March 27 is the birth anniversary of the late Greco-Roman wrestler Aghasi Manukyan (Armenia), who won a gold medal at the 1993 World Wrestling Championships.
The renowned wrestler from Gyumri was living in the US since 2006, and he recently passed away after a long illness. He would have turned 51 on Tuesday.
2012 Olympic silver medalist, 2014 World and 2009 European Champion Greco-Roman wrestler Arsen Julfalakyan said Manukyan had inspired him when making his first steps in wrestling and, also, he recalled his gift.
“20 years before, in 1998 first time I went for wrestling...!
“Before I was always in wrestling halls with my father(I grew up on mats...),but that was just for fun. That day I convinced my parents to start practicing wrestling instead of piano classes and they agreed(as one can see,it was a better choice...)
“Everything was fixed by my father(where should I practice,who should be my first coach,the schedule of trainings etc).I went to the wrestling hall for the first time with my mother(father was abroad for business...)!!!
“That time I didn’t have professional wrestling shoes and for the beginning we had bought just a pair of cheap snickers.
“I can remember like today... Just we were going to enter the hall when we met Aghasi Manukyan sitting in front of the doors(in his favorite squat position where he could stay for hours...). He said that he was very happy to see me continuing my father’s profession and asked whether I had wrestling shoes or not?
“When he learnt the answer,he went to the coaches’ room and just in a few moments brought for me a totally new Asics wrestling shoes,exactly my size and socks for it․
“-I wish you become a great wrestler with this shoes but at first you should win a lot of small tournaments,don’t forget it- that was his words!
“At that moment I was the happiest kid in the world and I promised to do that. It was a huge motivation for me.
“That’s how I started my long path in wrestling.
“Thank you very much Aghasi Manukyan for everything what you did for wrestling.
“Rest in Peace,” Julfalakyan wrote on his Facebook page.
Aghasi Manukyan was crowned world champion in the 57kg Greco-Roman competition at the 1993 World Wrestling Championships in Stockholm.
Manukyan won two silver medals at the European Wrestling Championships in 1994 and 1995. He also competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
In 1996, he finished his wrestling career and began coaching.
Renowned wrestlers from numerous countries have extended condolences on his passing and expressed support to his family.