Sambo world champion: "I struggled to get ahead". FIAS

Bulgarian sambist Ivan Harkov won the World Championship title in Yerevan in November 2023. It was the first world title for Bulgaria in 10 years. In an interview with bTV, Harkov talked about his way to the gold medal.

"At the beginning I was struggling to be a bit ahead, not to be the last. I finished third twice, then for the third time, then I started fighting to go further," said the world champion. Now he has another journey ahead of him - to prove that his victory wasn't a fluke. "From now on I have to prove to everyone that it was not just luck. It's proof to you that you can go on, fight and build," said Harkov. Winning the World Championship has made Harkov even more famous in his home country, where he also works as a security policeman. 

"Word had already spread that I had become world champion, and in the morning we received a report about a boy - drunk and aggressive, shouting, screaming. I just walked into the room, he looked at me, stood up and said - 'Father Ivan, everything is OK.' Nothing more. The good thing about this job is that there is no day, no shift, you go to work and you don't know what's going to happen," said the Bulgarian athlete.