Sandy Martin joined the Brazilian delegation in Milan, Italy, in June
In 2012, when he started playing kettlebell unpretentiously in the city of Candelária (RS), Sandy Martin, 29, a Physical Education student of PUCRS, could barely imagine that, in 2018, he would take to the podium, in his first international competition representing Brazil, in one of the newest sports to be disseminated all over the world.
During the WKSF World Kettlebell Sport Championship, in Malpensa, Milan, Italy, the athlete became the world vice-champion in the modality Long Cycle, 75kg – 80kg. He lifted a pair of 32 kg snatches 56 times, from the knee line up to the upper part of the head, for 10 minutes. The championship occurred from Jun 21 – 24 and featured 350 athletes from 27 countries, the Brazilian delegation consisting of nine professionals.
“I qualified for the world championship in Dec 2017, in São Paulo, during the Brazilian Championship of Kettlebell Sport”, said Martin, with a very coyly attitude. In this competition, not only did he win but also broke the national record, again with 56 repetitions – five above the previous mark – in his second test in the elite, with a load of 32kg.
After winning on Italian soil, the student has new plans. “I’m very happy I’ve won this first international competition. Now, my goal is to move up to a different category, which will make me more competitive”, expects him. His plan is to move to the category for athletes weighing between 80kg – 87kg, the one category his coach and mentor, Christian Thier, is in.
In Martin’s view, another important achievement from Milan was the possibility of making kettlebell an Olympic sport. “In Italy we were informed that the World Federation of Kettlebell Sport (WKSF) will ask the International Olympic Committee to include it in the Olympic Games”, celebrates he.
Sandy Martin is very dedicated to reach the professional standards required for local, national and international competitions. He relies on the support of a nutritionist and physiotherapist as well as his coach’s orientations. However, training sessions are being carried out at the gym of the building complex where he lives, in Porto Alegre, where he moved to a couple of years ago. Because he had no sponsors, he has to invest in the championships with money out of his own pocket. “I tried crowdsourcing but the money I collected was not enough for me to go to the tournament”, says he. He needed BRL 10,000 for the competition in Milan. From this moment on, the training sessions of the P.E. student will focus on the South American Championship, in Dec 2018, in São Paulo. After that, Ireland will be home to the world championship in 2019.
Today, he is joining Kettlebell Força Brasil events, an institution that is responsible for the sport in the country. He is also the founder of the Association of Kettlebell of Rio Grande do Sul, created in 2016, serving as a forum for the exchange of ideas about training sessions and increase in the number of practitioners of this Russian-born sport.
Martin juggles his sports routine, which includes basketball practice with his friends, on Friday evenings, with his academic life as he serves as the Operations Assistant of the Department for Outsourced Services at PUCRS. Once he finishes his degree, he will be awarded both a Bachelor’s and a Teaching Degree, as he is working on both, in an attempt to become a teacher in the future.
History of Kettlebell
According to Martin, kettleball had its origins in Russia. Several sources date it back from the 17th century as Russians allegedly used weights both to provide training sailors and to counterweight the scales in commercial transactions. In Brazil, the sport would only be introduced in the beginning of the 2000s. The resemblance with an electric kettle is not mere coincidence. The term kettle and bell form the name of the sport, and the weights are also known as gyria. He claims that “there are three types of the kettlebell”: fitness, as can be seen in gyms; hard style, very common in functional training exercises; and girevoy sport, which is seen in competitions.
Kettlebell is a sport that can be played by both men and women. The cast-iron weight comes with a handle that can be as heavy as 24 kg for women and 32 kg for men in elite championships. There are four types of exercises: jerk, snatch, long cycle and biathlon. Athletes who lift their weights as many time as they can, as per category, within 10 minutes, will be the winners.