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By , 05/23/16, 1:30PM EDT


(MOSCOW, May 22) Russia wrestling team head coach Dzhambulat Tedeev shared his thoughts and plans about the qualification plan for the Russia Wrestling Olympic team members, the mass brawl on the wrestling mat and the doping scandal.

Russia Freestyle Wrestling Championship 2016 will start next week in Yakutsk on May 26 where the Russia freestyle wrestling Olympic team will be formed to represent Russia at the summer Olympic Games 2016 in Rio, Brazil. One of the most successful wrestling coaches Dzhambulat Tedeev spoke about the importance of the Russia National Championship and how the selection will be organized.

– How is the preparation going for the Russia championship 2016 in Yakutsk?

All athletes, thank God, are alive and well, without major injuries. Some wrestlers are getting ready in their own regions, and some have already arrived to Yakutsk, to pass pre-acclimatization.

– What role will the Russia Wrestling Championship play in the selection for the Olympic Games Russia Wrestling Team?

This is the final stage of the selection, but the results of the Russia wrestling championship will play just a partial role in the decision making. Preference will be given to those who performed better during the whole wrestling cycle on the international arena and against foreign competitors.

– So, the victory in the Russia Wrestling Championship does not guarantee the spot at the Russia wrestling Olympic team, does it?

Of course, the champions will not go to the Olympics, but objectively the best wrestlers will. It is impossible to assess the level of the wrestler based just on one competition. Some wrestlers can perform well at the national tournament, but can get lost on the international arena.

– In what weight category do you expect the toughest competition?

 Firstly, in the 96kg weight category, where we have three equal contenders: Khadzhimurat Gatsalov, Abdusalam Gadisov and Anzor Boltukayev Boltukayev. Who will win from them will go to Rio de Janeiro. Abdulrashid Sadulaev at the weight category up to 86 kg had already guaranteed himself the spot at the Olympic Team, because he won last two World Wrestling Championships without losing a single point. We decided to release him from this National championship. He will be preparing for the Games on an individual program. We have different approach for different weight categories. We are interested to send the best wrestlers from Russia to compete in Rio this summer and to bring back medals.

How do you evaluate the current shape of the heavyweight Bilyal Makhov? Do you admit any possibility of him wrestling in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling?

Bilyal Makhov – three-time world champion and a very experienced wrestler. Today, he is really ready to battle for the gold medal. We had analyzed his performance at the last World Cup and decided that he will compete in freestyle wrestling. Now he is preparing in Yakutsk, he is in good shape and I think that he will win Russia wrestling championship this year. Regardless of the result he is the number one contender for the Olympic team.

– Is the level of the other heavyweights much lower?

This is true. Even with a bad performance in Yakutsk Bilal will go to the Olympics.

– What do you think about the Olympic champion 2008 Shirvani Muradov returning to the mat? Does he has a chance to return to his previous wrestling level?

I respect him. He is a very good wrestler, a champion and our younger brother. I respect his choice. This is his right to return to the mat.

– Recently, the Cadet Russia Wrestling Championship turned to a mass brawl with weapons. Will the specific security measures adapted to the upcoming senior level championship?

Definitely. Such actions should be punished, and need to be avoided. What happened in Stary Oskol, pure chaos – lawlessness. The more severe the punishment will be, in my opinion, is better because it is a sport. If you are strong, you need to prove it on the mat. A showdown is never welcome after a match. No normal person will behave this way.

– Do you worry about the talks that the Russian Team will not be admitted to the Olympic Games because of the doping scandals?

We keep our eyes open, but I believe that we are not threatened. We are the wrestlers, doping in our team was never an option. Even in the case with the ban of meldonium we have warned in advance all our wrestlers, and therefore avoiding all the problems. So we have nothing to fear.

– What do you think about the new graphic designs of the singlets that were adopted by United World Wrestling?

Unfortunately, we cannot influence such decisions. But whatever decision is taken, it is necessary to wrestle no matter what singlet you will be wearing. We don’t pay too much attention to such things. We do not care what we will be wearing during the wrestling match, the main thing is to win.