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Sunday, November 02, 2014

No Holds Barred: Coach George Hero, Makar Tchekalenkov, Midwood Wrestling 

Photo: Makar Tchekalenkov, in red, vs. Javlon Xaydarov, in blue.

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Coach George Hero, the legendary coach and founder of the Midwood High School wrestling team in Brooklyn, New York, and team co-captain Makar Tchekalenkov.

On Thursday, October 30, at a packed Campus Road Gymnasium in Midwood High School, the team held the Midwood Wrestling Exhibition 2014, now an annual event which kicks off and promotes the upcoming wrestling season.

In this event, the current Midwood wrestlers were divided into two teams, red and blue. As it went to the final match, the team score was tied at 18-18.

The last match had Makar Tchekalenkov, originally from Moscow, Russia, and weighing 128 pounds, representing the red team, against Javlon Xaydarov, originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and weighing 145 pounds, for the blue team. These two were at first scheduled to be partners in a planned tag-team match under high school wrestling rules, but that match had to be cancelled when one of the wrestlers on the opposing team suffered an injury and had to withdraw.

As they wrestled in the first period, it appeared that the heavier Javlon Xaydarov had the advantage. He scored a takedown to go up 2-0. Makar Tchekalenkov did get an escape, and the period ended with a 2-1 score. Javlon started the second period on top, but Makar escaped again, making it 2-2 as it went to the third and final period. With Makar on top, he not only rode Javlon the entire period, but also secured a near fall to score three more points. That was enough to win this exciting match by a score of 5-2, and for his red team to win the meet in dramatic fashion by a score of 21-18.

We spoke with Coach Hero and Makar Tchekalenkov right after the matches ended.

"It was a very exciting match," said Coach Hero. "It was a lot of fun. and I've got to say, I'm very proud of the boys. All the matches were very good and they were very competitive."

"I'm very good of a top wrestler," said Makar Tchekalenkov, who is a senior this year. "I knew I just had to either let him up, or just ride him out and get the back points and win it. So it's 2-2 and I got my back points and I won the match, and I was really excited for that."

We also discussed the importance of events like this in promoting wrestling, the prospects for the team this season, what Makar plans to do after graduating high school and going to college, Coach Hero's assurances that he will indeed wrestle at MidwoodMania in the spring of 2015, and more.

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