Roman Mantyka, a young Ukrainian armwrestler, multiple champion of Ukraine and prize-winner of European and world championships, recently fully qualified as a professional and has already achieved very good results, having won tournaments in categories up to 78kg in Malaysia and China, and won first place in the URPA general division. ()
Roman, please tell us about the beginning of your sports career.
- I began to learn armwrestling in 2008. But I began to seriously train after Igor Mazurenko’s visit our gym in February 2009, after that meeting I received a boost of motivation for the future. The first five years I trained without a trainer, learning only from my mistakes, and since 2014, I switched to playing for the team of the Poltava region and met with the famous trainer Artem Pysmak. Over the next 5 years (until 2018), he made adjustments to my preparation for the European and World Championships. At the moment I'm training on my own.
Tell us a little about your training, how often do you train, do you somehow divide training into general and specialized?
- I train four times a week and that’s enough for me. I have 90% of the training built on specialized exercises, general exercises take a lot of energy because I do them at the end of the training.
What do you think, is it possible to train successfully in the gym without equipment for armwrestling, while having the opportunity to pull with somebody?
- From January 2014 to May 2015, I trained in a regular gym without special equipment, a table and handles. This year I pulled at the European Championships in Baku, where I became second on my left hand and first on my right in category 70 kg, and also at the World Championships in Vilnius, where I became second on my right hand. Therefore, I can say that with great desire in a regular gym, you can successfully prepare for international championships.
What medal and duel in your career is the most memorable for you?
- For me, the most outstanding achievement is the silver medal of the 2013 Worlds in Poland. At that championship I pulled in the 75 kg category. And the most interesting victory for me was the victory at the European Championship in 2017 over Vladislav Krasovskis on the right hand.
Who do you consider the most technical arm wrestler in the history of armwrestling?
- In my opinion, the most technical is John Brzenk. At the same time, I like the combination of power and technique of Evgeniy Prudnik.
Why did you decide to completely switch to professionals?
- Because in the professional league, the attitude towards athletes is much better.
When you participate at the European and World Championships, you pull, go on a pedestal, they give you a medal, shake hands, and then, when you leave the pedestal, they immediately forget about you. But when I pulled in April, in Malaysia, where I became the first on my right and on my left hand, many people came up to me to take pictures, and this is nice! After the performance in China, there were even more people who wanted a pic! Plus, a mechanism has been developed in the professional league that allows you to earn good money and fully concentrate on your sports career.
Does the URPA rating help in finding sponsors?
- At the moment, they help me financially because of my desire for new achievements and also because I adequately represent Ukraine at the international level. Without a doubt, this global ranking (URPA) is also an important indicator when looking for sponsors.
What do you remember most about China?
- The city of Shenzhen met us with very hot weather, a beautiful city with a pleasant exotic atmosphere. I was glad for the second time to enter the stage of the Top-8 project and support Rustam Babaev, I got a lot of emotions!
What are the future competition plans?
- Ahead of me is a performance on the Zloty Tur from December 6 to 8, I will pull in the 86 kg category! This is a very important event for me, and now I am training in a strengthened mode.
Who would you be interested to meet in a rating vendetta?
- Now it’s too early to talk about it. In 1.5 months, I will be in the elite division and a new category! Accordingly, I will have new rivals. My priority is international fights.
How do you see the peak of your career?
- Now I do not see any limit for myself. Armwrestling is developing steadily, if even 1 year ago the dream of any armwrestler was to win the open weight category on the Zloty Tur, now everyone is dreaming of Top-8, and I am sure that even more grandiose events from MAZURENKO PROMOTION are waiting for us in the future.
Which pair do you most expect in the third stage of the Top 8?
- The most interesting fight for me will be Prudnik against Ongarbaev. Prudnik has great power, while Ongarbaev is incredibly hardy. I think Kydyrgali will try to exhaust Evgeny from the first rounds.
Can you give a forecast for the entire final stage of Top8?
- Saginashvili-Laletin - 5-1, Prudnik-Ongarbayev - 4-2, Trubin-Bresnan - 6-0, Babaev-Kurdecha - 3-3. And good luck to everyone on the Zloty Tur!
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