N.Tuvshinbayar: “I thought that everything was over when I got injured”
The following is a short interview with the first ever Olympic gold and silver medalist judoka N.Tuvshinbayar. Despite his serious injury leg, he fought proudly in the final against Tagir Khaibulaev of Russia to defend his Olympic champion title. He won silver in the men’s heavyweight 100 kg category last Thursday and became a national hero.
-How is your leg injury now? How did the result of the diagnosis come out?
-My left leg was injured when I wrestled in the semi-final bout. At that time I thought that everything was over. Then when I stood up and walked; it seemed okay. I was so happy that I scored a yuko and won. But I was shocked thinking that I won’t be able to fight for gold because of my leg. After the bouts finished I saw a doctor in the Olympics village hospital. The doctor who was a specialist in leg injuries came to see me and took its photo and said that the inner fiber had been sprained, and the cross joint in the knee had been cut. I have to undergo surgery but only after the fiber was healed up. It would take at least six weeks to heal the fiber, so I would be able to have surgery after two months.
-It was a very courageous decision to fight for the final bout despite your leg injury when you can’t even walk. Did your trainers and coaches tell you not to? Why did you decide to do that?
-Some of them said it would contribute to the injury, and told me not to wrestle. Later, the doctor also told me that I might have been injured more and could have damaged even my artery, and that I was lucky. To compete for the Olympic gold medal is a very rare opportunity for an athlete; I might regret not taking part in it later. That’s why I made the decision to wrestle. I thought I must try anyway. In the final bout, I searched some possibilities but it wasn’t successful.
-Were you sure to win if you weren’t injured at all?
-I don’t want to talk about such things like ‘if it weren’t’, since it all ended now. The biggest enemy of an athlete is an injury. Injury doesn’t stay away from us as we wish. I take it as it had to be like that.
-What would you say about your bouts at the Olympics?
-I tried my best from the first round. My training was well. I would like to say thank you to all the people who were supporting me; to my colleagues, the National Team of Mongolia, and the authorities of the Judo Federation.
-We can see that the training is good this year. Did you have a big goal for the Olympics?
-Of course, every athlete who is attending the Olympics wishes to participate in it well and not to lose. I think everyone thinks so too.
-How do you feel right now?
-I feel so relieved now. I haven’t been this relieved in the last two years.
-Was it hard for you when Mongolian judokas weren’t very successful in the first two days?
-It felt so bad. But after S.Nyam-Ochir took a bronze medal I felt relieved and good. The Judo team had trained very well this year. Two people got medals and two people placed in the first five out of all nine. I think it is a reasonable achievement.
-How did you overcome the time when you were suffering from your leg injury?
-I had already been enthused. Maybe because of this I felt less pain. I might have overcome all these issues since I was only focusing on my bouts.
-You are the first ever Olympics Champion in Mongolian sports history. Now you became the first athlete to have won two medals from the Olympics.
-I won the silver medal thanks to all the Mongolian people who have been supporting and appreciating me after I got the first Olympic gold. Thank you, all Mongolian people.
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