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Oleh Sylka: I really hope to come to Riga for the Mas-Wrestling European Absolute Championship

Oleh Sylka from Ukraine became the Absolute  Mas-Wrestling Champion  2019 In Saudi Arabia. He was simply unstoppable these days - apart from winning mas-wrestling, he performed well in two other disciplines - he became the second in weight lifting and carrying and the first in the individual tug-of-war competition.

On the way to this height, he passed many tests. Giant overcame many time zones, suffered the inconvenience of long flights and acclimatization. Everything to participate in a major battle of athletes fr om 41 countries on the mas-wrestling platform in the Arabian desert.

The blind lot brought him in the first round with the Moldavian athlete Sergiu Mirzenko, who had a competitive experience in mas-wrestling, starting in 2012 and was a participant in the first historical World Championship in Yakutsk, 2014. Oleh easily overcame him, however, as did Torres Robertson Tubosa fr om the Philippines in the next meeting. A good start gave him confidence and gave some hope for further success. His next rival on the platform was a hundred-thirty-kilogram Australian athlete Callum Haggerty, who also could not resist the young ambitious Sylka on the way to victory.

The further Oleh advanced, the stronger his rivals were. They also yearned for world fame and were not going to give in to a participant fr om Europe. The first in this series was Ricardo Gevaerd Nort fr om Brazil, entering the world top ten. With a score of 2: 0, the Ukrainian athlete bypasses him. But then, like in a fairy tale, a new character appears on the way to the top - Jamal Feyziyev from Azerbaijan. He has a decent resistance, but his hand does not soar up after the fight.

Oleh Sylka goes to the final. Behind the whole day of struggle, ahead - the decisive fight with the strongest. With those who have already scheduled all the heroes. His rival is the current world champion, originally from Yakutia, which is the forge of the best in this sport in the world rankings. The name of the formidable opponent is Sergey Frolkin, who can confuse anyone with his serious attitude. And it was not known how the final meeting for Oleg Sylka would have been, if not for the powerful support of his coach Valery Gazaiev. His loud voice and imperative shouts seemed to whip an athlete and make him do the impossible. As a result, the Ukrainian Federation celebrates an unprecedented success - Oleh Sylka went through all the fights of this unforgettable day and proved that he is the best among equals. Surely, you can say that Oleh Sylka from Ukraine passed a strength test on March 10, 2019.

But who is he, the new absolute champion of the world? What did he feel at the moment of triumph and what are his plans for the nearest future? We asked these questions a few days after the victory so that he could reflect on what was happening.

- Oleh, congratulations on a well-deserved victory. Now, after some time, we can already discuss this important event for all of us. Tell me how it was? What thoughts, emotions did you have during the battle and right after the victory?

- Thank you very much for the congratulations, that’s real nice. During the battle, I was completely focused on it, although I was very tired for the whole day of the competition, I was very well prepared for this tournament, I specially studied the athletes' techniques, especially Sergey Frolkin, because at that time he was the best in this weight category.

- Can you confess, did you count on such an unprecedented success, or did it come as a surprise to you?

- I knew that I would get to the final, despite the fact that all rivals and athletes were strong. It was very hard for me. General fatigue from the fights has accumulated, and besides, the weather conditions are unusual, climate change and everything else. But still one thought never left me on a platform – only victory!

- For the first time you took part in international competitions in this sport last September at the Kolmar Cup in Vladivostok. Back then you also showed a great desire to win, we noted that. The performance on the Far East stage was bright and emotional. Was that when you wanted to win?

- Yes, for the first time I took part in a tournament of this magnitude at the Kolmar Cup in Vladivostok, and I learned a lot of new things for myself. I can say that it was then that I touched the world-class mas-wrestling. Then I realized that I could become a world champion and I started to work hard on it.

- Now tell a little about yourself. Wh ere are you from, who are your parents, wh ere did you study, do you have a family?

- I am from Ukraine, was born in the city of Poltava, grew up in a village. I have wonderful parents, whom I love a lot, and they love me too. I also have a younger sister. I studied in Poltava at the Agrarian Academy. Not married yet. It’s all ahead.

- When did you come to the sport? Who introduced you to mas-wrestling and what do you like about this sport?

- My "iron" career began at age 19. First I got into powerlifting. After fulfilling the standard of the master of sports, I moved to extreme power sports. At the moment I am the winner of the Cup of Ukraine 2018 in power extreme and I belong to the national team. I am the record holder of the Ukrainian Book of Records.

Valery Gazaiev introduced me to mas-wrestling in 2015. Then I won the championship of Ukraine for the first time. This is how my mas-wrestler's career began. I like this very exciting and dynamic sport, wh ere your whole body works and wh ere you need not only brute force, but also strength endurance, technique is important.

- We very much value our friendly family of mas-wrestlers of the world, we are proud of the special atmosphere within the fraternity of strong people. Did you feel friendly towards yourself?

- Yes, I really like our family of mas-wrestlers. They always give a warm welcome and everyone is very friendly. Everything takes place at the highest level and I am glad that I became a part of this family. I want to thank the organizers for the warm welcome and cool conditions, everything went excellent as always.

- We found out from the media that you also shoot in the movies like Robert Kalinowski from Poland. It is not surprising, because you have such a colorful appearance.

- Indeed, it has a place in my life. I like shooting at the cinema, I like to transform into different people. Basically, these are people of power, there are also negative characters.

- What are your plans for participating in mas-wrestling competitions? Do you intend to challenge the title of absolute European champion in May of this year in Riga?

- Today, at this stage, my mas-wrestler career moves to a new level. There will be a lot of those who will want to take away the title of the world leader. But from this very moment I will put more effort and pay more attention to mas-wrestling trainings. I really hope to come to the European Absolute Championship and confirm my current status.

- Once again, congratulations on the triumph on the world platform in Saudi Arabia and we will consider the last statement a challenge for all European heavyweight mas-wrestlers!

There is no doubt that the success of the Ukrainian athlete became another sensation and made major changes in the world ranking of the strongest in mas-wrestling. There was an intrigue that raises interest in the sport in all countries. Special thanks for this goes out to Oleh. We are glad that there is a healthy competition, without which the development of any undertaking is impossible.


Author: Lena Tomskaya
Photo: Henriette Borbely, Max Molokov
Number of shows: 1200
Country:  Ukraine
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