Mirtaleh, please tell us about your success in South America.
I took part in the 9th season of the ZT League, the qualifying tournament that was held in Bolivia. This became possible thanks to the support of my sponsors and, of course, thanks to the organizers of this event - ZT League and Bolivia ZT, who are real enthusiasts of arm wrestling in South America. They conduct qualifying tournaments in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and other countries. In Bolivia, the organizer of the competitions is Roberto Pojero, who did a really serious job. I won the qualifying tournament and now, on August 11th, I will take part in the ZT League Finals, which will also take place in Bolivia. My main serious contender there, Paolo Massud, got injured and now I have all chances to win the ZT League Champion belt.
Your plans are very ambitious! It looks like their implementation takes serious financial support. If it is not a secret, who is your sponsor, who supports arm-wrestling in Azerbaijan?
I'm really very lucky with the sponsor. This is a large company "Retro Holding", which is a leading player at the market of construction, tourism and other various markets. I am very happy that such strong partners help me to defend the honor of my country. They finance my training, trips to competitions and even recently granted me a great apartment. At the moment, I can focus on my sports results. After the finals in Bolivia, my only goal is to win the Zloty Tur in November.
Mirtaleh, before the "ZG STRONG" Cup in Croatia Dmitry Trubin noted the high level of your preparation and looked worried by the possible competition from your side. What happened? Why did not you pull in the Open weight category for the main trophy?
I was really very well prepared for "ZG STRONG" and easily won the fights on the left hand. But during the competition on the right hand, I injured my wrist and it sounds weird, but my very good preparation was the reason for this.
It happened during a match with Frank Lamparelli. He managed to stop me and he held me for a while. I pressed by the wrist and my pronator could not stand this pressure. It's hard to convey my emotions at that moment, but it’s sport and another experience for me. I will have to do some work on the mistakes. Now I have accomplished a rehabilitation program and plan to seriously work on endurance and technique before the “Zloty Tur” World Cup.
“Zloty Tur” 2018 will be the third in your sports career. How do you assess your performance at the World Cup in the past and what are your expectations this year?
Zloty Tur and Vendetta are the peak of our sport. The first time I pulled at the Zloty in 2015. I did not have any competitors in Azerbaijan back then and came to the Cup with complete confidence in my victory. I really easily went around almost everyone in my category, I lost only to Pushkar and Trubin. I was struck by the strength of these athletes. It was a completely different, new level of strength and experience, which I had never encountered before. I was so subdued by the experience of Zloty that in 2017, having had 2 surgeries that year, I came and took part in it.
I knew that I would lose, but did not want to miss the Zloty.
Today I have several invitations to tournaments, including Arnold Classic Europe, but I refused and I’m preparing intensively for the Zloty. I plan to come to Poland 40 days before the World Cup and train at the legendary “Zloty Tur” Gym, consulting with the main arm wrestling guru in the world - Igor Mazurenko.
This year “Zloty Tur” will be special and I will do everything to win for Azerbaijan the main trophy of this most prestigious event in the world of arm-wrestling.