Wrestling: Adopted Brit Olga Butkevych wants to give Great Britain a medal

 

After British triumphs in the women’s judo and boxing, there could be more success today in the women’s freestyle wrestling, a fairly new Olympic event, starting as recently as Athens 2004. But Britain has one competitor tomorrow: Olga Butkevych in the 55 kilogram division. Born in Ukraine, Butkevych hopes she can show her adopted country how this sport is done.

That, after all, is what Butkevych came to Britain to do. Five years ago she was one of a group of eastern European wrestlers brought over to train and, all being well, improve Britain’s own wrestlers ahead of these Olympic games.

But Butkevych proved so good, and settled so well in Salford, that she now finds herself competing for Britain. The naturalisation process, and the qualification and selection for the games, has not gone perfectly smoothly.

As recently as May, there were going to be three wrestlers representing Team GB at this summer’s games. But the British Olympic Association’s Olympic Qualification Standards panel brought their number of host-nation berths down to one, after performance targets were not met. The British team, they said, needed to be capable of a “credible performance” in London.

At almost the same time, Butkevych, succeeded in her appeal for British citizenship. She had been rejected before. Fellow Ukraine-born wrestler Yana Stadnik had no success.

So with one place to award, and Butkevych now eligible, it went to the woman who won silver at the Olympic Test event at the Excel Arena last December.  There was the usual controversy over ‘Plastic Brits’, but Butkevych was unworried.

“People from different countries represent Great Britain,” she pointed out. “It’s normal. I have seen it so many times, not just in wrestling. I want to give back something. You gave me the chance to wrestle, I want to give you a medal and show you it was worth it.”

Butkevych was brought over to Britain to improve British wrestling. How better to do so than by stimulating interest through success? A medal by a Ukrainian-born wrestler would do so better than a less successful performance by someone born here.

“If I get a medal I hope I can make wrestling more popular,” Butkevych said. “In England it is not a popular sport so in the future I hope it can change. [In Ukraine] we have more schools and professional coaches and I think that is the problem in the UK. I have worked so hard to get here and I would be really happy if I won a medal. I want to be the person who gets British people interested in wrestling.”

The 55kg category starts with qualifiers, before the first round – in which Butkevych faces Lissette Alexandra Antes Castillo of Ecuador at 1.25pm. From there quarter-finals take place, and the semis, with the final tonight at 7pm. Bouts last for three periods of two minutes, with victory coming either through winning two periods, pinning the opponent, or a ‘golden score’ after three periods.

Butkevych has had notable success before – winning bronze at 59kg in the 2010 European Championship. A repeat, or better, this afternoon would demonstrate why she was brought to Britain in the first place.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment