Angel Spassov was born on November 18th, 1941. He is affiliated with the Department of Weightlifting in the Bulgarian Higher Institute for Physical Education and Sports Instruction.
He has trained such notable lifters as
and gold medalist
Since 1980 he has worked with 760 coaches from 52 countries.
Q: How many years have you been involved with the Bulgarian weightlifting program?
A: Thirty-one years.
Q: Were you ever a lifter yourself?
A: I lifted from 1958 to 1970. My highest placing was fifth at the 1965 Europeans.
Q: How do you feel about the publicity given the doping situation?
A: The IOC has done the most fighting to prevent the sport from doping. In 1976, the first time it tested for steroids, five lifters were positive. In Seoul, it was five positive. It was not a successful fight. It's becoming a fight between law and criminals. The law trying to prevent society from the crime. The crime still increasing. We will stop doping when something replaces it. People already know the price of using it. They still use it because they believe it is the only way.
Q: How do you feel about random testing?
A: It will be effective if we can control all countries. I don't believe it's possible to control all countries.
Q: How do you feel about the new rule changes that make it more difficult to set world records?
A: The rule changes represent the IWF weakness in the fight against doping.
Q: Are there plans for Mitko Grablev and Angel Guenchev to return to competition.
A: Both are training hard and will return to competition.
Q: How much of a shock was it to the Bulgarian Federation when they tested positive?
A: It was quite a shock, as both lifters had tested negative two weeks earlier. It was the first time a lifter had been caught on diuretics. For them to test positive was miscalculation of the Federation and Doping Control.
Note: Both were banned owing to use of diuretic drugs.
Q: Where do you thing the future of weightlifting is going?
A: The sport needs some changes. Since the press was eliminated seventeen years ago, there have been no changes in the competitive program.
Q: Would you like to see the press returned?
A: No, the removal of the press did a good job of preventing back injuries. Without the press the athletes were able to train more on the lifts and squats, which produced higher results. With these higher results has also come an 85% increase in arm and shoulder injuries.
Note: A guy can get hurt within any, or any combination of lifting genres if he falls off the razor's edge onto the injury side. And who doesn't want to push it just a little harder?
Q: What are some of the causes of these injuries?
A: By working extensively on the lifts and squats and neglecting the upper body, the lifter creates an imbalance. Lifting and squatting build accelerative power. But when the accelerative power is combined with no increase in upper body strength, the arms and shoulders are not always able to carry the load and injuries occur.
Q: How do you think upper body injuries could be decreased?
A: PUTTING THE BENCH PRESS IN AS A COMPETITIVE LIFT WOULD HELP. The lift would not only strengthen the upper body of the lifter but also draw more people into the sport.
Q: How is that?
A: The bench press is the most popular exercise out of all the lifts. It would give athletes that don't have the athletic skills to execute a high snatch or clean & jerk a chance in competition.
Q: Have you ever proposed this to the IWF Technical Committee?
A: Yes, as I also believe it would also increase the sport's popularity and stem the tide of powerlifting which is knocking on the Olympic door.
Note: Thirty-three years and still nothing on the horizon with that.
Q: What other things could be done to cut back on injuries?
A: We need to replace drugs with better training. To increase the culture of training without drugs would mean a longer time for strength qualities to develop. It would also cut back on problems with joints and tendons.
Q: How would you rank yourself with coaching greats Abadjiev and Medvedev?
A: I am younger.
Enjoy Your Lifting!