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Georgian Olympic Diary

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'As We Say In Georgia, Victory And Defeat Are Brothers'

Georgia's Varlam Liparteliani (right) faces Cameroon's Dieudonne Dolassem during their men's first-round match in the 90-kilogram class at the London 2012 Olympics.

Georgian judo star Varlam Liparteliani is competing in his first bouts at the London Olympics on August 1. Every day, the 23-year-old athlete shares his impressions with RFE/RL's Georgian Service about life behind the scenes at the world's biggest sporting event. These are his impressions from July 31 as he prepared for his first matches.

The fourth day of the Olympics was a bit upsetting for us. To begin with I don’t think luck was on [Georgian judoka Avtandil] Chrikishvili’s side. He is a very good and successful athlete and he was very well prepared physically, so I think he could have won [his bout on July 31]. But he lost in the second round. I think that sometimes luck is very important in sports. We were all very upset about this and I won’t talk about it anymore.

Our tennis player Anna Tatishvili played really well but she lost against Russia’s Nadia Petrova, who is much more experienced. It was a very tough match that went to three sets and lasted for about two and a half hours but [Tatishvili] fought until the end. Of course it’s sad that she lost and was eliminated, but she did all she could.

[Georgian archer] Kristine Esebua also competed [on July 31] as well and in the first round she defeated last year’s world champion, a competitor from Chile. It was a clear victory but in the second round she had a very tough competitor from South Korea who already won a gold medal. So she was competing against an Olympic champion -- she had a very tough competitor and lost, but Kristine can leave the Olympics with her head held high.

The London Olympics also ended for our only swimmer, Irakli Bolkvadze. For him, however, even participating in the Olympics was a huge success in itself.

Anyway, the last day of July was a bit disappointing. What can you do? In sports, as we say in Georgia, "victory and defeat are brothers."

Otherwise, life goes on in the Olympic Village. We got used to life here and we do not feel like strangers anymore.

As for myself, I am preparing for [my matches on August 1] psychologically and physically. I am training very hard, losing weight, and concentrating on [the bouts]. I just finished training and it was a bit of a tough day for me, so now I have to go to bed because I have to wake up at six in the morning and I have to be ready in all respects.

At 10 o’clock I have to face Dieudonne Dolassem from Cameroon. Finally, the Olympic Games is beginning for me as well.

NOTE: Varlam defeated Dieudonne Dolassem in the first round of the 90-kilogram weight category before being defeated in his next bout with Australia's Mark Anthony.

'We Have All Gained Weight Because The Food Is Delicious'

Georgian judoka Varlam Liparteliani

Georgian judo star Varlam Liparteliani will compete at the London Olympics on August 1. Every day, the 23-year-old athlete is sharing his impressions with RFE/RL's Georgian Service about life behind the scenes at the world's biggest sporting event. These are his impressions as recorded on July 30.

The rain has stopped. It’s a bit windy and quite chilly. It rains almost every day here in London. Well it’s not a problem for us judokas. We don’t mind whether it’s raining or not.

But for some sports, the weather is very significant. Take archery, for instance. Our teammate Kristine Esebua couldn’t compete [on July 30] because of bad weather and her shootoff against a Chilean archer was postponed [until July 31].

As far as our judo team goes, [on July 30] it was Nugzar Tatalashvili’s turn. He competed in the [men’s] 73-kilogram category against [South Korean judoka] Ki-chun Wang. Nugzar did his best. He fought till the end but lost by a narrow margin. I still think that the referees were slightly in favor of Ki-chun Wang. But this is my biased opinion.

My day started with more training. The day when I step on the tatami [judo mat] is approaching.

We are all training very hard but we also have to lose a bit of weight. I think we have all probably gained weight because the food in the Olympic Village cafeteria is very delicious. It is very important to keep your weight stable. Even one gram above your weight category will immediately disqualify you.

This unfortunately happened to our boxer. [The only Georgian boxer, Merab Turkadze, was disqualified for weighing 300 grams above his weight category of 56 kilograms.]

I am competing in the 90-kilogram category and if I weigh even one gram more I will not be able to compete. If I weigh less it doesn’t matter. If you weigh a few kilos below your weight category then it’s perhaps even better. 

[Georgian judoka Avtandil] Chrikishvili will compete in the 81-kilogram category [on July 31]. We're all looking forward to seeing him in action and cheering him on. [August 1] is my day.

Tags:olympics


Video 'We Will Raise Glasses Filled With Water'

Olympic Profile: Promising Georgian Judoka Varlam Lipartelianii
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July 30, 2012
Just before the Olympic Games kicked off in London, RFE/RL’s Georgian Service spoke to judoka Varlam Liparteliani, who is expected to be a top medal contender for Georgia.
Georgian judo star Varlam Liparteliani shares his impressions from the London Olympics with RFE/RL's Georgian Service about life behind the scenes at the world's biggest sporting event.

I'm in a great mood today, I cannot say how happy I am about Lasha's [Shavdatuashvili] victory [in men's judo]. It's our first gold medal at the London Olympics.

Unfortunately I couldn't attend Lasha's morning bouts. We couldn't miss our training sessions, but we were with him in spirit. We were receiving news from the competition hall, though, and they were very positive.

First we learned that Lasha had defeated Chilean Alejandro Zuniga and Frenchman David Larose, both by ippon [the highest score, which ends the fight before regulation time].

We could hardly wait for training to end. As soon as we were done we hurried to the hall.

When we entered, Lasha was already in the middle of his third match and we saw how brilliantly he defeated the representative of the host country, Britain's Colin Oates, also by ippon. In the semifinal, Lasha again impressed everyone by beating [Japan's] Masashi Ebinuma, who comes from the birthplace of judo.

Lasha Shavdatuashvili celebrates after beating Hungary's Miklos Ungvari on July 29.Lasha Shavdatuashvili celebrates after beating Hungary's Miklos Ungvari on July 29.
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Lasha Shavdatuashvili celebrates after beating Hungary's Miklos Ungvari on July 29.
Lasha Shavdatuashvili celebrates after beating Hungary's Miklos Ungvari on July 29.
In the evening we watched the final, Lasha's fifth bout and the most important in his life. His opponent was Hungary's Miklos Ungvari, a three-time European champion. Lasha was just 11 years old when Ungvari won his first European title!

The match was really tough and tight, but Lasha was a bit better. He really deserved this gold medal. He's only 20 and I'm sure he has a great sports career ahead of him.

Everyone is happy here in London thanks to our teammate's victory, Georgia's entire Olympics delegation is celebrating. For us athletes this victory is not only a great joy but also a huge motivation as we prepare for our own competitions.

I can imagine how happy everyone must be in Georgia, especially in Lasha's home city of Gori. Unfortunately we cannot celebrate this victory in a due manner, since we still have to follow our special regime, but our delegation and our managers will be celebrating.

When we arrived at the Olympic village tonight, it was much more packed than when we first came, it's almost full now.

There is no set time for dinner. The dining hall is open 24 hours a day, you can go there whenever you want and you are treated like a king.

Tonight's dinner will be our celebration. We will raise our glasses filled with water and, according to Georgian tradition, we will say, "May God give you the strength of water."

Tags:olympics

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