Armenia’s Greco-Roman wrestling team returned from the World Championship with two medals.
Slavik Galstyan registered his first achievement in a senior tournament, taking the bronze in 63kg weight category.
In an interview with Mediamax Sport, Galstyan summed up the year, talked the good and the bad moment, and outlined the goals he wants to reach in 2020.
The first medal of 2019 and the lesson of believing in the win too early
The season began with the U23 European Championship, where I won a silver medal. Everything was great until the final, I won all my matches.
My opponent in the final was a champion of Europe and the world. I had the advantage early into the match, but I let him win too many points. I think I just lost my focus and became careless. In the end, I lost.
After that I realized I must fight till the very end, because every second matters. I also came to understand that I can beat anyone, I just need to be confident and believe in myself.
From mental readiness to correct analysis of mistakes
Next, I competed in the senior European Championship. I really wanted to win a medal. I can’t say I had the wrong attitude, I did earn the opportunity to fight for the bronze, but I lost that match.
I was quite upset after that defeat. I couldn’t focus, figure out what I did wrong. Later, my coach and I analyzed my matches, and we saw that I could do better and win medals.
Being mentally ready is very important for me. Physical training alone is not enough to succeed. I started working on this as well. Of course, my family, friends and coach all help me, but ultimately it is up to me to overcome difficulties.
The injury and the World Championship
I got injured during a training session soon after the European Championship. There was a possibility I could miss the World Championship, because my injury was quite serious.
I didn’t train for two months to recover. It was only before the final training camp that I learned I would go to the tournament. The coaches believed I could compete and I knew I was ready.
I was in good form, so I wasn’t worried about other athletes in my weight category despite their many titles. I performed well and it was a tactical mistake that cost me the match against Stepan Maryanyan. I could only compete for the bronze medal after it.
The first senior medal and Olympic weight class
The fact that I was fighting for a medal made me more careful. The hard work it took to reach that milestone meant I just had to win. I realized that only six minutes stood between me and the medal, so I aimed solely for the win.
It was my first senior medal. The feeling I had was so different from the times I won medals in youth and junior tournaments! The bronze felt like a title to me.
My confidence has grown a lot since I won it. Now I’m working with the coach to fix my errors so that I can perform even better next year.
63kg is not an Olympic weight class. In a few days I will participate in the Armenian Championship, in the 67kg category, which is included in the Olympics. I will try to get the gold medal and compete in qualifying tournaments next year. Another goal is to prepare for the European Championship.
Gohar Nalbandyan talked to Slavik Galstyan
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan