2015 U23 European freestyle wrestling champion, 2017 European bronze medalist Valodya Frangulyan in an interview with the ANOC press service talked about his return to the mat after an injury, future plans and ups and downs of his career .
-You have won medals in all age group teams but the culmination of your career was in 2015 when you first won Alexandr Medved tournament than became a European U23 champion. Afterwards your sports career in some way went down. What changed?
-From the beginning of 2015 I performed well, everything went well both during at trainings and tournaments. Then I lost the very first bout of the European Games. After it I won Stepan Sargsyan tournament and again lost the World Championship in Las Vegas in September. I think I had to change my weight class at once as 2016 was an Olympic year. I wanted to participate in the Olympic Games but I didn’t change my weight class and my career went down on its culmination.
-In your opinion, was that failure connected with psychological or simply training problems?
-After my success in 2015 I thought I could become a champion in Las Vegas and it was one of my goals. That’s why I put off my weight class change. I thought I would take part in the World Championship and then would move to the 65 kg weight category but I failed to win in the USA. After it I stayed in the same weight class for three more years though there were tournaments where I performed at 65 kg. In 2018 I decided to compete in an Olympic weight class because by the current rules I couldn’t fight in the 57 kg weight class. It’s tough to lose 7-8 kilos and perform well that’s why I decided to try my luck at 65 kg and fight for the Olympic Games.
-They say the 61 kg weight class was perfect for you while at 65 kg there are some difficulties, especially with the mass.
-The 61 kg weight class was perfect for me because I have performed there for many years. Then I began to feel the difference between Olympic and non-Olympic weight classes. Every athlete dreams of taking part in Olympic Games and why not, winning them. I chose to fight badly for 1-2 years but then to be able to participate in Olympics. It is better than to train in the 61 kg weight class without any chance of it. As for the mass and physical problem I can say I was never mighty physically but thanks to my technical and tactical skills I’ve always managed to succeed, and, to say the truth, I hardly image how I can fight being strong, that’s not my style.
-The rivalry in your weight class (65 kg) is very high both in Armenia and in the whole world. Will it motivate you more?
-In Armenia Vazgen Tevanyan, David Safaryan, Vardges Karapetyan, Narek Sirunyan are worthy opponents, I don’t underestimate any of them. I’d also say that high rivalry in any weight class helps Armenia to win medals in world and European championships. It’s one more incentive to train better as at any moment your opponents can bypass you. I’m used to it since my childhood. At world and European youth championships I had opponents who were winners of world and European adults championships. It makes you more skilful. Any difficulty brings you a victory and I haven’t had easy victories. And I don’t think anyone had them.
-Who is the toughest opponent for you in Armenia?
- I have not wrestled with neither Vazgen nor David. I don’t want to single out anyone. It won’t be easy with any of them and the thing is I haven’t won them with a great difference. There were times when I won in equal bouts but the most important is the result. How and whom I will win is secondary.
-How do you feel after a seven-month break?
-They were tough fights. I wouldn’t say that my opponents lacked experience. This tournament helped me psychologically to understand I don’t feel fear any more. I’m happy I’ve returned with a medal but I’m not pleased with the overall result.
-What impeded you in the final?
-I made a mistake twice, I couldn’t wait and lost. I wasn’t fully prepared for the tournament, but it’s already in the past. I’ll try to do more at the European Games and to be on the top of my shape.
-Is Tokyo the final goal?
-I don’t want to anticipate. I’ll do my best to qualify for the Olympic Games.
On June 30 Artur Aleksanyan (97 kg) will fight for a gold medal.
The place and the final list of participants will be announced on January, 2016
On the first day wrestlers of 57kg, 65kg, 74kg and 97kg weight classes…
Robert Hovhannisyan is one point behind the leader