Freestyle Wrestlers from Russia earned seven medals (4 gold; 3 bronze) at the U-23 European Wrestling Championships 2016. The world leader at 86 kilograms, two time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev was the captain of the Russian team at that tournament. Abdulrashid Sadulaev is released from the upcoming Russian National Championships 2016 by the combined decision of the Russian coaching staff, thus saving his spot at the Russian Wrestling Olympic Team that will compete in Rio 2016 this summer. He had commented on his victory on the U-23 European Championships:
I lost the mat feeling after not competing at the tournaments for half a year. During this tournament I was getting a better feeling each time I was stepping on the wrestling mat. I didn’t have problems with my knee, the main reason why I was absent for a couple of months. Everything is fine.
How do your opponents differ when comparing your opponents at the U-23 European Championships with the world wrestling leaders at your weight category? Are they inferior in many respects?
I will not even compare, these are completely different competitions. At the senior level the matches are lined up quite differently. The younger wrestler are always coming at you, the energy is flowing. You need to get ready for these competitions as serious as for any other at the senior level.
Normally, you are winning all your opponents with the big score 10:0, but in Bulgaria you have gave up the whole five points, and once you were even thrown with the arm-spin.
No one is safe from giving up the points. During the arm-spin I was thinking that I will be able to counter that attack, but my arm got stuck, and you saw what had happened next.
But you reacted very calmly. Were you ready for such-shuffling?
You need to be always ready, for any test. There is nothing special in losing, it can happen with anybody. In my case, I did not panic, I had a feeling that I will be able to win.
Overall, how was the U-23 European Championships?
It was great! After the tournament we had a banquet that was organized by the Olympic Champion, 7-x World Champion Valentin Yordanov. I was very pleased when I was announced to be the best wrestler athlete of this championship (smiles).
The Olympic Games 2016 where you very selected without competition will be in Rio. What associations do you have with Brazil?
I’ve never been in there, but since my childhood I always heard about that country. The first association will be the football, which is the best sport out there, the same as wrestling in Russia (smiles). Also, I heard about the Brazil carnivals, coffee, and criminal. But after the Rio was announced as a host city for the Olympic Games 2016 the only association I have right now is the Games. By the way, my first Russian National Championships I won during the FIFA football world cup in Brazil. During the championships I was cheering for Russia and Portugal, but they did not meet my expectations. Especially the Russian football team, because the group they were in was not so tough.
On April 2, when you were at the championships, “El Clásico” between “Real Madrid” and “Barcelona” were in Spain. Did you have a chance to watch?
I knew that it would be a big football match that day, but after the weighing I came to the room and fall asleep. Only the next morning I found out that Barcelona lost that game. I am a fan of Barcelona team that is why that result sort of disappointed me. But I got an additional stimulus two win my European Championships (smiles).
At the beginning of this Olympic circle, did you expect that you will win two World titles and become the leader in 86 kilograms before the games?
I had some goal, but didn’t expect that everything could turn like that so quick.
Very soon you will know all you opponents who will wrestle in Rio 2016. Do you study them?
Of course! I want to study thoroughly all my opponents before the Olympic Games. I studied all my opponents before my first wrestling world championships, watched their matches, and after that worked on my arsenal of wrestling technique. Olympics are the most important competition that is why I will do the same thing.
What are you plans for the near future?
On April 10, I will be in Kislovodsk with the Dagestan team that is getting ready for the Russia Wrestling National Championships 2016. I was released from the upcoming Russia Wrestling National Championships by our coaching staff headed by Dzhambulat Tedeev, that is why I will be preparing for the International Tournament “Poland Open, Ziolkowski & Pytlasinski 2016” in Poland on 17-19 of June.
Everybody is excited to see Abdulrashid Sadulaev wrestling in Rio 2016. Road to Rio 2016 is going to be fun.
Video: Final wrestling match at the U-23 European Championships at 86 kg between: Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RUS) VS I. MTSITURI (GEO)
Абдулрашид Садулаев: перед Олимпиадой всех соперников хочу изучить досконально