Connection of generations: a Greco-Roman wrestling tournament in memory of Ivan Grigoriev was held in Novoaltaysk

Connection of generations: a Greco-Roman wrestling tournament in memory of Ivan Grigoriev was held in Novoaltaysk


This weekend, the Altaivagon sports complex in Novoaltaisk was truly crowded – athletes, coaches, loyal fans and honored guests gathered for the All-Russian Greco-Roman wrestling tournament in memory of Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Grigoriev. More than 200 young men from 10 regions of Russia competed for prizes on the mat. The MK in Altai correspondent attended the event to see with his own eyes: the past competitions are not just a competition, but a celebration of sports, which is based on the continuity of generations, patriotic education and fortitude.

Half a century of sporting victories

The All-Russian Greco-Roman wrestling tournament in memory of Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Grigoriev, traditionally held in a satellite city of the regional capital, has a half-century history. It dates back to 1972, and since then sports competitions have not taken place only once – due to coronavirus restrictions.

The competition is dedicated to the memory of Ivan Grigoriev for a reason – as a young man, he and his family moved to the village of Chesnokovka, where Novoaltaisk is now located. A street in the city is named after the famous pilot, and an obelisk is erected in the place where his house was once located. A couple of minutes walk from it is the Altaivagon sports complex, within the walls of which this weekend, for the 53rd time, competitions were held, bringing together wrestlers from the Tyumen, Orenbur, Kemerovo, Kurgan, Tomsk, Omsk and Novosibirsk regions, the Republics of Khakassia and Altai , and, of course, the Altai Territory.

The opening ceremony was attended by the head of Novoaltaysk. Vladimir Bodunov welcomed and congratulated the guests and residents of the city on the start of the annual competition.

“This tournament, named after our fellow countryman, is of very great importance. He was only 25 years old when he died in battle – one might say, still a boy. And his memory lives on thanks to such events. We will never forget our heroes, and we keep the connection between generations. I want this tournament to live as long as possible,” shared the mayor of Novoaltaisk.

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It has already become a tradition for the presence at the competitions of the Senator of the Russian Federation, three-time winner of the Olympic Games, Hero of Russia Alexander Karelin, who highly appreciates not only the sporting event itself, but also the Novo-Altai wrestling school.

“It preserves generations of coaching. They really love wrestling here. And the fact that more than 200 participants have gathered in the hall today, the bright and expressive fights we see, is the best manifestation of respect for the memory of the amazing person whom this tournament personifies, the hero and pilot who died in the skies over Berlin. Everything that happens here is a connection between generations and traditions,” he said.

Separately, Alexander Karelin thanked the head of the region, Viktor Tomenko, and the deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation from the Altai Territory, Alexander Prokopyev:

“Without the assistance of the regional leadership, without the personal position of the governor and without the support of the Alexander Prokopyev Foundation, the tournament would have taken place in completely different conditions.”

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The audience was also greeted by ACZS deputy Grigory Bakhtin, Deputy Minister of Sports of the region Ivan Subochev, President of the regional wrestling federation Konstantin Stepanenko, as well as masters of sports, honored coaches, famous athletes, employees of the Russian Guard and participants of the Northern Military District. During the opening ceremony, a minute of silence was held to honor the memory of the fallen. After this, Metropolitan Sergius of Barnaul and Altai blessed the tournament participants and wished everyone success and victories.

With hope for the future

Before going on the mat, the guys encouraged each other, gave advice, and discussed past meetings with opponents. Almost more than the students, their coaches were worried about the results of the competition. Some brought thirty of their students to the tournament at once, while others, like Denis Belousov from Kemerovo, brought only one, but very promising athlete – 15-year-old Alexander Seregin, winner of all-Russian tournaments.

“We came to Novoaltaisk from Novosibirsk, where we had a three-day training camp. This is the first time the athlete and I have attended this tournament, but we have already appreciated the excellent organization and level of the opponents. The leading wrestlers of Siberia have gathered here, but we are confident in our abilities. We are in a fighting mood, we are waiting for victory,” he shared.

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The guys who performed on these two days seemed to feel a responsibility not only to the heroes of the past, but also to the fighters of the future who will one day look up to them. After all, once upon a time, today’s venerable athletes took part in the same tournament as young participants. Therefore, when going into battle with an opponent, everyone gave their all and fought to the last.

The tenacity of character of the young wrestlers was highly appreciated by the participants of the special military operation invited to the event.

“This was my first time taking part in such an event. I have only good impressions from the tournament. I myself was involved in mixed martial arts and I can say with confidence that sports in our city are developing in all directions, and this is very important. Sport strengthens character and spirit, and this is an integral part of a fighter not only in a fight with an opponent, but also in life,” shared one of their fighters.

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The young participants of the tournament themselves are confident that someday they will return to this hall as coaches and parents of new champions, and the tournament in memory of Ivan Grigoriev in 50 years will remain the same important event in the world of Greco-Roman wrestling, inspiring young athletes to new achievements and helping to preserve the memory of the outstanding pilot Ivan Grigoriev.

“I can’t even believe a little that these competitions are being held for the 53rd time. Once upon a time, as a young man, I took part in them myself, but now I came to cheer for my son. I hope that with the support of deputies and city authorities, one day I will bring my grandson to this hall,” said one of the spectators.

Reference: Ivan Grigoriev was born in the Kosikhinsky district; the family of the future pilot moved to the village of Chesnokovka in 1938. Soon the young guy graduated from the Barnaul flying club, and then went to serve in the Red Army. By March 1945, as a squadron commander of an assault aviation regiment and a senior guard lieutenant, Grigoriev had flown 155 combat missions and shot down five enemy aircraft. The pilot was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously – he died on May 8, 1945 in an air battle.


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