Associated Press: Different fates of wrestlers training in Azerbaijan and UK

Associated Press: Different fates of wrestlers training in Azerbaijan and UK

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 16

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The Associated Press has published an article about the victory of Azerbaijani athlete Maria Stadnyk at the First European Games in Baku and the deplorable state of her sister-in-law Yana Rattigan representing the UK team in wrestling.

The AP article says that although both of them are Ukraine-born professional wrestlers, their experience of participation in the First European Games is completely different.

While Stadnyk trains at high-level sport facilities in Azerbaijan, the country which pays great attention to sports, the UK citizen Rattigan works multiple jobs to keep her career alive, said the article.

The article said that the UK cut wrestling's funding altogether following the 2012 London Olympics.

Rattigan came to the games struggling with fatigue and a knee injury and was defeated in the first round, said the article.

"At home my routine is from 4:30 in the morning till 11 at night," she told The Associated Press. "I work for this, for that, I'm out hustling everywhere."

She said that now she is really having a rest. If Rattigan wasn't in Baku, she'd be out marketing perfume with free samples at the streets of Great Britain, said the article.

"'Do you want a spray?' That's me," she says with a laugh to the reporter of The Associated Press.

British government agency UK Sport poured funding into wrestling to build a team for the London Olympics, but ended its support months after the games under a system of restricting funds to the most successful sports, said the article.

The funds allocated by Britain for the London Olympics, exceeded the claimed amount by three times, totaling more than 18 billion pounds.

Yana Rattigan switched to Britain after marrying British wrestler Leon Rattigan and was dreaming to build a successful wrestling career there.

As opposed to Rattigan, the state care was rendered to Mariya Stadnyk to engage in the professional sports activity.

"I'm in seventh heaven with happiness," Stadnyk said after winning gold, which was presented to her by Azerbaijani First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.

She said that she was singing the national anthem of Azerbaijan proudly.

Rattigan's nutrition is insufficient. The whole day she is engaged in street trade to keep the family. She is thinking about the help to British youth through wrestling as a kind of sport and the sport as a whole to shield it from the problems and other negative.

"Most of these children come from very poor families," she said. "If you take any of the world champions, this takes kids from the streets to a place they can lose their energy without doing crimes."

Great Britain was one of the leading countries in Olympic wrestling a century ago, but last won an Olympic medal in 1984.

Rattigan hopes to achieve the development of wrestling as a sport among the British youth through various charitable financial support.

As a result of the low level state concern about the sport in the European countries, including the UK, the drug addiction, alcoholism, crime spread among young people, and the radicalism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other tendencies are strengthening.

Sport is one of the most powerful means serving the mass prevention of such negative phenomena in every society, and this also encouraged by the UN.

It is safe to say that the Baku 2015 European Games will open up new opportunities for the development of the Azerbaijani society, in particular the youth, and will contribute to bringing up a new generation of athletes.

The Baku 2015 European Games is a very important platform for prevention of negative tendencies emerging across Europe.

Unfortunately, some Western countries, as well as the UK, which have for over a century failed to hold the European games due to their geopolitical ambitions, don't want to understand or accept this, and instead they carry out a campaign to discredit the first-ever European games, hosted by Azerbaijan.

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