Wrestler with Down Syndrome Brings Joy to Many at #WrestleSofia
Friday, August 2, 2019 - 11:07 By Taylor Miller
Fatih EMIRHAN (TUR), a 10-year-old athlete with Down Syndrome from Turkey, wrestled at his first World Championships on Thursday night in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
In a special match set up by United World Wrestling, Emirhan wrestled against his coach, Ali BURAK TOY (TUR), on the center stage just before the women’s freestyle finals.
Emirhan showed off some of his best skills, scoring four points on an arm throw and a four more on an outside trip, before he pinned Burak Toy.
The crowd went wild, and like he had seen many wrestlers do in the days before, Emirhan did a victory lap, smiling and jumping the whole way. After, he was presented a gold medal by Mr. Tzeno TZENOV (BUL), UWW Europe President and UWW Vice President.
When he was 7 years old, his mother, Essen Turkmen, enrolled Emirhan in wrestling so that she could give her son every opportunity that other children get. Now, he trains with Burak Toy four times a week, including three wrestling practices and one swimming session.
Since he began the sport, his coach says that Emirhan always maintains a positive attitude and has never once complained about being tired.
Wrestling has also had an impact on his day-to-day life as his speech and physical abilities have greatly improved. Additionally, Emirhan has developed better social skills through wrestling.
Last night was not the first time that Emirhan has wrestled on a big stage. In late-2017, he defeated European, World and Olympic champion Taha AKGUL (TUR) in another fun exhibition in Turkey.
As a rising star and someone who is eager to learn, it is likely we will see Emirhan do some even greater things in our sport.