Latvian Weightlifter in 81 kg category
4X GOLD MEDAL EUROPEAN YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
2X GOLD MEDAL WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPONSHIP
2X GOLD MEDAL EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIIONSHIP
2X SILVER MEDAL EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
1X SILVER MEDAL WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
1X BRONZE MEDAL EUROPEAN SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
COACH: Eduards Andruškevičs
Why did you start with weightlifting?
I started because I am from small city in Latvia and from this city is my idol Victor Scerbatihs. He is very popular man in this city, so everyone likes him. He is something like Latvian hero because sport of weightlifting is very popular in our small city and he won Olympic medal. My dream from start was to meet Victor.
When did you start with weightlifting?
I started before I was 7 years old.
But at these days there were many kids who were doing weightlifting. Maybe 40 kids at the same moment. So it was really hard.
I did not like weightlifting from start.
I was small kid, so I liked running and jumping and sometimes squats and technique.
At the start we did only musculation without weights and it took Maybe three years before we touched weights.
It was everything with 1 kg barbell.
And when did you touch your first weights?
When I was 8 years old. It was something around 40 kg snatch. But I was a small kid, so you have to be patient and do a lot of muscle work.
I did 50 kg snatch and 70 kg clean and jerk when I was 9 years old.
My legs were very strong because I was very bad boy in that age and because of that I got punished every time, so I had to do many squats with disk and thanks to that my legs are so strong. Victor always said „take 5 kg disk and squattinq for 5 minutes“.
When did you hit your first 100 kg snatch?
I think around 14 years old.
Then I hit 120kg snatch and 145kg clean and jerk in one competition.
I made such a big progress because I changed my body category and went up on 62 kg.
What is your biggest motivation?
This is my motivation because Victor is only bronze and silver medalist and Victor’s coach is my coach. His name is Eduards Andruškevičs. I really want to bring gold medal for him. He is so long in sport of weightlifting and I need to bring that gold medal for him. He really deserves that.
Did you lose motivation during the coronavirus?
This was very difficult time. Because we always train. We were thinking that maybe Olympic games changed, but maybe there will be European championship. It’s very difficult when you train and there is no competition, because it's not public and you train just for yourself.
How important for you was change of Olympic year?
I lost motivation at the start. But I said to myself, that I have one more year to become better athlete.
I will have more time to make better musculation and be much stronger next year.
So this is maybe better for me, because I will be able to lift really big weights
I believe in 171 kg snatch and 210 kg clean and jerk. I want to lift very big clean and jerk. I don’t have a big progress in snatch at these days, but clean and jerk is so strong.
Do you want to reach the World Record?
Yes of course. I will have competition next month locally in Latvia and i think that I am ready to do it.
What's the atmosphere like at big events like the World Championship?
Sometimes this is very difficult but sometimes it’s very good.
Last year in Thailand I felt very bad because I wasn’t prepared enough.
I started feeling very bad before championship and I was very nervous during whole competition
When I went for big weights on big platform I was very nervous and wasn’t able to lift even weights what I lift in training.
Which weights you lifted in this competition?
It was very bad.
I hit 155 kg snatch and 190 kg clean and jerk.
I had a competition in Germany (Bundesliga) before World championship and I lifted 160kg snatch and 200kg clean and jerk without problem many times.
How looks your training day?
I wake up at 7:30 and go to the gym, do warm up, bicycle, push ups, running, jumping. This is just for 30 minutes, then breakfast, then chill for one and half hour, then big session, which is usually snatch, deadlift, squats.
We do especially front squat every morning.
After this is lunch, sleeping for 3 hours, get up and clean and jerk session.
Every day is same.
When did you max out?
If my coach say that I should max out, then I max out. It is all on him
He say, that training is not competition, so this is not important.
Do you have any days off?
We do not do this in Latvia
No days off in olympic team.
We have only on Sunday one session.
It’s only about squats, biceps, triceps, musculation, running and jumping.
What about regeneration?
We do sauna every 2 days. And every 2 weeks physiotherapy.
But now it is really hard during corona, so we go only once in month to physiotherapist.
Are you doing any type of running or jumping?
We do running with gums, only 100 metres, not more.
And maybe 3 - 4x jumping
We are doing box jumps as well.
We are doing different variations of that.
What is your favourite exercise?
Now I like squats.
My personal best is 255 kg on front squat and 295 kg on back squat.
Have you ever tried 300 kg?
Only once, but I went just down and stayed there, so I failed that lift.
What’s your favourite variation of snatch and clean and jerk?
I like classic snatch and snatch from blocks
I was doing 165kg from blocks when I was 69 kg category.
It is same with clean and jerk. So it is classic from floor.
Do you have any advice for young weightlifters?
I think that you need to do a lot of musculation from young age. Especially make your legs and back strong because these parts of body are most important.
You need to have really good technique. Because when you are older, it is really difficult to change your technique. It’s much easier when you’re young.
Do you want to change your weight category in future?
No, 81 is ideal for me. I am 170 cm, so I am a small boy.
Once I wanted to try 220 kg on clean and jerk and went into 89 kg category, but coach said no.
Do you want to be a coach when you finish your career?
Yes, I like this. My whole life is about sport of weightlifting.
I like to help people with technique and help people to achieve better results.
Do you have any degree?
I finished my education and then decide, that the most important thing at the moment is Olympic Games, so I focused only on them. But maybe in the future, I will finish some degree. I need to concentrate only on weightlifting, because it is really hard to focus on more things.
Do you drink coffee?
I drink 3 coffee per day.
One before snatch, next before cj and one between these sessions.
Do you have any type of mindset or special ritual before lifts?
No, I always go for training. And when my head is happy, then training is good.
I am trying to be positive. If I go negative into training, then training will be very bad.
How does your relationship with your family look like?
I like my family. I left them when I was 14 years old and went to olympic center to different city and was not able to see my family so often. I am seeing them 10 - 12 times a year. Because sometimes I am preparing for big competition and can't see my family for 3 - 4 months in a row. This is really difficult sometimes, but now I am bigger and stronger and my family respect that.
They always support me and they are big motivation for me.
We are doing video calls quite often.
Do you think that you have any limits?
I have, but I want to lift as much as my body can lift.
I don't know how high I can go, but I like this.
Are you scared when you are going under 200 kg?
No, I am not scared, because when you are scared, you can get injured easily.
Your muscles are not relaxed and this could be a big problem for many people.
If you need to go then you go.
Have you ever tried a different sport?
No, only weightlifting. Because I started when I was 7 years old and from that moment I did only weightlifting
What is your biggest achievement?
I am 2 times world champion in junior category.
Then gold snatch in european champion.
But right now I am interested in world record
I want to reach world record because it is important for my life and for country as well.
If you win gold medal in Olympic Games, then you can do everything. It will help people to recognise you.
I will be famous person in my country. You have more opinions, where you can work.
You can do politics as well. People respect you when you are good athlete, because you are doing only good things.
Are you seeing your idol these days?
Yes, he is my second coach. We are like friends these days and he is helping me so much with my motivation, so when I am feeling really bad, then he helps me a lot. Especially at days when I do not want to train.
And do you have a good relationship with your first coach?
Yes, of course, he is like my second father because when I was 14 years old, he took me to olympic center and he did everything for me and give me everything.
Do you want to say something to people who will read this?
If you love weightlifting then do weightlifting. Even if you aren’t professional, then do that. Just go and train.
I see people saying that they are too old and these things, but everyone can train.
Never be scary and do what you want.
I think that weightlifting is sport for everyone.
Interview did Martin Pavlis for workout.eu