Oleg Mukhin: "It's nice that Azerbaijan was happy with Ramil Guliyev's victory"
Guliyev's victory remains one of the main sensations of the London World Cup. The next day after Ramil's historic triumph, Turkish journalists were literally tearing him apart at the hotel. His coach Oleg Mukhin modestly stayed aside. Although there wouldn't be any victory without Mukhin - a native of Azerbaijan with a Russian passport. The coach of the world champion in the 200-meters race, speaking with Sport Express, revealed the secrets this victory, told how Russia helped his student achieve a historical result in London, as well as remembered Ramil Guliyev's father.
- Guliyev said that before the start at the finals he was 99 percent sure that there will be at least a medal. Did you share his confidence?
- I knew that Ramil could win. I was confident because we had the most complete information. I have a very close friend, Oktai Mirzoyev. We've known each other since we were kids. Now he works in Russia, where he heads the complex scientific group on sprint and barriers. Thanks to him, we knew literally everything about each of the rivals - a starting reaction, time for each half of the race .... On this basis we built a separate strategy for each of Ramil's races - the qualification, the semi-final and the final. The main thing was not to make a mistake.
- What was your strategy?
- For example, it was important to run in the semi-final round to be on the right track in the finale. Ramil's technique is applied better to the 5th-7th tracks, and on the 2nd-3rd tracks it would be more difficult to use it.
- Did you consider South Africa's 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk your main rival?
- Initially, yes. But I did not like him in the semi-final race. I think he was tired after his 400 m victory. I suspected that he will be faster in the final, and he did. Makwala disappointed me [leader of the season from Botswana did not win medals - Sport Express]. But he was in a stressful situation. My top three favorites among rivals was - Richards, van Niekerk and Makwala. As for the Americans, I knew that they will win nothing.
- It was an amazing final for the 200-meter race: no representative of Jamaica and just a couple of Americans not on the leading roles ...
- In general, there are big changes in athletics now. I have no desire to figure out why it happens, why someone stopped running, and someone does not. I can only speak for my athlete.
- You are surprisingly calm in the morning after the historic victory of your athlete.
- At first there was great joy, and now there is some kind of devastation.
- After winning, Guliyev raised the flag of your common homeland - Azerbaijan - along with the Turkish flag. How did they react to his victory?
- Ramil is still a patriot of Azerbaijan. I have many friends there, I really love this country. I am pleased that they were also happy with our victory. Ramil was even congratulated by the President of Azerbaijan. We are happy that we can repay our homeland and bring its flag to the stadium track.
- Did you regret that you refused to perform in London in the 100-meter race and try to make a double?
- This distance is not easy for Ramil, in his specialization he is better trained for 200 meters. Therefore, we decided not to waste efforts. Three races in one distance, then three more in the other one ... We saw the result of it on the examples of van Niekerk and Makwala.
- How do you see the world sprint after Usain Bolt's withdrawal? Will Guliyev try to at least partly take his place?
- There is a word "kismet" in Turkey and Azerbaijan, which means fate. Everyone has his own way, his own difficulties. They talked about the Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre very much, but now he does not run because of health problems ...
- Was Guliyev's success achieved mostly due to hard work or talent?
- There are no talentless sportsmen in sprint. If you do not have talent, then you are not a sprinter, but just a runner. There is nothing to do in this kind of athletics without natural abilities. In general, the sport has changed dramatically, and a person's recoverability has started to play a key role. A lot of mind is not necessary to keep an athlete busy.
- Do you know Ramil Guliyev since he was a child?
- Yes, I trained with his father. Then we started to train Ramil together. Unfortunately, a few years ago Eldar passed away. I was the only coach left. But I think the father could be proud of his son now.
- Guliyev said that he had an option of taking the Russian citizenship. Do you have a feeling that you are lucky: if you chose Russia, you would have been blocked for three years, and then you would have been under the sanctions of the IAAF.
- I do not even want to think about it. Yes, we had contacts with the previous leadership of your federation of track and field athletics. But it did not work out. Now we are happy with what we have in Turkey. We are greatly helped, they provide us an excellent training base in Belek, all the conditions for work.
- Do Turks insist that you take some of local sprinters to the group?
- On the contrary, I was relieved of other things, so I could spend all my time on Ramil.
- Were those three years of quarantine hard for Guliyev?
- Very hard. It seems that you are good in running, but you are not called to international competitions. You do not have a right to perform at official tournaments, which means that nobody cares about you. When Ramil was admitted to the European Championships, he said that he was even confused after such a break. So we understand Russian athletes, we have passed through it ourselves.
- If it were not for these years, would Guliyev be stronger now?
- He would have achieved the success three years earlier. In our discipline, it is very difficult to be without a full-fledged competitive practice. But I repeat - "kismet". We are happy with what we have.