Yasmani Acosta: "Spending six months without fighting affected me, but it made me stronger"

After settling into the final of the Pan American qualifying tournament, the Greco-Roman wrestler became the 15th Team Chile athlete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Learn more in his interview.

How was your qualification to Tokyo? What did this competition and this ranking mean to you?

Since I lived in Cuba, qualifying for the Olympics has been a dream. Eventually the opportunity to represent Chile was given and I had the opportunity to qualify for Tokyo. The truth is that until the moment before the competition it was difficult, I had not wrestled for six months, because my training partner was injured; and then in February I suffered an injury just before I started preparing for qualifying.
These two factors worked against each other, but they made me stronger. Thanks to the work of the CAR kinesiologists, the coaches and the delegation, I had good support at my side to face this challenge of the qualifiers.

How was the competition for the classification?

I had a match with the world's runner-up, Adam Jacob Coon, where the fight was 3-2 and it was the most difficult one. The truth is that I knew I could win it, because I had already competed at the American level, but everything changes when you haven't wrestled for six months and you are injured. 

What has it been like to train in the middle of the pandemic? Have you had problems?

This has been difficult. So far I have only been able to do physical training. I still cannot maintain contact to fight, but one must adapt, because health is more important than anything else, to be physically well when the opportunity comes, take advantage of it, and get to that medal. At the moment I am waiting for the authorization of the health people, from the CAR, to be able to start having physical contact and being able to train. If not, we'll see the possibility of training abroad, perhaps in a European country, where I can fight.

Do you think the postponement of the Olympic event affected you?

Personally, it benefited me, because I competed with an injury and two or three months later came the Olympics, I was not going to be well recovered. In addition, I had a deficit of almost six months without fighting, so I was not well prepared to face the Olympic Games.

What are your next challenges?

For now, the world championship in Serbia in December, although it all depends on how things are up to that date. For now it is 50/50.
The next challenge would be preparing for the Olympics next year. My goal for both is to win. On the one hand, there is the World Cup, where you always go with a winning mentality, but also with the desire to see the level of the rivals and how the competitions are given. At heart it is a preparation for the Games. You have to go to win, but also to watch.

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