Less than two years ago Ramil Guliyev made history, when he won Turkey’s first ever world Championships gold medal, finishing first in the men’s 200m final in the London Olympic Stadium. Last summer he took the European title in Berlin clocking a fantastic 19.76, thus missing Pietro Mennea’s continental record by only in 0.04 seconds.
Doha, the host city of the current IAAF World Championships, became the reference location during all season for the 29-year-old sprinter. His 2019 opening racewas really amazing and quite promising. Guliyev won the200m at the Doha Diamond League on a really fast 19.99.
– “Our preparation from one competition to another is always robust. From the 2017 London World Championships, to last year’s European Championships in Berlin and, of course now with the Doha Worlds and the Tokyo Olympics in our minds. It’s like one cycleoverflowing into the next one,” explains Oleg Mukhin, Ramil Guliyev’s long-term coach.
What were the differences between your preparation for the London Worlds and now for Doha?
– I think this season hasn’t been that successful for us so far. We were highly prepared to dynamically enter the 2019 outdoor season. When Ramil clocked 19.99 in his first competition, I was sure that the European record was somewhere around the corner. Unfortunately, Ramil caught a flu or something like a virus, but he continued his journey to the World Relays in Yokohama and then to Shanghai, were we was hospitalised with high fever (39.2). Ramil was able to leave China only four days later, but there were too many questions about his health condition.
Long antibiotics’ treatment had bad influence το his shape and we had to fight against the odds all season. Ramil felt that illness’ imprint even in July. That is why we were forced to start our preparation almost from zero level in the middle of the summer.
It’s not uncommon to have two season peaks, but this year it was really different. Until July I could not raisehis practices’ intensity, which is basic to go far and improve our results.
But it was obvious that Guliyev improved a lot in the second part of the season, especially, when he brought his season best down to 19.86 and finished second behind Noah Lyles at the IAAF Diamond league final in Brussels.
– I have no idea what will happen in the men’s 200m final, but I just want to tell that Ramil would be even faster these days. He is the defending world champion. He should be ready to fight at least for a medal in Doha. I assume, there’re three sprinters who will be involved in a tough medal battle in men’s 200m metres: Guliyev, Lyles and De Grasse. But first of all, we’re aiming to break the 40-year-old European record of Italian Pietro Mennea (19.72, Mexico, 12 Sept 1979). That is the biggest goal we strive for. I’m sure, it’s feasible even during the Doha Worlds. We would like to leave a trace in the athletics history.
On other hand, lets don’t disregard other sprinters in the men’s 200m. All top sprinters can improve unexpectedly. Who could said two years ago that Ramilwould win the World Championships in London? Many things could happen. Even a little mistake could cost and it’s very important to avoid mistakes in qualifying rounds and get a good lane for the final race.
What character traits helped Ramil become the person he is?
– Our world is full of information. He, who wants to see, will see. He, who wants to hear, will hear. Ramil always want to grow and improve in all aspects, not only in athletics. He is open to everyone. He is open to learn and to be taught. He draws information from everywhere. It’s very interesting to work with someone so deep, extraordinary and intelligent. I learned a lot from him and vice versa. We’re maturing together.
Did Ramil’s middle–season wedding with Russian middle-distance runner Yekaterina Zavyalova surprised you?
– All things that are not impeding our preparation don’t disturb me. I even think that this important step in his life raised his personal responsibility. It’s great to have such an additional motivation to compete at the Doha World Championships.