Gogi Koguashvili: “Vlasov is always set to work and fight only for the gold medal”

Today the Russian Greco-Roman wrestling team will go to Kaspiysk, where the European championship will start on April 30 starts. On the day of his 49th birthday, Gogi Koguashvili, Head Coach of the team, five-time world champion and bronze medalist of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games answered our questions.

– Congratulations. What kind of sports presents do you expect from your students in Kaspiysk? We want to believe that they will not tell the coach, as in a football joke, that they have already given a tie.

– The team is well ready. If something unexpected does not happen, the guys have to show their best.

– Is the team able to exceed the result of the 2009 European Championship in Vilnius, where they won four gold medals?

– Why not? No one gives me a plan, but I can make it for myself.

– All the winners of the Ivan Poddubny Grand Prix, held in January, except for the super heavyweighter Sergey Semenov were included in the composition of the European championship. How do you  explain your decision?

– Sergei is a little sick. But it is not a problem if he misses the European Championships. He will prepare for the World Cup, which will be held in October in Budapest.

– It turns out that the tournament in memory of Poddubny in Krasnodar became a kind of qualifying event for the European Championships?

– It turns out so. After there was only one international tournament at the beginning of April the in Estonia (Palusalu Memorial). All those who are now going to take part in the European Championships performed  in Tallinn. And all of them showed good results; eight people won the competitions, two became prize-winners.

– The Olympic Games are still long way off. However, will the Kaspiysk tournament become the first qualification stage on the way to Tokyo?

– Olympic licenses are not being played yet. But two years before the Olympics, each competition is a qualifying one. Those, who will be successful, will increase their chances of getting into the team that will go to Japan.

– Rio 2016 Olympic champion Davit Chakvetadze, who received a knee injury at the World Championships in Paris, will not perform in Kaspiysk. What’s his condition?

– Davit was at the training camp in Zvenigorod. There is a clear plan in what competitions he will perform. Now he is preparing for the national championship. And what happens next depends on his sports shape. We will not include anyone in the team for their past achievements.

– Was it an extended training camp?

– A standard one. About 55 athletes worked there.

– Isn’t it too many people?

– Not at all. If there is no one except for the first numbers, then they will have no one to train with. Sometimes we call three times more fighters; that is an extended training camp. This time, there are 4-5 people in each weight category apart from those, who will go to the European Championships. Among them there are those who are recovering from injuries.

– Roman Vlasov won in Rio in the under 75 kg weight category; at the last year’s World Cup he performed in the under 80 kg category and stumbled in the first fight. Now he will perform in the under 77 kg category. Don’t such weight changes create any problems?

– Absolutely not. Vlasov is always set to work and fight only for the gold medals. And the changes do not depend on us. After all, we are on equal footing with our opponents. Although I hope that this issue will be stabilized.

– Does the fact that the championship is held in Russia serve as an extra incentive for the athletes?

– Certainly, it does. In Dagestan, Freestyle Wrestling is more popular. However there is also a good Greco-Roman school. Among others, Ramazan Abacharaev, 2016 world champion, was trained in it. I have no doubt that the successful performance of our team at the European Championships will give an additional impetus to the development of Greco-Roman Wrestling in Dagestan.