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M.GANBOLD: Woodball players use golf swing technique

  • By chagy5
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  • 2024-04-24
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M.GANBOLD: Woodball players use golf swing technique

M.Ganbold, teacher of “Mon-Altius” University, bronze medalist of the Asian Championship, national judge, and international master, is one of the coaches who made a valuable contribution to the development of woodball sport in Mongolia. He trained the men’s national team, participated in international, continental and world competitions and won quite a few medals. For example, at the 2007 Asian Cup Woodball Championship held in Taiwan, they competed with 150 athletes from 15 countries, won the bronze medal for the first time, and created a great path for future athletes to succeed. The men’s national team trained under his leadership achieved great success in the continental and world competitions held in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2023 and returned home with silver and bronze medals.

 

It was not easy to find and interview you when the sixth Students’ Sports Festival was in full swing.

 

Recently, I have been very busy. The winning team and athlete of the Students’ Sports Festival will represent their country and compete in the FISU World University Games. I have been working as a coach and teacher at “Mont-Altius” University for 20 years. The coaches of this university organize competitions in 16 sports, and the selected athletes compete in the finals of the  Students’ Sports Festival, and we have been participating in the festival since 2005. At this time, more than 160 athletes from my university competed under the leadership of 20 coaches and won one gold, four silver and two bronze medals in taekwondo, five gold and three bronze medals were awarded in the judo competition, and won first place in the team category. Athletes from our university compete in international, continental and world competitions. They are particularly successful in judo and freestyle wrestling. Also, five or six athletes play in the Mongolian Basketball League and the Mongolian National League of Volleyball every year. The team that won the silver medal in the FISU University World Cup 3x3 Basketball was born from our university, as well.

 

It is said that the graduates of the university send their children to the university in order to make them athletes.

 

There are many athletes who study in basketball and volleyball classes. Generations of graduates of the school tell their children, “Please, go to teacher G.Amarsanaa. Study in his class”. Many of the graduates of the university work as coaches and physical education teachers in their provinces and soums.

 

When you were teaching at Mon-Altius, did you become familiar with woodball?

 

Yes. One day, the director of the university called me to his office and said, “Representatives of the International Woodball Federation have come to Mongolia for training. We decided to invite you to participate”. Not knowing what kind of sport woodball was, I took a notebook and a pen and went to the Mongolian National Olympic Committee. When a member of the International Woodball Federation came from Taiwan to conduct training, I learned a lot about this sport. From that time, I was interested in training myself, and thinking that it would be possible to train other athletes, I decided to work as a coach. I am very grateful to the director, M.Usukhbayar, who introduced me to this sport. In 2003, I took up woodball, won a silver medal at the 2007 National Championship held in Darkhan-Uul Province, and participated in the Asian University Woodball Championship held in Taipei, Taiwan. There is a proud history of six athletes from Mongolia competing in the continental competition, and winning a bronze medal for the first time. We did not know that we had won a medal in the competition. Before the start of the competition, I was saying, “Since our country’s name will be known, do not ever take the last place”. At the medal ceremony, when they announced us in third place, I was surprised and happy at the same time.

 

As there is no age range for woodball, many people practice it in Mongolia. Is that right?

 

People are mostly interested in developing sports. The number of participants has increased every year at the “Intellectual Festival” national championship, and Federation Cup. At that time, the equipment was scarce, and many people used to play with those few balls and rackets. In my early years with woodball, I was not very familiar with how to store my balls and rackets. I noticed this when I first participated in a tournament in Taiwan in 2007, and I learned that the materials used for woodball are stored in a humid environment. The weather in Mongolia is extreme, the soil is dry and hard. As the ball rolls straight when hit, athletes do not use much power. Taiwan has a humid climate. I realized that because the grass is soft, the ball does not roll far and the athlete uses a lot of power. I observed the techniques used by the athletes of each country, how they participated in the competition, and how they made the environment interesting. Even though the social media channels were not as developed as it is now, we used to see the playing style of foreign athletes, try to localize it in our country, and let our athletes master the technique.

 

Recently, in international woodball tournaments, athletes have started to use golf strokes and techniques more.

 

Golf is highly developed in Japan and South Korea. Athletes mostly use basic golf swings when playing in tournaments. The teams of Taiwan and Thailand are among the best in the world. Athletes use more golf swing techniques. In recent days, even Mongolians have been localizing it in their performances. When I train my athletes, I make them pull their elbows close to their torso. Before, both elbows were thrown forward and hit directly. On the other hand, Thai people almost touch the ground and hit straight. Each country’s athletes play differently. Our team plays in the first three tracks of the 12 tracks to observe the methods and techniques of the athletes who are playing. After the competition, the Japanese athletes would go and touch the Mongolian athletes’ hands saying, “Mongolian athletes are very strong”. The International Woodball Federation has appreciated the improvement of Mongolian athletes’ skills year by year and called them “strong competitors”.

 

The Mongolian national team came with medals from the Asian Cup held last year in Shaoxing, China.

 

Our athletes come with awards from every continent and world competition they have participated in. The men’s and women’s national teams of Mongolia competed in the Asian Cup held in the city and each won a bronze medal. B.Oyuntuya was awarded a silver medal in the women’s shot category. We have started our training for the World Beach Games in South Korea in July. In Mongolia, this sport has been developing for more than 20 years in Mongolia. However, thanks to the support of the federation’s leaders, athletes have won quite a few medals at continental and world competitions. Mongolia’s national teams have become competitive, so they are competing with athletes from Taiwan, Thailand, and Hong Kong, and have won the first three places. Among men, international masters, B.Munkhbat and B.Boldbaatar, and B.Oyuntuya among women were included in the list of the world’s top 30 athletes. Also, G.Sanzaidorj, an athlete of the “Young Star” club, took the 27th place and qualified to participate in the World Cup.

 

You participated in the international coaching seminar together with J.Zagas, a teacher of the Mongolian National University of Life Sciences.

 

After participating in the 2011 Asian Championship in Taiwan, we participated in an international coaching course for a week. Teacher J.Zagas is a hard-working person. At 5:00 a.m. he would knock on my door and say, “Ganbold, get up, let’s do the training”. I said, “Teacher, let’s have breakfast first and go out to the field”. He said, “Both of us did not come here from Mongolia to rest and relax. We will teach our children what we have learned”. One day, the president of the International Woodball Federation noticed that two Mongolian coaches were training with balls and rackets on the field where the competition took place. And trusting us, he gave the key to the warehouse where the tools and equipment were kept, saying, “You two should get the balls and rackets you need and practice”. When we passed the test, the International Woodball Federation gave us a new racket. From the coaches, I get along very well with teachers J.Zagas and G.Boldbaatar.

 

I heard that South Korea has started producing rackets and balls. Have you seen the process of the factory?

 

When we participated in the Asian Championship last year, the president of the federation, presented the production process, said, “If we get permission to sell internationally, we will send it to other countries for testing and training athletes. Because the weather in each country is different, we will conduct real experiments and work carefully to find out if there are any mistakes. Let us introduce the production if you guys do your training. When we go to Mongolia, we will carefully study whether the weather and conditions are suitable”. 

 

What do you think when you see foreign athletes training?

 

“When will our country have a field that meets international standards like them?” I enviously think. Working as a coach is not easy, it has high responsibilities. Parents entrust their children to their teachers, so they have to take care of everything. We will be their psychologist, nutritionist, massager and cook during the game. We won't rest until the end of the competition in order to make my athletes participate successfully.

 

I think that since the first woodball team of Mongolia came home with a bronze medal, the success has not stopped.

 

It is true that since we came with a bronze medal, the success of the Mongolian national team is continuing. At the 2010 Asian Beach Games held in Muscat, Oman, my student G.Sugarbayar won a medal in the woodball category. My student works as a physical education teacher at the First School in Zamiin-Uud soum of Dornogovi Province. As for me, I became a coach after participating in the 2004 and 2007 national championship and the Federation Cup. Coaching a team and participating in a competition myself is both difficult and easy. When I was an athlete, many of the foreign players I used to compete with in international tournaments came to coach and lead their teams in competition. While working and living in Japan, international master D.Davaadorj won the woodball category of the All Japan Championship. J.Shinenjamts, a graduate of our university, is also studying there. As a student, he practiced athletics and woodball and won a bronze medal at the 2016 World Cup in Taipei, Taiwan. Now, he has formed a national team at school and is preparing to compete in the All Japan Championship. The best international teams compete in the World Cup. From Asia, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong sent their strong athletes. Among the athletes of our national team, B.Bilguundalai won a bronze medal in the stroke category, and B.Bayanbulag and B.Myagmarsuren won a silver medal in the mixed doubles category.

 

Your family probably understands and supports you well, so you can do your work effectively.

 

Thanks to my family’s support, I can do my work calmly and still enjoy sports. My wife graduated from the National University of Mongolia with a degree in electronics engineering. We have a daughter and a son. They both play woodball. My daughter has been training it since childhood. We will gladly support our children if they want to become athletes. At the beginning of summer vacation, when traveling with the family, we just put woodball doors, balls and rackets in the car. I am from Zavkhan Province and my wife is from Uvurkhangai Province. Every year, when I go to my province, I promote the sport and teach people how to play it. 

Recently, the national team has been strengthened by young athletes. A team consisting of masters took part in last year’s Asian Cup. Many of them remained loyal to their favorite sport even though work and life got in the way. I am proud of the skills, experience and efforts of athletes, who take time out to participate in foreign and domestic competitions despite their work. I would also like to express my gratitude to our federation, the families of our athletes, parents, friends, and colleagues who support us in the development of woodball in Mongolia, as well as in the formation of the national team and participation in international, continental and world competitions.

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