Interview with Khramtcov, M-74 world champion: "Tokyo 2020? Gold!"
Maksim Khramtcov confirmed he is one of the Taekwondo athletes to watch in the years to come after winning the gold medal in Men’s -74 kg at Muju 2017 World Championships. His year 2017 had been superb, conquering titles in the German, Turkish, Fujairah and President’s Cup Opens, but he was still to be tested in a top international event such as the World Champs, and he didn’t let his supporters down.
After climbing to the top of the podium on Monday, Khramtcov attended WTM to comment his feelings after what is supposed to be a turning point in his career.
Q: Congratulations, you’re the new Men’s -74 kg champion. How do you feel about it?
– A: I feel great, glad, very proud. I am still not aware of it, it’s like a dream.
Q: What are your next objectives?
– A: I am going to try to move up in the Rankings to consolidate my position for Tokyo 2020, I need to be within the top 6 for this. And hopefully I will be able to get a medal in the Olympics.
Q: Was it helpful that your opponent in the Semi-final couldn’t battle because of an injury? You had more rest than your rival in the Final.
– A: I wouldn’t say it was a good thing for me, because my opponent was able to warm up during the Semi-final and went to the fight with a better feeling than me. I was cold, I really did not warm up. I would have prefered to fight in the Semis. I would even consider it more prestigious and the gold medal would have tasted even better than it does.
Q: What was the key to beat Rafalovich in the Final?
– A: I had face Rafalovich 3 times before. The first time I lost because of my inexperience probably. And the next 2 times I won. These last two times he accepted the challenge and went for the exchange of hits with me and I proved to be better than him in that scenario. This time he chose a different strategy: he simply avoided the direct fight and did not allow me to do anything, but a couple of times he made a mistake and I punished him for them. I think this was the key to my victory.
Q: How do you feel about new rules in Taekwondo?
– A: These rules will lead to more intense fights and I absolutely agree with these rules.
Q: And what about the upcoming professionalization of the sport with the Grand Slam Series?
– A: I will try to be there and give my best as the rest of players will do. I think everything will get more complicated, it will require hard work to achieve good results.
Q: And what about Tokyo 2020, another medal?
– A: Yes, medal.
– A: Gold!.
Pau Aguilar, Muju