The European Wrestling Championship kicks off in Riga, Latvia.
The year is Olympic but the championship isn’t qualifying, thus I don’t think that we will see a fierce rivalry here.
The championship will begin with the freestyle wrestlers’ performances. Armenia’s team has come with incomplete staff missing a 65kg weight class wrestler which was the coaches’ decision. The leader in this weight class is 2013 European and world champion Davit Safaryan who will come out in the 70kg weight class in this championship. Fighting in a higher weight class Davit Safaryan will spare his energy and evaluate his physical condition before the Rio Olympics where he will come out in his usual weight class.
On my opinion this championship could be a good opportunity for testing 2015 European U23 champion Valodya Frangulyan in 65kg w.c, especially, taking into account his experience in that weight class. It would be better to send here another, younger and less experienced wrestler.
Garik Barseghyan (57kg) has a real chance to win a medal. He is in good shape and the evidence of it are the medals conquered in international tournaments.
2014 European silver medalist Grigor Grigoryan (74kg) who stands out for his strong will in case of trying hard can grab a medal. I think this way he will recover his self-confidence before the Olympic qualifiers.
Armenia’s freestyle wrestling team head coach Arayik Baghdadyan has trusted the young wrestler Shamir Atyan with the 86kg weight class. He is a promising wrestler and has had several spectacular victories in international tournaments thereby winning the trust and approval of the team coaches.
Andranik Galustyan will represent Armenia in the 97kg weight class. He is also young and hasn’t got much experience yet.
The last wrestler is Levan Berianidze in 125kg w.c. who is the one of the team who has got an Olympic qualification.
On March 12 the freestyle wrestlers will give way to the Greco-Roman wrestlers.
In the 59 weight class Armenia will be represented by one of the most experienced wrestlers of our team, Roman Amoyan who despite the projections and injuries keeps coming out in the team and trying his best for the honor of the country.
In the 66kg weight class European first games’ silver medalist Mihran Harutyunyan will try to conquer gold. We all remember how the referees seized his medal at the 2015 World Championship in Las Vegas. I reckon Harutyunyan has to win not only the opponents but the referees.
Varsham Boranyan will come out in the 71kg weigh class. The experienced wrestler is also a medal contender but in his case luck plays a big role as he had fallen behind in conquering a medal several times because of getting hurt during the trainings.
Two-time world junior champion Karapet Chalyan (75kg) will make his debut at the European Championship. The leader of the 71kg weight class, 2014 world champion Arsen Julfalakyan will miss the championship for preparing for the Olympic qualifiers.
2016 Takhti Cup winner Rafik Manukyan will come out in the 80kg weight category.
Our hope in the 85kg weight class is Maksim Manukyan who is known for his throws. Unfortunately, he has a problem with breathing if he manages to minimize it he will have real chances to grab a medal.
Olympic bronze medalist, two-time world and three-time European champion Artur Aleksanyan (98kg) has come to Riga after his fourth gold medal.
Armenia’s representative in the 130kg weight class is young wrestler Edgar Khachatryan.
They say in sports, especially in wrestling predictions are idle things, in this case, they say, the carpet will show. I just wish our athletes luck and wait for medals with you.
ANOC press office
The tournament will be held in team format.
Chess Championship our men’s team will play with France and the women with Russia.
Anastasia Galustyan will compete in the short program on March 20 and Slavik Hayrapetyan.
At 72 kg Malkhas Amoyan lost the repechage round.
The training camp in Tsakhkadzor finishes on November 2