This competitor, trainer and armwrestling activist is a true Legend. He trained and learned armwrestling when we weren't even born yet. He has been sharing his knowledge with competitors for years, he has brought up Masters and still competes himself. Meet Victor Zaitsev “always with a smile on his face”! ()
For the Polish readers I will add that he's the most important and challenging opponent of our Master – Wiesław Podgórski. Here's an article from June 2018 where Wiesław talks about their rivalry. These gentlemen have a lot in common. This is why their rivalry is simply friendly. A while ago I asked Ruslan Zinyatullin – who was his Master? He pointed to Victor, so here's an interview. Enjoy!
Victor, many competitors point to you as a Master and Supervisor. Tell us, did you also have a person you could call a Master of your own?
Victor Zaitsev: Unfortunately, no.
What did the beginnings of your career look like?
Victor Zaitsev: I was 10 years old. My first steps in sports were in boxing, then wrestling. Then – sambo and judo. When I was 31 I got a medal at the Moscow Championships. I started picking up combat sports because my life wasn't easy. I was often beat by older guys, I lost my father early and I was also sickly.
What happened next?
Victor Zaitsev: When I was working as a trainer, first in sambo and then in judo for over 22 years, I got an offer to become the main USSR judo trainer for the visually impaired. In 1988 they were looking for a trainer who had some knowledge on that. I graduated from the Pedagogic Institute at the Physcial Education Department and I trained a dozen or so of judo and sambo champions. I trained a team of visually impaired judo athletes and then I met armwrestling.
It turned out it was Ivan Fiodorovitch Ovchinnikov – a competitor of the international Złoty Niedźwiedź Tournament.
After a while I became an armwrestling coach. Soon to the Central Community Centre of the Russian nationwide Visually Impaired Association came disabled people with mobility disfunctions and people who were hard of hearing. To become a better trainer I started to attend the meetings of the armwrestling section of GTsOLIFK and the Moscow National University. Besides the main sports judo and armwrestling, I also had to lead the powerlifting of disabled people where the first World Champions started emerging from. Among them were those who successfully trained two sports like Vladimir Krupennikov who became a World Champion in powerlifting and armwrestling, not only among the disabled but also among all competitors.
During this time business only started developing in Russia and people spent funds on organizing competitions for the disabled. The first Russian Championships for the Disabled in armwrestling and powerlifting were organized then.
A very big team of armwrestlers started training in VOS CDK soon and couldn't include everyone. I arranged for our team to be accepted into Ecosmil Centre (in the Russian Sports Comittee) where three times a week we practised armwrestling and powerlifting.
I don't limit myself to sports activities, if there had been opportunities, my students took them. For example only one sportsman in a wheelchair was invited to Kazbek, then three came with me to Elbrus.