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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Key to success is hard training, says wrestling coach Kazarian

Armenian wrestling coach Stephan Kazarian (right) instructs Cambodian athletes during a training session at the National Sports Complex
Armenian wrestling coach Stephan Kazarian (right) instructs Cambodian athletes during a training session at the National Sports Complex yesterday. Sreng Meng Srun

Key to success is hard training, says wrestling coach Kazarian

Good training brings good results. Through the sheer simplicity of this powerful message veteran Armenian coach Stephan Kazarian has made it clear to the Cambodian Wrestling community that there is no
substitute for hard work.

As the technical expert for Asia with the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), Kazarian is back again in Phnom Penh for a six-day course for wrestlers and coaches, now into its third day at the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia headquarters.

“Wrestling is a very tough discipline where strengthening your muscle is as vital as strengthening your mind because you are up against an opponent who is doing just that. If you are half a step behind you are done so the best results will only come from best training,” Kazarian told the Post in an exclusive chat yesterday.

“I am very happy and proud that wrestlers brought home four gold medals from the Myanmar SEA Games and I see no reason why Cambodia can not win its first Asian Games medal if they continue to concentrate on quality training,” added the coach, who in various FILA administrative roles has attended scores of high profile wrestling events in no less than 70 countries over the past five decades including Olympic Games and World Championships.

Kazarian’s courtship with Cambodian wrestling began in the late 60s but it wasn’t until three years ago that he could revisit the Kingdom after a gap of 42 years. Since that reunion, Kazarian has made three more trips including the current one which is part of the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Project.

“We have benefited greatly from Kazarian’s expertise and experience over all these years. He has a soft corner for Cambodia and a very strong desire to see Cambodian wrestlers doing well in regional and international events,” said NOCC Secretary General Vath Chamroeun, himself an Olympic wrestler having represented the Kingdom at the 1996 Atlanta Games, four years after he had first met Kazarian in Jakarta.

Away from his hectic sessions with the wrestlers and coaches, Kazarian will discuss with the NOCC Secretary General two very important issues. The first is Cambodia’s likely bid for the 2015 World Beach Wrestling Championships, with Sihanoukville as the venue, and the second is the procurement of Olympic standard mats.

According to Kazarian, who in fact heads FILA’s beach wrestling department, Cambodia is the only candidate to have pushed for the 2015 event as of now though a formal bid has not yet been submitted to the world’s governing body.

“Now Cambodia is the only one but others may jump in. It depends on how well Cambodia presents its case at the FILA Congress to be held in Uzbekistan during September this year,” said Kazarian.

“From what I saw during my visit to Sihanoukville last year, I feel the conditions are good enough. We can put up a standard arena and there is enough space for the designated technical area. [It] should be no problem for spectators as well, but one minor hiccup could be transportation.”

The logistical challenge, as Kazarian sees it, for Cambodia could be in arranging transport from Phnom Penh, where all teams will land and take off, to the championship venue in Sihanoukville, 225 kilometres away. But he is optimistic that the NOCC can figure a way out.

On Olympic mats, Kazarian said he is working with a couple of manufacturers in Iran to help Cambodia get a few at reasonable costs. “The problem with Olympic mats is that freight charges are too high and for the end user like Cambodia it could mean spending two times over the cost of these mats, which is in the range of about US$15,000,” he said.

The next big assignment for Kazarian is a course for coaches from around the world in Las Vegas, as the Sin city prepares to host the 2015 World Championships.

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