• Ashot MARKARYAN: "Only hard work and character are the key to the success of every athlete"

Ashot MARKARYAN: "Only hard work and character are the key to the success of every athlete"

22 December 2022 FIAS
Ashot MARKARYAN: "Only hard work and character are the key to the success of every athlete"

The legendary sambist and entrepreneur Ashot Markaryan, in an interview for the FIAS website, spoke about the role of SAMBO in his development in business and politics, competition within the SAMBO community, as well as the main factors of any victory.

Ashot, you are a two-time world champion and European champion in SAMBO. Why did you decide to choose SAMBO from all kinds of sports?

– Traditionally in the Caucasus, all the guys dream of wrestling, so in a sense the choice was limited. In addition, in my hometown, SAMBO was the only good section. We got the first basics back at school, where we were taught the basic techniques of wrestling, and only then the interested guys began to independently look for sections where they could continue their education.

Did you immediately realize that SAMBO would become your life's work?

– In fact, at that time we did not really understand the concepts of freestyle wrestling, SAMBO or judo. The whole point was precisely in wrestling, so it was initially difficult to understand which particular sport would arouse the greatest interest. Only in the process of getting acquainted with each discipline separately I did realize that SAMBO is the most attractive martial art for me.

In your opinion, has SAMBO helped you achieve success in other areas, such as business and politics?

– Of course, because the struggle shapes the personality. Hard work and a lot of work on yourself is at the heart of any victory, even the smallest one. And this is true not only for sports, but for life in general. Of course, champion ambitions contribute to the formation and development of a person throughout the life path. By analogy with sports, they help to resist, endure difficulties and continue to move forward. In fact, the technology of life is very similar to wrestling.

You are a deputy and a successful businessman. Does your SAMBO past help you feel people better, understand their expectations both in politics and in business?

– Definitely it helps. In Soviet times, people, as a rule, grew up without any heritage. We all started from the same platform and went the whole way of becoming on our own. Naturally, in this case, reaching a certain political or economic level, a person better understands the difficulties that not only athletes, but also ordinary people may face. He knows the situation from the inside and has an idea of those nuances that often remain out of sight.

Despite your busy schedule, you attend major SAMBO competitions. How do you manage to do everything?

– You can always find time for what you love. You asked what SAMBO means to me. The answer is very simple: SAMBO is a state of mind. I always have a desire to immerse myself in this atmosphere, if the opportunity arises. After all, SAMBO is a sport that unites people. I never miss the opportunity to come to a good event and communicate with like-minded people. Thanks to SAMBO, the geography of our friendship is wide and varied.


Your son is also a sambist…

– Yes, you can say that he is a sambist by inheritance. And in a sense, his choices were limited, although he played other sports as well. Anyway, wrestling was his destiny. However, we have never emphasized that the main thing in life is the struggle. Human development must always be harmonious, which includes both sports and education. Further on all the will of God.

But did your son choose SAMBO as a way of life by himself?

– If we talk about the present moment, then yes. However, few people at an early age can say with certainty what they will do. At this stage, it is still necessary to direct, and already in the period of growing up, a person himself makes a choice in favor of his favorite business. For example, my youngest son was involved in wrestling and hockey, but eventually settled on the latter and has already achieved success in this area.

Do you think you are an example for your son?

– I hope I am. However, the merits and authority of parents can put pressure on children, and one cannot but agree with this. For this reason, I always try to abstract and give a person the opportunity to develop himself.

And how does your son perceive your presence at the competitions? Does it help or, conversely, hinder?

– I think everything is individual. For some people, this probably helps. Based on personal experience, I can say that I had close people whom I loved very much, but it was in the competitive process that they even annoyed me somewhere. At the same time, you feel a great responsibility towards them. Therefore, as a rule, I try not to interfere in the process, although it does not always work out.


How do you generally assess the last World Championships, which took place in Bishkek?

– The variety of the athletes is quite interesting. We see that in almost all weight categories there is serious competition. As for the tournament in general, in my opinion, everything is organized at a decent level. It should be noted that a small hall is even better suited for wrestling. When at the arena this format, the glow is felt quite differently. Each person has the opportunity to feel the athletes nearby, and this increases the excitement. There is no such emotional contact in large halls.

Were there any fights that you remember more than others at this World Championships?

– I can single out several interesting matches in Sport SAMBO among men in the weight category up to 79 kg. For example, the fight between the Korean and Georgian athletes turned out to be very bright, and the winner was determined in the last seconds by the decision of the referees. That is, we observe absolutely equal fights. The fact that these were meetings of world champions with unknown wrestlers is indicative. Today, indeed, we are witnessing numerous surprises.

Earlier you spoke about competition. As you know, last year FIAS received permanent recognition from the International Olympic Committee. Obviously, the popularity of SAMBO is growing all over the world. And how does this affect competition within the SAMBO community?

– The average level of a sambist in the world has grown significantly over the past decade. In my opinion, this is one of the main goals that have been achieved. Today we are observing the progress of countries that were not widely known in the SAMBO world 15 years ago. For example, last year an athlete from Cameroon became the world champion in Combat SAMBO, this year the world champion title was won by a sambist from Venezuela, who competed for the refugee team. Europe also shows good results in championships of various levels. Of course, this demonstrates the growth of the skill of sambists all over the world. I think that every year, taking into account the Olympic movement, competition will only increase.

Besides SAMBO, you are also fond of equestrian sports and mountain skiing. Why such a choice?

– Everything in life happens by accident. Equestrian sport is not an emotional impulse at all. As part of one acquired enterprise, we had a stud farm where horses were produced, some of which fell into the national show jumping team. Equestrian sport is also quite an interesting direction, where you need to invest a lot of effort and work. Since show jumping is an Olympic sport, the training process is very serious. Horses need to be trained two or three times a day, and this is a big burden not only for the animals, but also for the trainers. Alpine skiing – on the contrary, active and good rest. For over 25 years, we have been devoting at least a few weeks to it every year. I don’t really like a beach holiday, as it is a passive holiday, and it quickly gets boring. Alpine skiing is not only exciting, but also of sporting interest.

In conclusion of our conversation, what advice would you give to beginner sambists?

– There is one formula for success. It is necessary to understand that no matter how ideal a person's genetic fund is, it is necessary to work. There are two main factors of victory: character and diligence. It seems to me that if the two mentioned components are absent, then it is very difficult to achieve any success. Do not forget about the concept of acceleration. People may have one age, but someone develops faster, demonstrating, it would seem, natural talent. However, as a rule, by the age of 20 everyone levels out, and already at this stage hard work begins, when it is necessary to collect experience bit by bit and develop technique. Only work and character are the key to the success of every athlete, and indeed of any person.

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