If you compare our sport - the end of the 20th century and today - what do you think are the biggest differences?
Rustam: At the end of the twentieth century, almost everything was decided by physical strength. Today, strength is not enough. Athlets have mastered a lot of techniques. That is why anthropometry is more important now. Physical strength is also very important, but the result of the duel is not as obvious as at the end of the 20th century.
What or who was the biggest surprise for you over the years?
Rustam (smiling): There have always been surprises. Especially when you go to a higher category or register for open in pro tournament. In fact, I tried to surprise many people myself. And I often succeeded.
Rustam Babaiev - How I got to armwrestling:
It was a long time ago - 1998. At that time I was under 16 years old and my weight was about 63-65 kg. Friends invited me to the club to celebrate the birthday of one of them. During our ceremony, the boys, who were a bit older than us, resting in this club, began to organize armwrestling competitions on their own initiative. As far as I remember, about 15 people attended. I also decided to appear, promising victory to all my friends. Of course, none of them believed me. However, I beat everyone on my right and left hand. By the way, the bodyguard at this club was Alexei Semerenko, whom I fought after our competition and - of course - lost because at that time he was already a medalist in armwrestling among seniors. Then of course he was even stronger.
One of the guys in our company knew some armwrestling competitors. A few weeks later I got to know them. After the fight with me, they invited me to the armwrestling section. I agreed and later came there to agree on the training. The arm section was located in the sports complex of the Kharkiv Polytechnic, headed by V. Petrenko.
The first time he saw me, the trainer started asking many questions. One of the guests who invited me said: First try at the table and then ask questions. Of course I didn't beat the coach, but his answer was: “You can start today!'
It was the beginning of March 1998 ...