Berezins:”At the moment, it is very difficult for all Latvian coaches”

In recent years, many wrestlers who represent Latvia in the international arena have appeared in our country. Athletes fly the flag of their country in famous fight shows in karate, mixed martial arts (MMA), boxing and kickboxing. Levs Berezins, who since 2014 has been actively cooperating with almost all wrestling sports organizations in Latvia, told about the problems faced by Latvian wrestlers.

“Latvia can be proud of many wrestlers who participate in such popular organizations as PFL, KSW, “Karate Combat”, “Glory” and “Golden Contract”. Professionals Kristaps Zīle, Aleksandr Chizhov, Artjom Ramlav, Oleg Yemeljanov, Danik Vesnenok, Richard Bolotnik, Edgars Skrivers and others have reached this level on their own and with the support of sponsors.

It is a pity that today there is a crisis in absolutely all areas, even in sports. It seems that the pandemic has passed and the halls can work, but for some reason it doesn’t get any easier. Coaches barely make ends meet by paying many times more expensive utility bills. At the moment, it is very difficult for all Latvian coaches.

And the gym is not an office, it is more than a hundred or even several hundred square meters. I’m not talking only about fighting halls, I’m talking about all sports bases in general, which reduce working hours, try to turn off saunas, but I’d rather not say anything about ice rinks.”

Of course, the most important sponsor in the team is the coach, who invests more time in the athlete than anyone else. In Latvia, almost every coach is engaged in charity work. Charity is, first of all, donated time.

How can you fully focus on a fight when the gym is in debt? Today, on social networks, trainers openly ask for help, just not to close their gym, in which they have invested all their hearts. Listen – a professional Latvian athlete who can’t pay the utility bills because of the big bills. It wasn’t like that before, although it wasn’t easier, but now it’s a new big problem to live with. Although this winter will survive, where is the guarantee that next year will be cheaper.

Unfortunately, public funding is mostly allocated to Olympic sports, despite the fact that the Olympic Games are held every four years. Wrestlers, on the other hand, have several tournaments in one calendar year.

Support is needed especially when training. A classic situation: when an athlete returns with a victory and there is a stir on social networks, he immediately receives increased attention. However, it is more important to see and hear what is happening here and now – to be with potential champions before they become champions.

The problem is also that the local media does not pay enough attention to Latvian athletes who are just moving towards their goal, who need motivation and support.

It is important for the media to support their potential champions so that people know them. I would call it “sports patriotism”. We don’t know our athletes. This is not because there are few of them, but because not everyone has the opportunity and motivation to excel at the global level. And I’m not just talking about Riga. There are many promising athletes in Saldu, Daugavpils, Bauska, Liepāja and other Latvian cities.”

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma