- Title: GEORGIA: OLYMPICS - Georgian athletes aim for 2012 Olympic medals
- Date: 17th April 2012
- Summary: TBILISI, GEORGIA (RECENT - APRIL 2012) (REUTERS) RIVER RUNNING THROUGH CITY OLD PART OF CAPITAL
- Embargoed: 2nd May 2012 13:00
- Location: Georgia, Georgia
- Country: Georgia
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVACJK7VVJ65UORMNLBYQ9HA4OT4
- Story Text: Olympic aspirants in ex-Soviet Georgia are gearing up for the London 2012 Games, hopeful of bringing in more medals this summer than they earned at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Nino Salukvadze, a veteran Georgian competitor, has already won medals at three different Olympic games, and is used to constant training.
"We started training for London Olympic games as soon the Beijing Games were over," 42 year- old Salukvadze told Reuters.
Salukvadze is remembered for her reaction to winning a bronze medal in the pistol shooting competition at the Beijing Olympics, when she kissed her competitor, a Russian silver medalist. It was a gesture calling for peace and unity at a time when Russian troops poured across the border in a brief yet bloody war that broke out during the 2008 Olympic Games between Russia and Georgia.
Salukvadze, who won her first gold and silver while competing for the Soviet Union in 1988 before Georgia gained independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet empire, said she would try her best to perform well in the upcoming games.
"I want to say that we will have a very difficult struggle ahead and the main thing will be to withstand the psychological pressure as everyone who arrives there (in London) can shoot. I will try to do anything, and I have strong family support as well, to prepare properly for this Olympic Games and to show the best of my ability," Salukvadze told Reuters, with her husband jokingly adding, "The only thing I do not like about popularity (of my wife) is that whenever I am introduced to a person they say: this is Gocha Machavariani, Nino Salukvadze's husband."
Nino Salukvadze was a part of 35 member team in Beijing, when she won her third Olympic medal, representing independent Georgia.
Georgia is putting much of its Olympic hope on its wrestlers, however, drawing on its history of winning prizes at different international tournaments including recent Olympic games.
Georgian "Chidaoba," which translates into English as "wrestling," is a sport traditional to Georgia. The country's modern-day athletes now train in Dusheti, some 50 km (31 miles) north of Tbilisi.
"Well, I think I have real chances for success at the upcoming Olympic Games. I will do my best to win and bring fame to myself and my country," David Marsagishvili, a Georgian freestyle wrestler, told Reuters during a short break.
Zaza Turmanidze, the national wrestling team's senior coach, is convinced the Georgian team has good chances for success.
"Wrestlers in all weight categories are different prize winners. In fact all of them are either world or European championship winners, but if we judge from the latest Europe championship, David Marsagishvili has the biggest chance (to win at the Olympics)," Zaza Turmanidze told Reuters.
Many of the young wrestlers are working hard to qualify for the London Olympic license.
"To participate and show good results in the Olympic Games is a dream of any sportsman. I am preparing as hard as I can, and I think I am ready, but even though there is some time ahead I still need to get a license by winning a tournament on April 20. I have strong rivals but I am in a fighting mood," Vladimir Khinchagashvili, told Reuters.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics Georgia took home two gold and two bronze medals in wrestling.
The 2012 London Olympic games are set to run from July 27, 2012 to August 12, 2012.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None