Basketball coach Ivan Lepichev was born on August 3, 1951 in Boboshevo and has been in the coaching profession for 37 years. Under his leadership, the national women's team reached 5th place at the Olympic Games in Seoul 1988, a bronze medal at the European Championship in Varna 1989, 8th place at the World Championships in Malaysia 1990, bronze at the Dobra Games volya in Seattle 1990, to 4th place at the European Championship in Israel 1991. As a club coach, he won championship titles with the women's teams "Stomana Pernik" (1992), "DZU-Stara Zagora" (1999) and "Montana" (2003). In recent years, he has been at the head of "Rila Sportsman-Samokov". He currently works at the club's children's and youth school. Especially for "Doctor" Ivan Lepichev shared how he has physically preserved himself over the years.
Mr. Lepichev, you look great, not overweight. How do you achieve it?
- A few days ago, even Georgi Glushkov did not believe that I would turn 64 this year. I grew up in those poorer years, when a he althier lifestyle was practiced. In the village I was much closer to nature. All my life I am grateful to my parents for instilling work habits in me. My generation grew up in the fields, on the river. We ate the vegetables and fruits straight from the gardens. In Boboshevo, we knew when the earliest cherries and the earliest plums were and we picked them from the trees. The lives of today's children are much different. They are much more delicate and not he althy. The second reason I'm in great shape now is that I've been playing sports since I was little. Sports also became my profession. It also rejuvenates me that I always hang out with young people. It keeps my spirits up and is invigorating for my body. And I have to be an example for them, since I demand. I cannot demand from my graduates to be slim, toned, to be always in good condition, but to be full, to put it bluntly, to have abandoned myself. I can't gain weight because I have been constantly proving myself for 37 years in the coaching profession. Our profession involves spending a lot of nervous energy.
And do you smoke?
- Now I'm not a smoker, I don't drink. I'm not God's cow. I have smoked, I have not deprived myself of treating myself. But I did not overdo it, although I had opportunities for more pleasures based on a better material situation. Maybe that's what saved me. Good thing I'm working. Because many colleagues, upon retirement, begin to feel unnecessary and suddenly become old.
Perhaps your little son is also rejuvenating you?
- Oh, he is not young anymore, he is 20 years old. Simeon studies at the Technical University of Poitiers and trains basketball in France. He grew tall, he has basketball in him. My older sons from my first marriage have been living in Canada for 25 years.
What did your first wife die of?
- Rennie passed away from colon cancer. After we broke up, she went to Canada with the children. I have been abroad for 6 years - in Malaysia and in France, and I know that there is a struggle for survival. I'm happy with both places, but despite everything you remain a foreigner. A
Renny took care of our two sons
I can imagine what she went through. It is a pity that nature did not bless her to enjoy sons. She left young, 52 years old.
Couldn't the doctors in Canada help her?
- At first she was in a hospital, they didn't detect her tumor. After that, the problems continue. When she was finally diagnosed, she died during surgery. The eldest son said he would judge them. But I don't know how that can be. You have to have an awful lot of money to convict them.
And her mother Dobrinka Djambazova is still alive. She is the captain of the women's national team, Vanya Voynova's generation. In 1958, they became European champions in Poland.
Are you he althy, are you taking medicine for something?
- Only the prostate raises the alarm. I am over 60, and there is no man or it is rare phenomena to not have a problem with the prostate. I'm not an alien. 7-8 years ago, in connection with nervous tension at work, I got a terrible headache. It turned out to be high blood pressure. I am grateful to my personal doctor in Samokov, Dr. Andreeva, who prescribed me medicine and told me to pay serious attention to the problem of blood pressure, because my profession is a risk factor, and the years are accumulating. I have been taking a small pill every morning for 8 years and also prostate medicine. I don't have to take any other medication.
Have you ever been hospitalized?
- Last year, due to the extremely high tension that arose in our "Rila Sportsman" team, I got stomach pains. One evening I went to the "Emergency Room", they hospitalized me to do a test. They doubted it was something in the colon. It turned out to be only a slight inflammation. I was recommended a light diet - to avoid more spicy foods. I have never been hospitalized before and I hope it never happens to me. Believe me, all diseases in coaches appear mostly from tension. But
sometimes everything is also a question of gene
One of our great basketball referees, Zhoro Ganchev, passed away from lung cancer. He had never lit a cigarette, he had never had too much alcohol. But this is individuality, nature. The genes of our ancestors are embedded in us. My maternal grandfather died at 98. My mother, may God forgive her, passed away at 92. Her sister also died at 92. She has a living brother and sister who are over 80. It is God's business whether I inherit this longevity in the family.
Do you still have pain from old sports injuries?
- I ended my sports career at the age of 24 and immediately started as a coach. Before that, I was working hard and had minor injuries - muscle strains, ankle and knee ligaments. But I've never had major surgery. Basketball has now become very strong, extremely aggressive, and one must maintain an excellent physical level to be able to protect oneself from injuries.
Where did you usually refer your female graduates for trauma treatment?
- Currently, medicine and especially sports traumatology is at a high level. In the case of minor injuries, the club itself has equipment and possibilities for the rapid recovery of the "Rila Sportsman" athletes. Two guys - a rehabilitator and a physical therapist - work very professionally on sprain related injuries. If the injury is related to an operation, things depend on consultations at a higher level, we turn to traumatologists and surgeons. Now the technique is at such a high level that bloodless operations such as arthroscopy are performed without opening the knee. Magnetic resonance immediately gives a complete picture of the lesions. Thus, the problem is detected much faster and the athlete recovers quickly. In my time as a basketball player, these things did not exist. There was only an ultrasound and some restorative procedures. When I worked with the national team, we had a doctor, a massage therapist. The state was behind us financially. I have had contestants like Marijana Chobanova and Polina Tsekova who had their operations done abroad. There was no such surgery in our country and we used the medicine of more advanced countries, such as Germany and France. Now all this is done by Bulgarian doctors. But both before and now, a lot of money is given for treatment.
Are you personally satisfied with Bulgarian he althcare?
- People who have suffered, who have experienced some tragedy, have the right to complain. I can't complain. I am satisfied. Samokov is a small town, people know me, including the doctors. A doctor must be present at matches. And when I have a he alth problem, they treat me like a familiar person. The attitude and behavior of doctors is better. Although according to the Hippocratic Oath they should treat everyone equally. After all, doctors are people too.