The Iron-Clad ambitions of Kamuran Ramadanov

LCN Weight Thrower trains and competes to launch iron with an iron-will.

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Dominic Com

Kamuran Ramadanov at Saginaw Valley State University after throwing the shot put his official best of 27’8 feet. (Photo Credit: Dominic Comfort)

Dominic Comfort, Features Editor

“My motivation to train everyday comes from my newfound thrill of seeing what hard work can do.”

Like many athletes spanning far and wide from each corner of L’Anse Creuse North, track & field weight-thrower Kamuran Ramadanov (’21) had his spring season cancelled. What was different for Ramadanov however, is that this spring was meant to be his LCN debut after over half a year of hard work and training. “It was going to be my first official Track season.”

Ramadanov started out all the way back in August when he took up a steady and daily weightlifting routine. He had always been an avid weightlifter and self described “strongman”, but it wasn’t until the month before his junior year where he made the decision to channel his weightlifting hobby into a grueling and daily athletic pursuit. “My friends all run cross-country, and for over a year now they’ve told me that since I’m good at lifting, I should step into the world of track and become a weight thrower.”

In high school track & field, there are two weight-throwing events, helping to make up the “field” portion of the sport. The first of which is the shot-put throw, where competitors each get three-four chances to stand in a concrete circle and see who can launch a 12 pound cast-iron ball the furthest. The second event is the discus throw, where competitors throw a roughly three-and-a-half pound weighted frisbee. The culture of throwing is just as prevalent in the sport of track & field as running, with many athletes dedicating their lives to the discipline, up to the college and even olympic level. Dedicated competitors often go all-in, lifting hard in the gym day in and day out, and purchasing tools that are all but requirements for the top throwers, such as athletic wrist straps, shoes that allow for fast-twitch rotated movements and pivots, and many weights to train with indoors and outdoors. Ramadanov says, “When I first got into throwing, I saw all the different types of throwing events and athletes that throw. It was amazing how just by looking at various athletes throw, you can see the work they put in.”

After a few months of daily weightlifting throughout the late summer and fall, Ramadanov picked up a shot put for the first time, borrowing it from LCN’s weight room after school. “At first it was confusing. I had no clue who to go to or what to do. I tried to reach out to LCN’s throwing coach, with no success. Throwing isn’t as big at LCN as it is at other schools, so I had to start off purely on my own with no connections. At first it was just me working out in the weight room everyday to build strength, and I wasn’t even sure if I was doing the right exercises. Then I started to watch some videos online on how to throw shot put, to at least get some type of idea of how to practice. It would be three days of working out and two days of going outside to throw by myself. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, and I was throwing the shot 15-17 feet off of horrible and incorrect form.”

Ramadanov looked ahead to the winter club season of indoor track, which was starting up in mid December and would run until the end of February. After not necessarily knowing how to train for shot put, Ramadanov finally got his break when he attended an indoor track practice at Macomb Community College in December. He had found out about practices being held when some of his friends on the cross-country team who were training for indoor track told him that there was a group at Macomb practicing throwing. “In December I went to Macomb Community College and finally met a throwing coach. That first practice opened up this deep passion I have for weight throwing. I went to Macomb every time they held a practice so that I could improve.”

On December 21, Ramadanov had his first indoor track meet at Eastern Michigan University. Stepping into the shot put circle to compete for the first time, Ramadanov launched the shot 21’1 feet. “My first meet I was overwhelmed. I had not even purchased my own indoor shot put yet, and I was counting on using someone else’s. I had no wrist wrap yet either, all I had where my throwing shoes and that’s about it. When I got there, it was packed. I was at the back of this long line to enter the meet and there was an official who came out calling for anyone who had an event starting to come with him. One of those events was shot put. I got all the way out to the front of the line and out onto the field. Now that I was out there I had to ask another athlete if I could use their indoor shot-put. Thankfully I saw someone who I had been practicing with at Macomb Community College, and they let me use theirs. I stepped into the circle and my first two throws weren’t great. I knew if I wanted to be taken seriously at all with this sport, that I had to throw over 20 feet. Looking back it was not far at all, but there was so much building up to that moment. I walked into the circle from behind, held the shot put in the air to adjust my grip, put it up against my jaw line, got my position down and exploded, throwing 21’1. It was an amazing thrill that I felt for the first time that would become my motivation to work harder every day.

Throughout the winter months, Ramadanov continued to train, practice, and compete in the indoor season. A week after throwing 21’1 feet at EMU, Ramadanov threw 25’2 at a meet on December 27 at Macomb Community College. As the season went on, Ramadanov continued to set personal bests and often threw in the range over 25 feet, returning to EMU on January 4 and throwing 27’4. Ramadanov’s indoor season would come to it’s finale in mid-February. “My biggest accomplishment this year was throwing 27’8 feet in the shot put at Saginaw Valley State University. It was an amazing day, and the biggest meet I competed in. The atmosphere, the people there, all the events. Seeing people come out from all directions to see their hard work play out. Going into that circle and throwing  27’8 was what my hard work brought out of me.”

With his winter season behind him, and now a legitimate shot-put thrower, Ramadanov trained hard for outdoor track. He picked up discus, and begun training hard with weightlifting once again. When Track practice started on March ninth, Ramadanov threw the shot put 32’2 at practice, and the discus 80’1 feet. One week later, his upcoming season, along with tens of thousands of athletes across the country, was seemingly axed. “It is something very hard to even think about. I think about what I could have thrown if we had an outdoor season. But you can’t dwell on it, you just have to push forward. The thing that’s giving me the most energy everyday is throwing.”

Since the cancellation, Ramadanov has been practicing lifting and throwing everyday. Although the gyms are closed, that doesn’t stop Ramadanov. “I have a dumbbell, I can lift. I have a backyard, I can throw.”

Ramadanov speaks on his future goals and what is next for him. “by the time I graduate, I want to throw the shot put over 40 feet and the discus over 110 feet during my senior season of outdoor track. I also want to bench press over 200 pounds. These are hard goals that I’ve set for myself, especially spending all these months and virtually all the training I’ve done with no coach, but I’m ready to work as hard as I have to to achieve these goals.

When asked what is next for him after his debut season of outdoor track was ripped away, Ramadanov states, “I want to lose weight, keep practicing, and hopefully I’ll get to compete in all of my seasons senior year. In a best case scenario, I would like to throw this summer for a club AAU track season, but I realize that might not happen. In the fall I’ll of course continue weightlifting and throwing and cheering on all my friends at every cross-country meet. Hopefully during my senior year, my indoor and outdoor track seasons are just the best they can possibly be. After high school I plan to continue throwing shot put and discus in college, and even get into other collegiate throwing events such as the hammer throw, javelin, and weight throw. I’m interested to grow and be the best thrower I can be. I don’t know if I’ll be good enough to throw on a college track team during my first year, but that won’t stop me from training hard and trying to walk on the team later in college. My dream college to attend is SVSU.”

Even with the devastating cancellation, Ramadanov accomplished something that no other athlete from L’Anse Creuse North and likely few other athletes in the state can say they did this year. He made the age-old classic journey from incredibly humble beginnings, stepped onto the stage of competition for the first time, crawled his way up through the beginner ranks, solidified and grew a deep passion for a sport he will hold for the rest of his life, felt the thrill and the agony of competition, and did it all in a year without an official track season. Perhaps stories like Ramadanov’s prove that the sport of track & field is still alive and well in 2020.

 

Kamuran Ramadanov at an indoor track & field meet at macomb community college after throwing the shot put 25’3. (Photo Credit: Dominic Comfort)