Khadzhimurat Gatsalov: Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling
According to unofficial data, North Ossetia occupiesthe first place in the world in terms of the specific number of champions in freestyle wrestling per capita. So it or not - it is not known exactly. However, one can say with certainty: freestyle wrestling is very popular in the republic. Because of the huge competition at the domestic level, many athletes are leaving to compete for other countries. One of those who was not afraid of tough struggle and stayed in Russia is the legendary Khadzhimurat Gatsalov, five-time world champion and prize-winner of the Olympics. Some time ago, he successfully moved from the category to 96 kg in the heavyweight.
The first steps of the champion
Khadzhimurat Soltanovich Gatsalov was born in the NorthOssetia, in the village of Chikola. He was brought up in an Ossetian family, professing Islam. He has three older brothers. All of them are professional sportsmen. In childhood, our hero often tried on medals, which they brought from the competition.
The boy began to study in freenative village, after which he decided to develop further, having moved to the capital of the republic. In Vladikavkaz, Khadzhimurat began to train in the sports club "Alans". His coach and mentor was Vadim Tseboev. Their cooperation continues to this day.
Gatsalov since childhood dreamed of getting to the Olympics. In 2000, he already felt the strength to go on conquering the coveted summit. When did a native of North Ossetia begin to speak for the Russian national team? This happened in 2001 after the guy achieved the first prizes in domestic competitions.
Soon the first victories of the international level followed. In 2002, Khadzhimurat Gatsalov won the World Cup in the American city of Spokane.
Decisive for the Ossetian athlete was the victory in the Russian championship in 2002. Thus, he secured an Olympic ticket to the Games in Athens.
Khadzhimurat Gatsalov is a prettya rare combination of physical strength, intelligence and speed in the world of sport. At his first Olympics, a young athlete, who recently acted at the junior level, was absolutely calm, calculated every movement of his rivals. He did not succumb to emotions. Especially notable was his fight in the semifinals.He was confronted by the future champion of mixed style fights under the UFC version - Daniel Cormier. The Russian freestyle wrestler did not yet know about it. Ossetian confidently outplayed the American fighter.
In the finals he acted against the Uzbek wrestler Ibrahimov. In a bitter struggle, our hero managed to win. He brought the Russian national team a gold medal in the category up to 96 kg.
After this, in the world of free-style wrestling came the real era of Khadzhimurat Gatsalov. For several years he won the world championships, having accumulated 4 titles by 2010.
Calm and Return
Freestyle wrestling is a very traumatic sport. Over the years of active careers wrestlers are overgrown with injuries, various injuries, lose speed, sharpness. Hadzhimurat Gatsalov began to appear young rivals. There came a period when the Ossetian athlete could not win at the international level. But he did not despair.The triumphant return took place in 2013, when the Ossetian again won the world championship. He did this, stepping from his usual weight division into a heavyweight.
A year later Khadzhimurat Gatsalov again travels toworld championship. He had to fight in the category of up to 120 kg. In Tashkent, he did not remain without rewards. H. Gatsalov took a bronze medal. Despite the successful experiment, in 2016 the athlete returns to the usual weight class to 96 kg. Ossetian was going to participate in the championship of the country, which became a selection for the Olympics in Rio. Here he could not oppose the Anzor Boltukaev who caught courage, who eventually won a clean victory.