These days, numerous friends, pupils and colleagues congratulate the Honored Coach of Turkmenistan Alexander Nikolaevich Snagovsky, who was at the origin of the foundation of the Turkmen kickboxing school, on the 70th anniversary. The ORIENT website staff joins these congratulations with great respect.
In sports circles, when talking about the senior coach of the Turkmenistan national kickboxing team, Snagovsky, it is often used the phrase “coach of champions”. And this is not a banal compliment. The rich experience gained over the years of mentoring this master is worthy of the closest attention.
…Sasha showed his sports hobbies as a teenager, joining the boxing section. Years later, being an adult, he became interested in karate. The desire to be the first and the constant will to win helped him to achieve success in both sports, becoming a multiple champion of Turkmenistan.
But Alexander Nikolaevich gained the highest recognition when he united these two martial arts, establishing the Turkmen kickboxing Federation in the early 90s, although then it was called the National Center according to new trends. Under its auspices, Snagovsky has prepared a whole series of prize-winners of major international championships and tournaments, including world champions, Asian Champions, World Cup winners, and European Open Championships.
The names of its students have long and firmly taken their places in the chronicle of sports achievements of Turkmenistan, as well as the name of their constant mentor. However, everything is in order…
The teenager Sasha came to the boxing section, like other boys – out of a desire to learn how to stand up for himself. He came to Ashgabat with his parents in the early 60s of the last century from Takhtabazar, and immediately realized that it is important not to get lost in a big city. And, most importantly, do not lose yourself. And always be ready to fight back if it is necessary.
He got a good teacher – a high-class professional, honored coach of Turkmenistan Yuri Pavlovich Platonov, whom Alexander Nikolaevich cherishes great respect and good memories.
“He was for me not just a sports mentor, giving lessons in competent punches. He became a real teacher, whose main mission was not only to raise a masterful athlete, but also to cultivate in his student such qualities necessary for life as firmness of character, fearlessness, striving to achieve goals, respect for rivals. And also – to instill in him the concept of honor and dignity.
Step by step, young Sasha stubbornly rose to the heights of sports skill. Today, in memory of that time, there are sports cups and medals received by Alexander Snagovsky for winning various competitions – they occupy an entire shelf in his apartment. He did not stop performing during his service in the army. But one day something irreparable happened…
While preparing for the tournament for the Boxing Cup of the Central Asian Military District, Alexander Snagovsky received such a serious injury that it became an insurmountable obstacle in his sports career. Such injuries doctors, unfortunately call professional ones. Unscrupulous competitors are well aware of the vulnerable, traumatic places of a strong athlete, and try to work on them, each time attacking the damaged organs again and again.
Therefore, the young, very promising boxer Snagovsky, whom the coaches laid high hopes on, had to part with his performances in the ring. But not with sports. Strong-willed and persistent in the ring and in life, Alexander Snagovsky enters the physical education Department of the Turkmen State University, after which he became a coach.
And every boy who dreamed of a boxer career, aspired to get into the section of Alexander Nikolaevich, because he knew that this attentive mentor to the fosterlings would generously pass on them his rich experience as an athlete.
When in the late 70s and early 80s the whole world was swept by a new sports hobby – martial arts, the fashion trend did not pass by Alexander Snagovsky. Less than a year after starting classes with Rahman Allakov, he took first place in his weight category at the first Karate Championship of Turkmenistan in 1980.
Truly speaking, the new hobby did not last long. Snagovsky, a fighter by nature, accustomed to total and uncompromising combat, was not satisfied with the imitation of punches of the non-contact style of karate. He, a mighty fighter, lacked the feeling of a real fight. And then he began to look closely at another type of the same martial arts – Thai boxing.
“We with the guys-boxers whom I trained, already tried to combine punches and kicks, – says Alexander Nikolaevich, – still knowing nothing about Thai boxing, but it was not serious, rather in jest. When I personally saw the fights with full contact, I realized – here they are, new horizons for the development of the fighting qualities of the athlete.”
However, the fact that Thai boxing is quite a cruel sport, there are practically no rules in it, and such injuries are inflicted that they require long-term treatment. An alternative option was kickboxing, which combined both Thai boxing and karate elements.
Little by little, Alexander Nikolaevich began to teach his fosterling boxers a new sports system. Per friends, he got training literature and used every opportunity to attend kickboxing competitions. Training took place semi-legally – not all martial arts received official recognition in the country then.
In the early 90s of the last century, the sports authorities finally supported the initiative of the irrepressible Snagovsky to create a kickboxing federation in Turkmenistan, which he has also headed. Soon the pupils of Alexander Nikolaevich already participated in the national championships, and then they were invited to international competitions.
And the first result did not take long to wait – in 1993 at the World Championships in Hungary, the fosterling of Snagovsky, who was opposed by professionals being skilled in world-class tournaments, won a bronze medal. Next year – another bronze at the World Championship in Thailand, however, in Thai boxing.
And then here we go: medals of all merits at the world championships in kickboxing, inclusively according to WAKO – one of the most prestigious in the world. Young pupils of Alexander Nikolaevich began to climb the highest steps of the World, Asian and European pedestals of honor one after another.
Since that time, the rapid rise of a new sports discipline for Turkmenistan has begun. Cities and countries flashed by – USA, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Finland, Croatia, Turkey, Thailand, Hungary, Yugoslavia, etc. Turkmen fighters went to international competitions four or five times a year. From tournament to tournament, gaining experience, they no longer felt constrained in international competitions, being on equal terms with the strongest fighters of the planet.
More and more often, the national Flag and the National Anthem of Turkmenistan were flown over the squares of the rings. Skeptics, who had recently shrugged their shoulders in bewilderment, saying, “What worthy can these novice athletes show?”, now respectfully nod in the direction of Snagovsky’s pupils and, raising their thumbs, say “good fighters”.
During the years of its existence, the national kickboxing team has not lost a single significant tournament. There are also three-time world champions in its ranks.
Today, Turkmen kickboxing masters firmly occupy a leading position in the international sports arena, constantly confirming the titles of the strongest. And this well-trodden road to victory is the result of the tireless work of Alexander Nikolaevich.
Kickboxing is still one of the most popular types of martial arts in the country. The fame of the Turkmen kickboxing school has long crossed the country’s borders. This is really a school with established traditions that provide a high level of training for athletes.
Now Snagovsky’s students train youth themselves, continuing the traditions of their mentor. And Alexander Nikolaevich himself in his 70s, in addition to the main work with the masters, often “messes” with young athletes, personally choosing future candidates for the national team.
“Different guys come to our sports club, – says the coach of champions. – Someone is out of simple curiosity, others are, as it always was, out of a desire to overcome shyness and, having learned to fight, take revenge on their abusers, others – in their zeal to become famous athletes.”
Among them there are very gifted guys, but the coaching experience convinced Alexander Nikolaevich that success, as a rule, is achieved by not so much gifted as by the hardworking one. He never “breaks” the newcomers, imposing on them his style of fighting, but only corrects their natural abilities, explaining how they can be used in the ring with the greatest efficiency.
In general, the work to “create” a good athlete is not only to hone his technique, it is also a constant work to educate his human qualities. Each fostering needs an individual approach. If the coach does not become a friend and father for the boy who came to the section, if there is no trust and mutual understanding between them, then the coach did not take place as a mentor and he still needs to work on himself.
Therefore, they say that you need to choose not the sport itself, but, first of all, the coach.
Today, the titled fighters are replaced by talented young people – self-confident, hardworking, persistent, purposeful. There is a camaraderie in the team. The guys, supporting each other, worry about failures and enjoy victories together. And this is not just a team, but a family.
“The President of our country, on the one hand, pays great attention to strengthening the health of the nation, encouraging physical culture movement among the masses, and on the other hand, creates conditions for the development of high-performance sports, and this is the earnest of fresh sports victories,” says Snagovsky.
… Kickboxing is a tough sport. These are grueling training sessions, heavy fights, painful injuries, offensive defeats. But in the end, unmistakable happiness of victory. At the very least – victory over yourself and your weaknesses. After all, every fight, whether it is the first or the hundredth, is, in the end, a duel with yourself, a stepping stone to self-knowledge, self-affirmation and self-improvement.
There is no fight without bruises and bumps, but in a fight a person tests himself for strength, finds the will to win, confidence and faith in his own strength. Even losing can be a lesson. You need to be able to benefit from your own and others’ mistakes. In kickboxing, as in any other form of martial arts, there is a moral code, its own moral principles – the ability to fight should not serve as an instrument of violence. This is primarily a way of self-defense and protecting those in need of help, not an attack.
“A person who knows how to stand up for himself, who knows how to do it, has calmness, a sense of self-respect and dignity, so he will never be the first to start a fight” this is the sports philosophy taught by Alexander Nikolaevich to young athletes.
And how many awards were brought home by the fosterlings of Snagovsky? There are a lot of them – sometimes he gets confused himself, trying to count them. The last were seven medals – 5 gold, one silver and one bronze, won in 2019 at the World Championships and the European Open Cup held in Turkey, as well as the World Cup in the Russian Federation.
Unfortunately, in 2020, competitions abroad were either severely restricted or not held at all. But Honored Coach of Turkmenistan Snagovsky and the national team headed by him continue to train hard, preparing for the upcoming competitions.
The Motherland appreciated the contribution of the honored coach of the country Alexander Nikolaevich Snagovsky to the development of Turkmen sports, awarding him the “Gayrat” medal.
And these days ORIENT congratulates together with numerous fosterlings, colleagues and friends Alexander Nikolaevich Snagovsky on his anniversary and wishes him new success in coaching, and his fosterlings – the “golden mean” on the victory rostrum of the world championships!
ORIENT Editorial Board