such a sport – bodybuilding. But who was the idol of then super popular Arnold Schwarzenegger? Our legendary weightlifter Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. Once I had a chance to personally communicate with Schwarzenegger, and he told me: “You are looking at my portraits, which are pasted everywhere. And I myself bow to your great athlete – Yuri Vlasov. And we need to know and remember this no worse than Schwarzenegger – we need to return and strengthen such a healthy respect for our national sports heroes.

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