2011 declared year of Russian classical wresting
Russia, like its predecessor the Soviet Union, is the unquestionable leader on the Olympic medal tables for combined Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling.That glory and the heroes whose names mark milestones in the history of wrestling are being celebrated at FILA headquarters .The "Hall of Fame" will remain in Switzerland for a year and will go on a tour of Russia shortly before the London Olympics.“The strongest federation, the federation, which received the most important results in the world, is Russia. I think today is the Russian day and not only the Russian day, but the Russian year in wrestling and I hope the expedition will be very good today,” Raphael Martinetti, FILA president, said. Olympic champions representing several generations have arrived for the grand opening commemorating the great Ivan Poddubny – the man, who turned a circus spectacle into a popular Olympic event.There were many after him like Alexander Medved, Alexander Karelin and Ivan Yaryigin, to name just a few. Love for their country was one common trait.“There was patriotism, pure patriotism… The work you did gave you pleasure. You excelled and it was great happiness. We did it for honor and glory, while the remuneration was purely symbolic,” Soslan Andiev, two-time Olympic champion, said. The Russians are keen on promoting their model of wrestling all over the world. While the national team still rules on the mat and is expected to sweep the podium in London 2012, the federation is after another trophy – and that is making this sport popular and available everywhere.“Domination leads to stagnation in thinking, lack of development… That’s why we decided to establish an International Wrestling Academy in Moscow, which will bring together the best minds and theorists of wrestling. There’ll be a training center attached to the academy, one designed to advance wrestling the world over,” Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s sports minister, said. While other nations' commitment to wrestling is never underestimated, the Russians always treat anything but a first place as a loss. A sentiment echoed throughout the who’s who of wrestling history at this event. ”It must be our fate as a strong wrestling power to promote it all over the world. That’s one of our national interests. But we mustn’t relax the inner rivalry. Though, let me tell you this. I don’t believe that we shall ever irrevocably lose our world lead,” Aleksandr Karelin, three-time Olympic champion, said. The opening of the international academy of wrestling in Moscow is some time away. But the global partnership agreement between the international wrestling federation and its Russian counterpart has been in place since 2008.It is a part of a program called “Fight and Win” created with the help of Russian businesses aimed at supporting the sport.“Among other things, we donated mats to many countries, organized joint training sessions and seminars. We raised champions in different countries who now promote the sport and who are responsible for the popularity of wrestling where they are,” Georgy Bryusov, vice president of Russia's Wrestling Federation, said. Cooperation between the Russian and International Federations of Associated Wrestling Styles is invaluable for the development of this sport throughout the globe. Promotional events, training seminars for athletes and coaches and staging of tournaments around the world are just some of their projects. And the declaration of 2011 as the year of Russian classical wrestling is probably a well deserved recognition.