How to lose 16 kg in 20 days and other feats before the start of the FIAS President's SAMBO Cup in Donghae, Korea
"Welcome to Donghae, the place where every morning starts in Korea." This slogan decorates the walls of the arena where the FIAS President's SAMBO Cup will start tomorrow, on August 30. Read our report and find out how Donghae gets ready for the international tournament, and why morning in the country begins right here.
Donghae is a city on the east coast of South Korea with direct access to the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea in Korea). Here you can watch the wonderful sunrises that give their first rays to the local population, and then continue on their way across the country. However, in the last days of August, a typhoon struck during the big SAMBO tournament in Donghae. For several days now, it's been giving local residents and visitors countless cubic meters of water from the sky. The rain begins suddenly and ends just as suddenly, making it impossible to see the dawn, or even the sunset. As a result, morning in Dongahe looks like this:
However, the sambists weren't discouraged by the situation, and continued to train and prepare for the competitions unconcernedly. The organizers are positive too. A few days before the tournament, they prepared the arena and now made it shine by adding the finishing touches. The work of the Korean specialists was captured in a whole photo gallery. Scroll through them at your leisure!
While the arena where the competitions will take place is occupied, the athletes spend their time in the gym. Some are working on weight, others are working on technique, and still others are working on strength. The look of concentration on their faces shows that the participants are very serious about the tournament.
The participants are very serious about the tournament.
The variety of warm-ups says it all. From running to stretching, from stretching to acrobatics, but when it comes to throws, everything starts moving so fast that the camera can't keep up with the sambists and only gives blurred images. Fortunately, we don't have to show you how we took them. We show only what happened, so you can feel the atmosphere.
Distracting the athletes in this situation seemed unethical, so we directed all our questions to a trainer. Honored Coach of Russia Andrei Kirillin from Komsomolsk-on-Amur is happy to satisfy the journalists' curiosity.
Andrei Kirillin: "SAMBO is a priority sport in Korea"
"The athletes I train are still very young. I don't think they have much chance of winning in this tournament, so the challenge is to be among the runners-up," Kirillin says.
"This isn't my first time in Korea. I worked as a SAMBO trainer for three months in 2007, and I also came here 4 years ago with the guys," he says. "I'd like to say that SAMBO has really grown in this country. A few years ago, we never expected that Korea could hold major international tournaments. When I worked here, SAMBO was more exotic than a serious sport. Now, the progress is obvious. I think it's all an achievement of the President of the local federation, Mr. Moon. His activities are well planned and goal-oriented, and include both training the athletes and attracting sponsors for organizing competitions. Today, all the participants of the FIAS President's Cup can see the results of this work: first-rate accommodation, training and, of course, an incredible arena for the tournament."
"Korean sambists now travel more often to various competitions, and regularly come to Russia and other countries. In my opinion, SAMBO is a priority sport in Korea," Kirillin concludes.
"Today, all the participants of the FIAS President's Cup can see the results of this work: first-rate accommodation, training and, of course, an incredible arena for the tournament."
Along with everything else, we'd like to pay tribute to the work of volunteers at these competitions. Even though the tournament still hasn't started, they're in the arena at full strength with the extraordinary desire to help in solving any problem, no matter how small. So why not give you an opportunity to see these wonderful people?
After the arena, it's time to go to the New Donghae Hotel, where accreditation for the tournament is taking place. In the lobby, there is a friendly crowd of representatives of Thailand, who have already had a long bus ride from Seoul airport to Donghae and have made their way to the wi-fi zone. They were totally absorbed in their phones.
Nattavut Vuttipong was one of the first to look up from his smartphone, which made him a hero of our story. In an interview with the FIAS website, the athlete spoke not only about his experience of participating in SAMBO tournaments, but also about the increased popularity of SAMBO in Thailand.
Nattavut Vuttipong: "I hope we'll be able to win as many medals as possible"
"Two years ago, I took part in my first major international SAMBO competition. That was the World Championships in Japan. Then I competed in the World Championships in Morocco, and now I'm fighting for the FIAS President's Cup in Korea," the Thai athlete said.
"Our whole team is looking forward to the start of the competitions. SAMBO has become increasingly popular in Thailand in the last few years. I think the wide range of techniques makes it attractive. Men can compete in both sport and combat SAMBO. It's a good choice and a great opportunity to prove yourself. Women like SAMBO because it gives them confidence and self-defense skills, without losing their femininity," Vuttipong says.
"A lot of athletes will be competing for Thailand, and I hope we'll be able to win as many medals as possible," he says, showing his positive attitude.
"Our whole team is looking forward to the start of the competitions."
A large audience of fans is likely to come to see the successes and efforts of the sambists to win medals. City officials who are directly involved in organizing the competitions, have gone all out on advertising. So it's not surprising that there are tournament posters hanging on literally every pole. If you don't believe it, here's a riddle for you: how many poles are there in the photo and how many banners for the FIAS President's SAMBO Cup are on them?
Videos with announcements about the tournament are also running on TV, and one of them is on the leading national TV channel KBS. You can't complain about the lack of information on the tournament and SAMBO. The banners welcoming the participants at the 2nd FIAS President's SAMBO Cup certainly set the right tone for them. These banners are placed everywhere at each site of the upcoming tournament, including the entrance to the New Donghae Hotel.
However, some sambists have other things on their mind. There are two main things that they think about before the event: food and scales. They want to eat, but they also have to be weighed to get into their weight class. Behruzzhon Jabbarov of Uzbekistan is the best example of this. The athlete, who is competing in combat SAMBO, had to lose ... 16 kg in 20 days. In an interview with the FIAS website, he talked about how this all was possible and what his girlfriend thought about it.
Behruzzhon Jabbarov: "Despite my diet, I've already tried some Korean food"
"To compete in this tournament, I had to lose 16 kg in 20 days. My normal weight is 98 kg, and when I compete, I go down to 90 kg. But in Korea, the closest suitable weight class for me was 82 kg, so I had to try harder. I had to stick to a diet and eat low carb and high protein food only once a day. And drink lots of water! I also work out 2-3 times a day, where I need to sweat blood," he said.
"Despite my diet, I've already tried some Korean food. I can't remember the name of the dish, I can only say that it was something really hot. After weighing, I'll definitely try something else, but nearly all of this food is still forbidden," Jabbarov said.
"My girlfriend has suffered most of all from this training. For almost a month, I've done nothing but train and watch my diet. We didn't go anywhere or do anything. As a result, she said to me: "After all this, don't even think about not winning the tournament!" So there's no choice for me, I have to win," Jabbarov confides.
"I'm set on the first place only; I never think about second place. I don't know my rivals, and I don't want to know them. I'll go out and fight with a clean slate. Let them study me, and adjust themselves to me. What's next? I hope my next start will be the World SAMBO Championships," he says looking to the future.
"As a result, she said to me: "After all this, don't even think about not winning the tournament!" So there's no choice for me, I have to win."
Unlike the representative of Uzbekistan, a Korean athlete is not quite so emphatic about it. Kim Beom Joon, who is competing in combat SAMBO, said that this tournament was a good opportunity to gain competitive experience. He was one of those who took part in the first FIAS President's SAMBO Cup, which was held last year.
Kim Beom Joon: "I want to be like the Korean sambist Lee Sang Soo"
"Last year's FIAS President's Cup in Pohang was my first international start in SAMBO, so I'm really excited. There are even more participants at the second Cup, so I'm still excited, even though it's not my first tournament," Kim says.
"Success in these competitions for me will be winning medals, but just taking part in this tournament is already a great honor for me. This time, we have a lot of strong opponents, especially Russian athletes from Khabarovsk. It will be hard to compete with them. Anyway, I'll get the experience of competing in such big tournaments," he says.
"I want to be like the Korean sambist Lee Sang Soo, a three-time winner of the A. Kharlampiev Memorial World Cup in Combat SAMBO. I think today's tournament will help me to learn a lot, so I'll be able to achieve this goal," the Korean combat sambist said.
"This time, we have a lot of strong opponents, especially Russian athletes from Khabarovsk."
Soon we'll know which of the sambists proved to be the best. The FIAS President's SAMBO Cup will be held in Donghae on August 30-31. Get the results and read the most interesting facts about the tournament on the FIAS website: www.sambo-fias.org