André, in the final of this year’s German Championships, you performed so well to take a 3:1 lead into the final minute. What happened?

There were 20 seconds to go and I could feel the title within my grasp and was delighted. And that was my mistake. My opponent seized the opportunity and launched a leg takedown and I had to concede to him. That was pretty tough, but that’s how it goes some times in wrestling. Whatever you do, you have to give 100%. A match only lasts 6 minutes, but in these 6 minutes you have to give everything you have—physically and mentally.

What skills do you need to have to be a wrestler?

A little bit of everything—stamina, concentration, technique, power and resilience. If you are technically very good, but don’t have any stamina, it’s game over, but when you have the stamina yet lose focus, you end up making stupid mistakes. I don’t think there are any other sports that are so challenging. 

What’s training like?

I train three times a week at the Red Devils Heilbronn club and also do some extra training at the national centre in Heidelberg, as well as doing my own sessions. I aim to train twice a day and to get the absolute best out of myself. I only trained intensively for two months for the German Championships, which was not enough,

How do you balance working at Bechtle and your sport?

Both are very important to me, which is why I’m happy that I can do them both. I’ve agreed my working hours with my boss so that I have time to go jogging or work out at the Bechtle gym before I clock on. At 9 am, I’m handling incoming goods and after work, it’s straight back to training, but I’m putting my strength and stamina to good use at work as well. I also have to say I think the selection of balanced meals in our company restaurant is excellent.

How did you get started with wrestling?

When I was eight, my uncle took me to training with him and I knew straight away that that was what I wanted to do. At eleven, I joined a club and the sport has been a part of my life ever since.

What makes wrestling so special?

You need to utilise every part of your body and you get to know yourself very well. The sport takes me to my limit, but I can always get better. I also really like the spirit of fair play. The sport is governed by an extensive set of laws that those watching aren’t aware of. And last but not least, I really like the fun element. Wrestling is something that comes do us naturally. Every child does it. It’s also one of the oldest sports. I can’t imagine life without it and my aim is to wrestle at the very highest level.