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|Born||June 5, 1907
|Died||August 27, 1967
|Known for||Held Latvian Master's title in Greco-Roman wrestling four times.|
Janis Beinarovics (June 5, 1907 - August 27, 1967) was a Latvian athlete who won the Latvian Master's title in Greco-Roman wrestling four times (1935–1938). He joined the Second Riga Athletic Club (2 R.A.K.) at the age of 17 in 1924 to compete in the Bantam weight class. A cabinet maker by profession, Beinarovics trained in his spare time. He acquired ten titles in Latvia's amateur championships.
Beginnings of clubs and competitions
Greco-Roman wrestling is a sport that became very popular in Latvia in the 1920s and 1930s. Clubs were formed soon after the country was founded in 1918. Beinarovics coached and mentored wrestling teams, which competed in Latvia, as well as other European jurisdictions. Many capitals of European countries hosted these team championships, such as Rome (1934), Copenhagen (1935), Paris (1937), Tallinn (1938), and Oslo (1939). These competitions were called the European Masters Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships. Beinarovics qualified twice for the team that would contend in these European matches. In addition, competitions with well-known wrestlers from Estonia, a Baltic neighbor, were organized on a yearly basis. Between 1925 and 1940 the two countries alternated the hosting of these matches fifteen times, with weight classes from Bantam to Heavyweight. In 1921 a provisional Latvian Olympic Committee was established, and three years later, 41 Latvian competitors participated for the first time at the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics. Edvins Bietags won the first silver medal for Greco-Roman wrestling in 1936.
Beinarovics won the Latvian Masters for the first time in 1935, which qualified him to join the Latvian wrestling team, which represented Latvia in the European Competitions in Copenhagen that year. He competed against an Estonian, Evald Sikk, who won the match. Sikk went on to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics the following year, coming in sixth place. That year, Janis won the Latvian Master's title for the second time.
Rise to prominence
By 1937, Beinarovics was gaining a reputation for his sport, which was becoming increasingly popular. He joined the Army Sports Club (ASK) and qualified for the third time to contend in the upcoming matches with the Estonian team. This event took place on October 3 and was attended by 1,200 spectators in the Sports Hall in Riga. Beinarovics beat his younger opponent, Maiste, and was praised for his final move, where he pinned Maiste's shoulder to the mat. Latvia won 4 - 3 over the Estonian team.
His fourth and final win in Latvia allowed him to compete once again in the European Competitions in Tallinn, Estonia in 1938. His teammates in the various weight categories were Edvins Bietags, A. Kalnins, G. Ozolins, K. Jespars, E. Kalnins, and K. Kundzins, and the coach was A. Lapcinskis. Janis, in Bantam weight, was defeated by the Czechoslovak wrestler, Nics.
Continued involvement in the sport
After the loss in Estonia, Beinarovics continued his involvement with the sport, but focused his efforts on coaching young, aspiring wrestlers. He was part of a team of professional trainers at the ASK, 116 Kr. Barona street, in Riga, and refereed competitions as late as 1944 before he was conscripted into the army to fight on the Russian front.
Awards and recognition
In 1938, Beinarovics and other ASK wrestlers were honored with awards by the Heavy Athletics Sports Federation. Personal awards were also presented, which he received for his commitment to furthering the goals of the ASK. The following year, in November 1939, with World War II having already been declared, medals were given to Latvian athletes who had represented their country in the heavy athletics categories of wrestling and weightlifting. This highest form of recognition was awarded at a final ball held in their honor at the Amateur Hall at 3 Amata Street in Riga. This meant to serve as a tribute to the devotion of Latvian athletes to their sport and their country over the 20 years of its existence as a sovereign nation. Latvia became independent 52 years later in 1991.
- Cika, V. & Gubins, G. (1970). Latvijas Sporta Vesture 1918 - 1944. Sweden: Amerikas Latviesu Apvienibas Fiziskas Audzinasanas un Sporta Birojs. pp. 228–233.
- Brune, A. & Apine, R. (2001). Sports Latvija. Riga: SIA Nacionalais medicinas apgads. pp. 10–12. ISBN 9984-26-012-7.
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- Cika, V. & Gubins, G. (1970). Latvijas Sporta Vesture 1918-1944. Amerikas Latviesu Apvienibas Fiziskas Audzinasanas un Sporta Birojs. p. 233.
- Plums, Adolfs (February 10, 1936). "Armijas Sporta Klubs". Rits. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "Tikai Arnolds Kalnins, Danilovs un Mendzins". Sporta Pasaule. January 24, 1944. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "ASK sportistu apbalvosana". Briva Zeme. January 13, 1938. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "Valsts vienibas dalibnieki smagatletika sanems krusu nozimes". Sporta Pasaule. November 30, 1939. Retrieved 14 July 2012.