Lubomir, let’s start by explaining why you were absent from tournaments for the past couple of years?
I took a break from armwrestling. In 2011 I won my last World Champion title. Until that year I won Worlds, Europeans, Vendettas and other international tournaments. I felt I had enough success and need a little rest. I would have had to climb on a whole new level to face guys like Pushkar, and I had no motivation for that. Now that I have rested I feel I want to come back. My motivation is coming back, too. I hope I can show my form at a tournament soon.
How did you start armwrestling?
It was back at school, when I was about 12. I started training with my uncle, he introduced me to the sport.
Do you remember your first contest?
I went to my first contest after a year of training. It was a Slovak tournament. I weighed 63 kg back then. The lowest starting category was 75 kg. I had to wrestle some heavier guys. I finished 2nd, right after my uncle.
Your uncle trained you all the time?
He trained me for the first three years. He introduced me to the secrets of the sport. When I was 15, I started to train by myself and go to tournaments.
You started at many tournaments over the years. Do you remember your toughest contest?
There were many tough tournaments. But I don’t remember the toughest. I think it was the Worlds, where, as a junior, I also fought in seniors.
Is armwrestling popular in Slovakia?
It used to be more popular. Now the situation’s changed. There used to be an elite, like me, Germanus and other old sportsmen. They quit professional fighting. There used to be over 50 clubs in Slovakia, now there are about 10.
Is there a lot of contests to fight in Slovakia?
There aren’t many regional contests. In reality, there are only three Slovakian Cups, one nationals and one international tournament, Senecka Ruka, which used to be much more popular internationally than it is nowadays.
What’s your biggest sport achievement?
My first World Championship. In was in 2006, in Manchester – England. There were 36 people in my category, up to 75 kg. I fought in seniors then. There were such names in this category as Engin Terzi from Turkey, Cvetan Gashevski of Bulgaria or Jan Amolins of Latvia. I was the best in right arm and won world champion. In left I unfortunately broke my wrist while fighting Terzi.
How long did you train to become world champion?
I won junior world champion after three years of training, and after five years my first seniors worl champ. I was almost constantly on the podium at Worlds and Europeans, since 2002.
When did you start feeling that you were good at it?
Practically from the start. When I started winning local contests, and then winning medals at Europeans and Worlds, I knew I had potential.
Tell us, how do you train nowadays?
When I trained 100%, I trained 3-4 times a week. I did two typical armwrestling trainings, one sparring, two full body strength trainings. I also ran 1-2 times a week, to keep in shape and speed. Now I work out 3-4 times a week, but I do more strength than typical armwrestling. Once a week I do try to do an armwrestling workout, as I’m not in preparation for any tournaments right now. Maybe you will see me soon, though. Maybe at the Zloty Tur in Rumia? It all depends on the shape I’m in.
Who’s your sparring-partner?
My main partner is Peter Kasan. We have our club here, which I’m in charge of. We have many new faces. I sometimes spar with other guys at the gym, too.
Oh yes, you do have your own club. Is it for armwrestling only?
It’s quite a big club and a lot of people train there. There are those who train to stay in shape only, and those who do armwrestling. Practically all local armwrestlers train here.
Do you have any strength records?
I have a few. Like wrist curls with 100kg, one arm. But armwrestling isn’t about records. Training should be done scrupulously, at correct angles and according to your own feeling of your arm and your general feeling of the day.
Is supplementation important in your training?
Very important. Things hurt after tournaments. And if an old injury returns, it hurts more. As far as it’s possible, I try to do my workouts at 100%. When I started at tournaments, I did 150%. Without supplements, my body would have given up. The most important for me are amino-acids, BCAA and bone-regenerating supplements.
What would you say to beginning armwrestlers, to get them into the sport?
Train with your head as well as your heart. Don’t go crazy from the start, train progressively. It’s very important to do exercises slowly and with focus on form. Find a good coach to guide you. I think that to be a good armwrestler, you should train properly for at least 3 years.
How do you run a business and train at the same time?
Sometimes when business is booming, it’s hard to find time to train. My thoughts are in both places at once. It’s hard to concentrate. Ususally when I train I try to switch my phone off and Focus on exercises.
Are you a recognizable person in Slovakia?
I think so. Back in the day, when someone said armwrestling, everyone thought “Germanus”, now it’s Jagnesak, or Debnarova, our leading female wrestler. I also have a bobsled pilot in my family, also a Jagnesak. We are both recognized.
Do you drink alcohol at all?
I like good white wine.
Have you ever trained any other sport in your life?
I did bench pressing, but you cannot do two sports professionally at once. So I chose armwrestling.
Do common people like to wrestle you?
I had a lot of situations where people wanted to wrestle me, in bars and pubs. I remember, back when I was 15-16 and weighed about 65 kg, some guys approached me, they were like 100kg. They put money on the table and wanted to wrestle me. I usually passed on such challenges, I think as a sportsman I should only spar in training. But they wanted to fight, so I did and of course I beat them. I don’t get situations like this nowadays.
So, who’s stronger these days, I wonder – you or Germanus?
It’s hard to say, neither of us is in good shape. I don’t know, we’ll see that at a table.