“I set a goal to get to the Olympics and win it”

One of the heroes of the Russian boxing championship in Samara was Imam Khataev, who won gold in the category up to 81 kg. In the final, the 25-year-old athlete defeated the September World Cup participant Georgy Kushitashvili.

For Imam Khataev, this gold was special, as he lost the final fights at the three previous championships of Russia. This time, the boxer managed to achieve his goal and repeat the achievement of his younger brother Shamil Khataev, who won the national championship in 2017 in the category of up to 75 kg.

In an interview with Izvestia, Imam Khataev shared his emotions of victory and expectations of the upcoming Olympic year.

– Is this the most important medal in your career?

– I think yes. I have long been towards this. And then he came. It was very difficult, the rivals worthy fought against me, especially Georgy Kushitashvili in the final. But I’m glad I managed to show everything I can and defeat such an experienced boxer.

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– Psychologically, this “silver disease” of the past championships of Russia pressed you?

“I just forgot about silver.” I thought only about gold and got it. But this is only the beginning. He set himself the goal of getting to the Olympics next year. And win her.

– Feel like a favorite in the fight for getting to the Olympics?

– Of course, the rivalry with other Russian boxers for a trip to Tokyo continues. There will be tournaments with many rivals. You need to win a licensed tournament in London. But first you need to get on it. We still have training camps and qualifiers in Russia. So, for the time being, one cannot think that I am the first candidate for the Olympics. It is necessary to start all over again and prepare in a new way.

– Do you and your brother mentally compete in the number of medals?

– Not. You know, we always have brotherly relations at training camps and even at competitions. We shake hands with each other, hug when someone succeeds. And we train together. And then each of us enters the ring and does everything that he can. But neither inside the national team, nor inside the family have never considered each other’s medals. I try only to support my brother, and he is me.

– Was it not a matter of principle for you to catch up with Shamil and repeat his achievement by winning the gold of the Russian championship?

– I didn’t think about it. At home, we forget about rivals and fights. Left the ring – thoughts are already about other things. And only with the coach we analyze the past fights, analyze what they did right with this or that opponent, and where they were wrong.