Turkmenistan Wrestling is a generation game
There will be high expectations placed on the Turkmenistan Wrestling team when they bid for glory during the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games which will be hosted in their capital city of Ashgabat from 17–27 September.
Wrestling is Turkmenistan’s favourite pastime and love for the sport has been transferred down from parent to children for generations.
So expect the Main Indoor Arena at the impressive Ashgabat Olympic Complex to be full of proud family members who will be among the adoring thousands cheering on their national heroes.
Brothers Batyr and Dovletmyrat Orazgylyjov were introduced to the sport by their father, Owazgeldi, who was an accomplished Wrestler himself.
“Our father used to be a good Wrestler and we grew up watching him compete. It had a big impact on our lives,” said 24-year-old Batyr, who will compete in 70kg weight category. “He was the reason we took up Wrestling. In the beginning, I didn’t have the physical attributes to be a Wrestler. But my father encouraged me to hang on. I persevered and now I’m in the national team.”
Dovletmyrat, who turned 21 in May, added his brother to the list of people who inspired him to take up the sport.
“Of course, our father was a huge inspiration. But unlike Batyr, I don’t remember seeing too many of his fights. I used to accompany my older brother for his training sessions and that’s how I got hooked on the sport. Now we travel everywhere together, especially for competitions. It’s great to have him so close to me,” said Dovletmyrat, who will compete in 74kg category.
The brothers admitted that their father’s still provided expert advice from time to time and continues to be their biggest fan.
“Sure, training methods have changed and so has the sport. But our father’s experience remains invaluable. He attends all our bouts and we always seek his advice. He’s a great blessing,” said Dovletmyrat.
Just like the Orazgylyjov brothers, Didar Bairamov (86kg) was also introduced to the sport early in life by a family member — his mother.
“I started training to be a Wrestler when I was still in Grade One. Thinking back, my mother encouraged me the most to be a Wrestler. To this day, I wonder why she pushed me into a heavy contact sport like this. I could’ve shone equally well in track and field but I’m thankful because now I’m representing Turkmenistan at the highest levels,” he said.
Saparmurat Myradov had only his brother Shatlyk to thank for introducing him to the world of Wrestling.
“Shatlyk, who’s now retired, opened the doors to Wrestling for me. He’s still a big part of my daily routine as he turns up to watch me train. He observes and gives me tips to improve my skills. He’ll cheer for me when I fight at Ashgabat 2017,” said the 65kg category competitor.
Berdi Atabayev found his own way into Wrestling and at 31-year-old he is the most experienced member of the squad having taken up the sport 18 years ago.
“Despite being in the sport for close to two decades, my heart still races whenever I enter the arena. I simply love Wrestling and at home, I’m hoping to win a gold medal in the 57kg category. It’s going to be hard, but I’m prepared. We’ll have some good training camps ahead of Ashgabat 2017 and it’ll stand us in good stead,” he said.
The team’s Iranian coach Seyed Morad Mohammedi elaborated on the team’s training plans at home and abroad.
“For quite some time, we had been training at home 10 times a week,” he said. “But we have mixed it in with some training camps abroad, including a 15-day camp in Madrid. It will all help us to be ready for the tough competition ahead.”
The coach also shared his expectations from the team.
“Currently, Turkmen Freestyle Wrestlers are the third or fourth best in the world. Our aim is to finish among the top two. I believe we’re well on our way there. Ashgabat 2017 will be a big proving ground for my team. I expect them to win at least three or four medals in all. Anything else would be disappointing,” he said.
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