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20/08/2011 - 20:13

Alexandr Mikhailin: As if I was thrown out in the storm

Alexandr Mikhailin

It makes one wonder but in spite of all the charisma, numerous titles and victories an experienced Alexander Mikhailin has never participated in the Olympic Games. In 2000 a ticket to Sidney was taken away from under his nose by Yuri Stepkin who then had become a bronze medalist. In 2004 Mikhailin fell in an equal fight with Tamerlan Tmenov from Ossetia and in 2008 dropped out of the Olympic race due to an injury. 

- Alexandr, has a streak of bad luck in your career fallen behind?

- I have hopes of it. It seems that now I am in a good form, I feel strength to achieve good results. Although I would not be too quick to say that you see the same Mihailin in front of you as you saw ten years ago. Just the World Championship in Paris will show how good my preparation is. It is one thing to work to full potential during the trainings and absolutely different thing during a real fight.  

- Have you missed the fights at a high and serious level?

- Yes, I have, very much. Recently I have fought in the international tournament but this is not the same level – cannot be compared to World or European Championships. That is why the upcoming World Forum in Paris must become a good comeback for me. 

- What is the reason for your numerous injuries? 

- It is difficult to say. One of the injuries was connected with a knee which I injured during a training camp for 2010 European Championship. This year I suffered from appendicitis. Nobody can say why is happens. It seems as if I was thrown out in the storm, one wave of injures than the second one, the third…Now I hope on a calm see; I want to sail to the shore (laughing).

- You are the most decorated of the current Russian judokas. Do titles and regalia help to achieve the result?

- No, over the left, they even cramp. First of all, rivals tune for a decorated sportsman in a different way, very seriously. That is why every fight requires maximum strength to win, to fight in full force and not to relax for a second. Secondly, it is necessary to deal with the judges. Before I was always said: “when you become a champion, the judges will look with favour on you”. That means as if they know on the subconscious level that I am strong and in questionable cases must give preference to me. Nothing of the kind! I made sure of my own example that the judges start to press even more, wait for something supernatural and judge very strictly.

- How do you treat the decision to allow two sportsmen from each country in each weight category to compete in World Championship and European Championship? It seems you suffered most of all that such a decision was not made before? 

- Do you mean our opposition with Tamerlan Tmenov? Frankly speaking, I am pretty tired of all these comparisons. In the current national team I am an old-timer, there are good young guys. I will be glad when they substitute me. It is great when there is intergenerational continuity! For the present series of sportsmen it is easier to approve themselves, go out for some big tournament. In my case oftentimes it was much more difficult to qualify for inner entry than to win World Championships (smiling). 

- Do you stay on judo because of one-and-only unrealized aim?

- Yes, I do. I have not yet had occasion to participate in the Olympics. I had Tmenov and Yuri Stepkin. They did not let me get there although we all together could fight for the gold in any competitions without doubt. And confirmed it by our results. 

- So are you going to quit big sport after London?

-Yes, I am. All my thought and state of mind are just of Olympic Games.

- As you missed the most of the last season it will not be easy to qualify for entry to London…

- Yes, I do not meet the conditions yet – low rating. But I have enough time to score and raise the rating. I will try to take my chance; I wish my health would not fail me.

- Will you fight in European Championship in Chelyabinsk?

- If my coach thinks it proper I definitely will. It is always pleasant to compete at home. Moreover competitions of such level have never been held in Russia before.

Interviewed by Vitaly Vizaulin