Khetag (Hetag) Pliev
Talented free-style wrestler(96 kg weight class)
Candian National Champion (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).
Canada Cup International tournament winner(2007, 2008),
Pan-American Games, Florida, 2012. Silver medal.
Olympic games 2012, London. 7-th.
Cadets and juniors USA National Champion (1998-2002).
Khetag Pliev was born in Alagir, North Ossetia. He took his first wrestling lessons in a local club, when he was just six years old, with Alan Kokoev as a coach.
Later on Khetag won some Russian tournaments and was second at the North Ossetian Championship for the wrestlers of his age. It was not easy, because several of the most dominant free-style wrestling world class centers located in Russian republic of North Ossetia-Alania.
In 1998 Khetag Pliev moved to USA, where he lived with his parents and continued his wrestling career. Due to firm skills and a solid wrestling background, for the short period of time Khetag became a dominant high school wrestler first in Ohio state and then in USA.
From 1999 to 2002 K.Pliev consequently won the cadet and junior Ohio State and US national championships.
For the outstanding achievements in June 2002 Khetag PLiev was honored with LaRosa’s Award for the best high school athlete of the year. Wrestling USA magazine had ranked Khetag Pliev as the #1 wrestler in the USA in the 189” weight class, and the undefeated (41-0) Lakota East senior lived up to the billing, capturing his second straight Ohio state championship and being named Ohio’s Division 1 Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Coach’s Quote - “Without being disrespectful to the other fine wrestlers in our community, Hetag is in a league of his own. His goal of winning an Olympic gold medal is a realistic one. His wrestling skills and style reflect his Russian background. I have learned as much from him as he learned from me. I have enjoyed the experience immensely” – Bob Latessa. Wrestling Coach.
In 2002 Khetag Pliev traveled to Ossetia (Russia) to visit his grandmother. But American embassy in Moscow refused to let him back in US. Having the excellent references from his coaches in Ohio and California he tried to apply for American visa several times with no success. Khetag lost four years of his active wrestling just trying to join back his family, staying at his relatives houses, without the proper living conditions. Aparently the USA turned away an extremely talented wrestler who would probably become one of the best in North America.
Nevertheless Khetage kept wrestling time to time at the high level competitions. A well-known Ossetian coach V.Bagaev took care of him. Khetag won a bronze medal at the junior Russian National Championship. He also competed at the prestigious seniors International tournaments in Minsk, Kiev and Vancouver.
But the traumas and the problems mentioned above did not let him achieve the desired level in Russia. In November 2005 Khetag Pliev left the country and moved to Canada.
He joined Team Impact and two years later became one of the best within the Canadian National Team's (96 kg ).
In 2007 at the Canadian Nationals in Calgary he got a silver medal, losing a tough final match to David Zilberman (a tree time Canadian National champion and 5-th at the World championship 2006).
In June 2007, Khetag won the toughest Canadian tournament - Canada Cup International. He was also honored with an Outstanding Canadian wrestler's special award.
In December 2008 Kh.Pliev competes at the Canadian Olympic trials in Toronto. By that time he was considered a #2 wrestler in his weight category. Pinning Mike Neufield, Pliev then had a three match series with David Zilberman. He wins the first match, but Zilberman wins the very tough next one by the last winning point. And the third "do or die" match was suppose to determine who would be the winner. Both wrestlers were very tired, but Khetag had an extra match before. Comletely exhausted Khetag Pliev lost a single point just seconds before the final whistle and didn't qualify for 2008 Olympics.
In March 2008 at the Canadian National Championship Khetag beats all opponents and wins the Champion's title.
In June 2008 he wins the Canada Cup International tournament for the second time and was named an Outstanding Canadian wrestler again.
Competing at the 2009 Canadian National Championship, Khetag Pliev bit all his opponents and won the gold medal. In a final match he wrestled David Zilberman and did not loose a single point. That was one of the most spectacular matches on the tournament. Khetag won the first period 1:0 and then the second one 2:0.
He was once again named the Outstanding Canadian Wrestler.
As Khetag said, his next goal is a medal at the World Championship.
Kh.Pliev won the next two (2010, 2011) Canadian Nationals as well, being considered the #1 Canadian wrestler in 96 kg weight class. He also competed at the last (2010, 2011) World Championships. He came 7th in 2010.
And here is the latest:
In March 2012 Khetag Pliev (96 kg) came in second place at Pan-American games and qualified for Olympics 2012 in London.
Great job Khetag!
You are very close to make your dream coming true.
Team Impact Wrestling Club
Ossetian, English and Russian
Idols (in sport or other):
Favorite activities outside of sport:
Spending time with family and friends
Sibling(s) Name(s) (date of birth):
Zarina (December 4th, 1985)
Pre-competition rituals / superstitions:
Read the bible, listen to Joyce Meyer preachings on my IPOD and pray to Jesus Christ my Saviour.
Preferred sport events / Specialties:
UFC and World Cup of Soccer
Stan Tzogas and Kimin Kim
Senior national athlete since:
Org./ charities supported:
Joyce Meyer Ministeries, World Vision and World Evangelical Church
Favourite movies / TV shows:
Braveheart/Joyce Meyer/America’s Funniest Videos
Favourite quote / motto:
If God is with me, who’s against me.
It would surprise you to know that I …:
It would surprise you to know that I have a very gentle heart. I believe that being humble is the most admiring quality. I am an artist, who enjoys drawing and sketching.
National titles (include event, year):
2008 Canadian National Championships in Guelph, Ontario- Gold Medalist
2009 Canadian National Championships in Calgary Alberta- Gold Medalist
2010 Canadian National Championships in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia- Gold Medalist
2011 Canadian National Championships in Edmonton, Alberta- Gold Medalist
World Championship appearances – Best results by year:
2010 Moscow World Championships – 7th
Major awards (ex. CDN Player of Year, Hall of Fame inductee):
2008 and 2009 Outstanding Wrestler Award at Canada Cup of International Wrestling
2006 Inducted into the Ohio Hall of Fame
Former Lakota wrestler to compete in 2012 Olympics
Story was written this spring and is being shared again on WestChesterBuzz.com just before the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London. On Friday afternoon, WestChesterBuzz will post a video interview with former Lakota East wrestler Khetag Pliev, who is competing for Team Canada (96kg) after being trapped in Russia for three years.
On a warm spring day at his family’s home in West Chester, Khetag Pliev slowly breathes in the air. He says that it is “peaceful” here, remembering a time when he thought that he may never see it again.
About 10 years ago, Pliev had offers to wrestle at universities throughout the United States. He was coming off back-to-back state and national wrestling titles at Lakota East and seemed destined to accomplish his dream of becoming an Olympian.
“I think about it every day. I try to forget it because that time is gone,” Pliev said. “I was 100 percent thinking, that now that I was No. 1 in the U.S. that I would be No. 1 in the world. At least that was my belief at the time.”
Every college wrestling program in the country wanted Pliev, who grew up in The Republic of North Ossetia. In that southern Russian republic, wrestling was king.
“They give their sons to wrestling. If he succeeds, he succeeds. If not, at least at some point of his life, he will. It is like hockey in Canada. Everyone kid competes, so they have the best selection of kids,” Pliev said.
At Lakota East, Pliev succeeded on the mat. In the classroom, however, the wrestler, who struggled with the English language, didn’t have the grades to qualify to compete in the NCAA, so he went to Lassen Community College in Susanville, Calif.
There, he eventually decided to return to Russia, against the advice of his Lassen coach Rex Branum.
As Branum feared, Pliev would never get that chance to wrestle at Lassen. Instead, after arriving in Russia, the former Lakota East star athlete was trapped for what turned out to be three years. While there, he missed his family and didn’t feel like he was home.
“It went downhill for me,” said Pliev. “I was not of U.S. and I was not of Russia. I wanted to come here, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t completely there and I wasn’t here. I didn’t train well. I wasn’t focused.”
With each passing year, his family back in West Chester worried that they would never see him again. His father, Alex, called it a time of “deep depression.”
Back at Lassen College, his coach decided to fly to Moscow and visit the U.S. Embassy, hoping to get Pliev a student visa.
“I thought it would help if I was there,” Branum said. “But the guy just looked at me and said ‘Rex, I know that you have come a long way, but there is no way in hell.’”
Trapped in Russia, Pliev filled out paperwork and requested a student visa in person five times at the U.S. Embassy. He was never accepted back into the United States.
He was, however, allowed to go to Canada.
While there for a tournament with his Russian team, a Toronto man named Ruslan Kuchiev, who grew up with Pliev’s father, convinced him to stay in the country.
Kuchiev helped him fill out the proper paperwork in order to become a Canadian citizen and in just a little more than two years, he was successful.
“Never in my mind was Canada, but God made it that way and he is ruler of all and everything,” Pliev said. “When I was here, I obviously wanted to be a U.S. citizen … but Canada opened a door for me.”
With Canadian citizenship, the door was open for Pliev to see his family.
“It was a long five years,” said Pliev. “There was a lot of happiness.”
At this year’s Summer Olympic Games in London, his lifelong dream will become a reality when he wrestles for Team Canada.
“It doesn’t matter where I live, even if I am in Africa. It is the same goal – to win gold in the Olympics,” Pliev said. “It is any small boy’s dream even here, especially where I am from – North Ossetia – that is the main goal, to be Olympic champion.”
Read a full story at
August 12, 2012
At the Olympics 2012 in London Khetag Pliev had a good promising start. He won the first match against the strong Cuban wrestler Javier Lacerra. He wrestled Jacob Varner of the USA in the second match and lost. Jacob then became the Olympic champion.
In the quarter-finals Khetag Pliev met his long-tome rival Kurban Kurbanov of Uzbekistan. It was a tough match. Winning it Khetag could wrestle for the bronze medal. But he lost this time.
Lack of the high level tournament experience as well as lack of the strong sparring-partners in Canada let him down. Khetag Pliev is a very talanted wrestler, having a great potencial to win the tournaments at any level. He just needs a different practicing conditions and a completely different attitude to his training process at all.
Making some significant changes in this process he will be much closer to achieve his goal - to win the medals at the world chamioships and at the next Olympics in Rio as well.
Additional information is available at