Garrett Coleman, Staff Writer, @legendgary62
First published in print July 28, 2014
Every day in practice, Erkin Tadzhimetov helps the Utah Valley wrestling team develop and become masters at their craft. Coaches give speeches about how to dig deep and perform the task at hand. It’s Tadzhimetov’s turn to put those words into practice as he looks to compete in the World Championships in his native Uzbekistan on Sept. 5.
Tadzhimetov (57 kilos) hasn’t wrestled competitively for seven years, making his feat to compete in the World Championships all that more impressive, and he plans to do well in the tournament, with a potential quick turnaround to compete in the Olympics.
“I was a little rusty,” Tadzhimetov explained. “Once I stepped onto the mat, I forgot everything and was just competing. I got into the competing mode and it felt good.”
Before the big chance to compete for his home country for the World Championships, Tadzhimetov participated in the Canada Cup on July 5. In his big return to the mat, Tadzhimetov had a 4-1 record on his way to a third-place finish, the only loss going to Dillon Williams in a tightly contested match in which he lost 7-5. Williams went on to place second.
Tadzhimetov’s return was a great benchmark to see where he sits in the world of competitive wrestling. Although placing third is a good start, Tadzhimetov’s overall goal is to compete in the Olympics. Not just compete in the big games, but for the United States. He recently finished the naturalization process to become a citizen.
“I have always wanted to keep competing and it’s exciting,” Tadzhimetov said. “This year I am competing for my home country Uzbekistan, but next year I am going to turn around and compete for the U.S. I am going to go into the open and team trials and hopefully make the Olympic team in 2016.”
Tadzhimetov has all the right tools to make an impact at the highest level, as he prepped at the Olympic Sport School where he was a nine-time national champion and a three-time world junior placer. To add to that success, Tadzhimetov has been coaching at Utah Valley for the past seven years, grooming the program to become great while making his dreams becoming a reality.
“I hope [UVU wrestlers] look at my example and see what it takes to accomplish their dreams,” Tadzhimetov explained. “I really want to be a good example for them.”
A lot of hard work had come into getting this far, and, hopefully, Tadzhimetov can become the newest member of the list of Wolverine to represent their school and country in the Olympics.
Garrett is native of Orem, Utah. He is a graduate of Timpanogos High School. While in high school, Garrett enjoyed playing sports and was a double lettered athlete in football in wrestling. After a short stint of college football at Dixie State, Garrett made his way back to Utah Valley in pursuit of his aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. Garrett has been contributing for the UVU Review for three years and has covered sports, specializing in wrestling. Garrett is married to Jodi Coleman and served an LDS mission to Baguio Philippines. You can follow him on twitter @legendgary