Olympian interview
Tamerlan Bashaev: Bronze is Not Enough

Tamerlan Bashaev: Bronze is Not Enough

Tamerlan Bashaev took home the bronze medal in judo at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in judo. Representing the Republic of Russia, his hard work paid off. But Bashaev is not content with how he performed at The Games. Now, he is looking to improve and get better for Paris in 2024 with one mission on his mind: gold.

Bashaev started judo at a young age, 10 years old. It was his brothers that had him interested in the sport. Now, he is the Olympian after years of hard work and persistence on improving.

“For the first time I started to study at 10 years old. I came to Judo instead with my older brothers.”

Tamerlan Bashaev lives his life to improve himself. Outside of training judo, he works on improving his body and becoming stronger which goes hand in hand with being a judoka.

“Now I like weightlifting,” says Bashaev. “I also do it, which helps me to become better as a judoka.”

Bashaev isn’t a one trick pony. He also used to practice sambo, the Russian grappling sport. With his judo background, Tamerlan Bashaev has an aptitude for grappling and found success in sambo as well.

“I used to play sambo and even won the World Youth Championship in 2014.”

Tamerlan Bashaev and The Olympic Games

Tamerlan Bashaev and his bronze medal.

Going into Tokyo, the pandemic had all Olympians locked down with COVID-19 protocols. While it wasn’t Tamerlan Bashaev’s first time in Tokyo, being locked in was not all that bad and the Russian says that his experience was very good overall.

“This time I didn’t manage to explore Tokyo, but I was in Tokyo before and I really like it. It was a lot of fun in the Olympic village, my Olympic one was very positive again.”

Bashaev took home the bronze medal for the Russian Judo Federation. While most athletes simply dream of simply becoming an Olympian, Bashaev wasn’t satisfied with his results and is aiming for better.

“I am glad that I took the medal, but I am upset that it was not a gold one.”

Bashaev isn’t waiting around to get the gold either. He already has his eyes on Paris in 2024 and has started training to accomplish his goals. “I plan to compete at the 2024 Olympics and I want to bring gold.”

Unfortunately, Bashaev was not allowed to represent Russia in full at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. After the Sochi controversy, Russia was banned from international competition and Bashaev was forced to compete under the Russian Judo Federation instead of his home country. While he wasn’t able to represent Russia, Bashaev was still happy to be in Tokyo and compete in his beloved sport.

“I’m glad that even though I did manage to do it anyway,” says Bashaev of not representing Russia this cycle.

For those starting their journey in judo, young or old, Tamerlan Bashaev offers his advice from an Olympic perspective. “Do not feel sorry for yourself,” he says. “Learn to endure and believe in victory.”

Tamerlan Bashaev will make his run at the World Judo Championships in between cycles. Having won silver in the 2021 World Championships, look for Bashaev to up his game going forward, striving for gold.

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Blaine Henry

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