The path of Greco-Roman wrestler Adam Kurak to his first Russian championship – in the weight category up to 66 kg – was not fast and steep.
After graduating school, he moved, as he says himself, from the monument city of Yeniseisk to Krasnoyarsk. In the capital of the region, Adam continued to train with his first mentor Sergei Sitnikov. Here Kurak successfully graduated from the Krasnoyarsk School of Olympic Reserve, then, continuing to train at the ShVSM, entered the Institute of Combat Sports of the KSPU named after. V.P. Astafieva, where he is now studying in the fourth year.
Until his recent victory at the national championship, Adam considered the bronze medal of the youth championship of Russia to be his only serious success. Here is one manifestation characteristic of Kurak: before the start of this interview, he asked to convey words of gratitude to everyone who helped him win the title – coaches Sergei Sitnikov and Mikhail Gamzin, guys from the Krasnoyarsk Territory national team, doctors of the regional medical and physical dispensary (first of all, Elena Kolmakova), athletic training mentor Yuri Vasiliev, as well as chefs from the ShVSM cafe. “Each of them contributed to my victory a part of their work, professionalism, kindness,” – Adam justified his request.
Nazyr said – how …
– The gold medal of the champion of the country is your first big success on the “adult” carpet?
– Yes. Previously, I could not win – I lost in decisive battles. But together with the coaches Sergey Vasilyevich Sitnikov we analyzed past performances, outlined a plan for how to improve my fitness. Then they did a lot of work, and it probably gave a result. In the final of the Russian championship, he fought with Arunat Kuchinov from Omsk. Before that, he won six times against me. Slightly something was missing to defeat Arunat …
– What helped this time to defeat the previously undefeated opponent?
– Aslanbek Khushtov and Nazyr Mankiev set me up for the fight very well: they say, forget everything that happened before – come out and fight! So everything worked out fine. Mikhail Aleksandrovich Gamzin gave me a very accurate second during the fight. Together, this helped.
– And didn’t you worry at all, going to the final fight?
– Yes. Didn’t “burn” at all. Maybe because the Olympic champions were setting up. No thoughts: I just went out to fight, and there – come what may. We managed to complete all the settings for the fight. And quickly everything turned out like this – he did his job, won. In two periods it was kept. In the opening, it is true, Kuchinov rolled forward, but I turned around, went up and, with a 1: 1 draw, got an advantage in the last active action. And in the second period he imposed pressure on Omsk, drove him so over the carpet that he was punished for his passivity for avoiding the fight, and he was transferred to the ground. And I earned another point – 2: 0.
– It seems that for you the final turned out to be a rather ordinary fight: maybe there were more difficult fights on the way to it?
– Yes, I fought against the prize-winner of the European Youth Championship Magomedov for reaching the final. He was very well prepared physically. He fought in such a high-speed mode that all his rivals from fatigue at the end of the fight literally fell off their feet. In the first period, Magomedov, acting at a high pace, literally pulled me up and won 3: 0. I could not adapt to him in any way. But then it started. The second period was held in the same crazy rhythm, but this time I won with the same score. It was very difficult in the third round. I didn’t have enough breath, but I endured it, passed the “dead” point and at the end of the fight Magomedov broke down, could not do anything … Again 3: 0 in my favor. It was a very difficult fight.
– Rejoiced at the title?
– Of course, it was nice that everything worked out so well. I thought before that: it would be great to get into the top five, but I am returning with gold. I called my mother in Yeniseisk, informed about the victory. But there was no emotional outburst. Just fatigue and relief, as from a job well done.
– Does anyone else in the family go in for sports?
– Misha is the son of my sister Tatyana (she and her mother works at the bakery, they bake delicious buns) – he is also engaged in struggle. The first places in the region for young men are already taking.
– So he has someone to take an example from, and you yourself had idols?
– No, at his age There was no one. Trained, performed, became a master of sports somehow unnoticed. And now our Olympians – Nazyr Mankiev and Aslanbek Khushtov – charged me with the spirit of the winners, they created a champion aura in the team. They give a lot of advice, they say how classes are held in the Russian national team, what requirements are imposed on athletes, how coaches behave and many different little things from life. But for us, these are not trifles at all: in each detail there is its own key, its own hint. So now I know who to take an example from – Khushtova and Mankieva.
– Well, the dream, perhaps, has now appeared corresponding?
– First, I would like to pass the selection and perform in September at the World Championships. But for this you need to show yourself better than the 2009 European champion Vachadze – he is still number one in the Russian national team in my weight.
– Apparently, you are a kind, calm guy, but you yourself say: you go out on the carpet to beat. How do you set yourself up before the fight?
– I hit myself in the face, get started: I must, must, I must go and fight! I don’t scold my opponent or myself.
Football is for us
– What subjects are students of Kurak more interested in?
– The most interesting subjects at the institute for me are: medical supervision, as well as those that help to better understand what happens to the athlete’s body during exercise. I like the psychology of sports. Doctor of Sciences Alexander Ivanovich Zavyalov, head of the institute, talks a lot about the work of the heart. All this helps to better understand how to prepare for competitions and behave during a tournament.
– Are there any disciplines that do not inspire to study at all?
– Yes , Unfortunately. Swimming, for example. I don’t think that in the future I will become a swimming coach or instructor, but I must know the breaststroke technique, backstroke, and other styles – to master the method of teaching and learning swimming in the smallest detail. As a future teacher, I tell myself that I still have to know this subject too – I sit down and teach.
– You have a CUOR diploma, you are studying in the fourth year of a physical education institution, but does knowledge about sports and the human body interfere with Kurak the athlete? Remember the centipede?
– A man is not a centipede, knowledge only helps to move forward, helps to better understand what the coach wants from you in training. You know that without rough work you won’t gain strength or endurance.
– Is Sitnikov a very strict coach?
– I wouldn’t say. When he came to our class, he talked about wrestling, and then in the section we not only wrestled, but also played sports games, because you can’t lure boys into fighting alone. Now I understand that he was looking closely at us, how we behave on the field. Sergei Vasilyevich diversified training, but still, many then deserted to football. Yes, I myself went to football and played basketball, although I immediately chose to fight for the main sport. Playing team sports develops a sense of well-being, they unite the team. We, fighters, also regularly play football. It is both fun and useful.
Ostap will bring to London
– When you don’t need to lose weight, what is your favorite dish?
– Borsch. Mom’s borscht.
– Do you know how to cook it yourself?
– (With a laugh). No I do not know how to. We usually cook simple soups at training camps. Boil the meat, throw vermicelli or potatoes, spices, bay leaves into the broth – and that’s it. After all, borscht should be cooked for two or three hours: cabbage, carrots, beets, tomatoes should be put into a saucepan in time. I usually have neither time nor patience for all this. Everything is busy with training and study. In the hostel, I usually cook chicken soups with potatoes.
– What else do you like in life besides borscht?
– I like to read books about the history of Russia. I wonder how the country has changed, people. I reread Ilf and Petrov’s The Golden Calf three times. Each time I found some new interesting moments that I had not paid attention to before. Not funny – just about life. At first, however, I saw a film with Sergei Yursky as Ostap Bender, and then I found the book and read it. When I have a rest, I like to listen to instrumental classical music. And when I learn, for example, English, then I include some collections in this language.
– And how are you progressing in mastering a foreign language?
– For now. I taught German at KUOR. Now it turns out that I am learning a second language. I have already forgotten German – I put more emphasis on English so that I can communicate with athletes from other countries.
– Yeniseysk is a city of ancient cathedrals and monasteries … Are you a believer?
– I cannot call myself a true believer: I do not observe fasting, because it interferes with sports … But in Yeniseisk he often went to church. Here, in Krasnoyarsk, I was baptized and come to the Cathedral of the Annunciation. I put candles on. I think, reflect on life, talk mentally … I need this, and it helps me.
– Do you often go home to Yeniseisk?
– Rarely, unfortunately. If I get a break in training for two or three days, then I pull up my studies at the institute.
– And in the summer?
– We usually have summer camps outside Krasnoyarsk. We swing “physics”: we swim, we run cross-country, we gain strength. I do not swim very stylishly, but I swam across the Tagarskoye Lake back and forth. It will be about three kilometers. True, the guys nearby were sailing on a catamaran – just in case.
– And if you need to swim across the English Channel to get to the London Olympics, can you?
– I don’t know, but I will try. We definitely swim once a week – after the steam room. And in Adler we swim in the sea at the training camp.
– Do you have a dream?
– Find a place in life – to be useful to society.
– What about sports?
– Win the Olympic Games. In order not to lose a lot of work, mine and coaches. After all, I have been engaged in wrestling for 14 years – since the third grade.