Australian wrestler Talgat Ilyasov strives for Rio gold
02 Sep 2015
Australia has won three medals at the Olympic Games in wrestling. The last time was 1948 in London and we have never won gold.
So it’s fair to say there would be plenty of celebrations if we ended up on the podium at Rio next year.
Two old friends who grew up together in Uzbekistan just might be the combination to win us a wrestling medal for the first time in 68 years.
Talgat Ilyasov arrived here in 2000 looking for opportunity and was chosen to represent Australia at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 when a serious spinal injury struck just before the event ruling him out.
“Everybody wants to be at an Olympic Games so once you get a chance to compete and withdraw because of an injury, it is not a good experience,”Ilyasov said.
After being initially told that he would not be able to wrestle competitively again because of the injury, Talgat got the itch to get back on the mats after a couple of years out.
“I just like wrestling. I like grappling. After my recovery a friend said why don’t you compete again?”
That friend was national skills coach Kostya Ermakovich who joined his old mate in Australia from Uzbekistan in 2004.
“I asked Talgat if he wanted to give it another shot before Rio and since then he has been training with me,” Ermakovich said.
Before he can compete in Rio, Talgat will have to qualify via tournaments such as the upcoming World Championships in Las Vegas, (7-12 September).
Talgat has had some promising results recently, winning a gold medal at the prestigious Canada Cup in June this year.
“The Canada Cup showed me where I am in terms of the world level. It was a good experience for me as it showed what I need to do as far as preparation.
“Rio is the ultimate goal but I have to get there first.”
In the meantime Talgat will continue to come to the AIS for training camps in the lead up to Rio.
“The AIS is a very good place to train. You have good food and quality training and recovery facilities.”