Raimond, tell your story when you came to armwrestling, how old are you in sports and why armwrestling?
- I am familiar with armwrestling, so to speak, at the local level, since 1994, when I was 15 years old. Then I knew little about this sport and simply loved to pull. In 1997, I met our sensei Modris Stalgevičs, and after this meeting I can say that I switched to the path of more professional armwrestling in the of training and understanding of sports. And from 1997 to the present, for 23 years now, I have been in armwrestling. I had a short pause from 2005 to 2007, and after that I did not give up the sport.
This is really significant period. What motivates you to still engage, pull, constantly go through the stages of preparation and go to competitions?
- Armwrestling in Latvia is a real community, this is a big family. For us, this is not only a sport, we are all friends, we can gather on various occasions that are not even related to armwrestling, and spend time together. Armwrestling unites us and supports friendship. In the sport itself, I am motivated by the competitive spirit, the understanding that I will soon be taking part at a tournament. It's hard for me to train with no reason, not getting ready to some competition. Some people like to just train, but I like to get ready for the competition. Now I have motivation, and it makes me train 4 times a week.
Tell us how do you train? Someone says that he spends time only at the table, someone prefers iron. What is your approach?
- Long time ago we just pulled at workout, 20 years ago we pulled three times a week. Hands were very sore from such trainings, but those times are over. Now the basis is about working with weights: dumbbell bars, blocks. But without working at the table and pulling you won’t be able to fully prepare. Now I have 1 training per week - this is pulling and practicing exercises at the table with sparring partners. Now this day is Thursday: for two consecutive Thursdays I work out movements at the table, and on the 3rd Thursday I’m just pulling.
How did you assess your chances of getting into the Top 8 project?
- Here is an interesting story. In the fall, I regularly trained and maintained myself in good shape and slightly overloaded my shoulder in training. I rested, and it did not bother me, so I continued to prepare. And two weeks before the Zloty Tur, I pulled in the armfight up to three victories with Kaspars Gravis, this is a young, strong and fast opponent. And in the first round of the fight with him, I felt that I seriously injured my shoulder. It turns out that I came to Zloty Tur with this injury and decided to test my strength. I fought with almost no lateral pressure; I couldn’t pin to the pillow all the people I toprolled. I understand that a certain amount of luck was on my side. As a result, I managed to become fifth, and I got the opportunity to compete for a place in Top 8. For two months I was actively engaged in rebuilding my shoulder and preparing for the qualifying match. My form was very good, in fact I did not see the options that I can lose and not get into the Top 8.
How long are you ready to stay in the sport?
- This is the most important question for me, it is just a question of motivation. Any preparation requires a lot of effort and a lot of time. Now I have motivation: if I get into the Top 8, then for at least another year I will actively train and keep the regime. I now have 12 years of continuous training and performances, and any moment can be a turning point. I jokingly told my friends that if I lost to Joe Fox, I would retire.