From the old times wrestling was popular among mountain people of Daghestan. Its development as a sport in the republic had a good breeding ground, as the locals are commonly believed to be genetically predisposed to combat sports. Rough life in the mountains, constant battles with intruders promoted forming of a distinctive type of people, who differed by their physical strength, tenacious temper, decisiveness and strong will. In the olden times wrestling was included in the system of physical training of village local defense brigades, it was highlanders’ favorite entertainment, and not one public holiday could go without it. Winners of the competitions were held in respect among villagers, they were the pride of families and villages.
Among them there were real strongmen, whose fame stepped far beyond Daghestan’s borders. Mama Makhtilaev, more known as Sali Suleyman, Al-Klich Khasaev, Osman Abdurakhmanov-Kikuninskiy – these originals from inner-land brilliantly performed on circus arenas of world’s capitals, causing audience’s amazement demonstrating strength stunts and winning the strongest wrestlers of their time.
Years later Ali Aliev picked up the torch from them, putting a start to victories of athletes from Daghestan on the World championships. Ali Aliev won the World championships five times, no other soviet or foreign wrestlers did it before him. Three times he was honored with the right to represent the country on the Olympic Games, but the great sportsman, acknowledged world leader has fatally tough luck on these competitions, three times he was close to the podium, but never got on it.
1970s are one of the most successful periods in the history of Daghestanian sport. Finally the republic has its own Olympic Champion in freestyle wrestling. This significant event took place in Olympics-1972 in Munich, where Zagalav Abdulbekov brilliantly competed and became the first wrestler in the North Caucasus who got on the top tier in the Olympic Games.
On the Olympics-1976 in Montreal his achievement was repeated by Vladimir Yumin, and four years later in Moscow two Daghestanian freestyle wrestlers – Magomedgasan Abushevi and Saipulla Absaidov – merited gold Olympic medals.
In the beginning of the 1990s after some downfall, the situation with freestyle wrestling significantly improved, and it is connected with the name of the president of the Daghestan Wrestling Federation – Gamid Gamidov. Energetic leader, standing for election to State Duma Deputy of the Russian Federation and then minister of Finance of the Republic of Daghestan, he also supported other sports. Currently the Wrestling Federation is headed by his brother Abdusamad Gamidov. With his guidance during many years wrestlers from Daghestan persistently keep leading positions in the country and consistently achieve state-of-the-art results on the most prestigious international competitions. The government evolves a republican special-purpose program “Of preparing Daghestanian sportsmen for the Summer Olympic Games-1966 in Atlanta (USA)”. Providing the leading athletes with all the necessary conditions and also measures of material inducement couldn’t but have an impact on growth of sports results. In Atlanta the Russian hymn was played twice in honor of freestyle wrestlers Khadjimurad Magomedov and Buvaysar Saytiev, and four years later on the Olympic Games in Sydney three trainees of Daghestan wrestling school – Murad Umakhanov, Adam Saytiev and Sagid Murtuzaliev won gold medals.
In 2000s Daghestanian wrestlers keep bringing joy with their victories in the main starts of the quad. On the Olympic Games-2004 in Athens Buvaysar Saytiev and Mavlet Batyrov got on the top tier. Four years later in Beijing these outstanding freestyle wrestlers will repeat their achievement. Also on the Olympic wrestling tournament Shirvani Muradov and Ramazan Irbaykhanov will become champions. Another four years will pass, and on London Olympics freestyle wrestlers Djamal Otarsultanov and Sharip Sharipov will get into the list of Olympic triumphants from Daghestan.
In 2016 another Olympic cycle ended with the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. These Olympics also brought gold which was gained by Abdulrashid Sadulaev to Daghestan.