A young hope in wrestling revealed to Iskra.bg that she quit the sport because of a decision of the federation!

Денис Мелехов
Денис Мелехов. Снимка: Facebook

A young Bulgarian wrestler, in whom many hopes for future great successes are concentrated, revealed to Iskra.bg that he is giving up the sport… at least for a while. His decision is final.

The 20-year-old wrestler’s name is Denis Melekhov and he was supposed to participate in the European Junior Wrestling Championships. He has been preparing for a long time. And so until last night, when on the cusp of his birthday, he received an important call. He got a call from the coach of the national junior wrestling team, Yulian Georgiev.

He informed him that today there would be a wrestling match with an athlete, originally from Russia, who had obtained Bulgarian citizenship around 17:00 yesterday. This was to decide which of the two would represent our country at the European Championships in the 130kg category.

However, he subsequently received a second call in which they told Denis Melekhov that the naturalised wrestler, who is 18 years old, would be taking part in the European Championships instead of him… without the wrestling, which was due to take place at 10:00 today.

“They told me that at 17:00 his Bulgarian citizenship came out, at 17:30 they agreed that he should participate and there should be prelims”, Denis Melekhov, who is a two-time champion of Bulgaria, explained to Iskra.bg.

He stressed that this would have been his first participation in a European Championship, but he has competed in other international forums. And he added:

“Everybody supports me! I said that I would probably stop with the sport and they said that they support me completely and that if it had happened to them they would have done so too.”

National team coach Yulian Georgiev confirmed to Iskra.bg that he had received a call from the federation. They told him that the Russian had received documents for Bulgarian citizenship and initially there really should have been a rematch, but then it turned out that yesterday was the last possible day to change the lineup for the European Championships and the naturalized wrestler will participate.

It turns out that coach Yulian Georgiev doesn’t even know the name of the former Russian. Since he has been in Bulgaria he has trained only with the men.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know his name. So far he has had no contact with us juniors! At the European Championships the new coach of the men’s team will therefore also travel with us”, explained the coach. He stressed:

“Such a thing has never happened before. This is quite surprising for us…and on the eve of Dennis’ birthday to tell him this news!”

Georgiev tried to dissuade Denis Melekhov from quitting the sport, but his decision was not firm.

Iskra.bg also managed to talk to the Secretary General of the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation Valentin Raichev. He confirmed categorically that the naturalized Russian will indeed participate in the European Championships instead of Denis Melekhov. It was from Valentin Raychev that we found out the name of the new athlete with Bulgarian passport – Alan Zabiev.

The Secretary General of the federation explained that the decision was made by the Board. He claims that the coaches knew that they were waiting for the Bulgarian passport. High hopes were pinned on the former Russian. Valentin Raychev was adamant that his performance would be better than Denis Melekhov’s and they were expecting a medal in the 130kg category.

Asked by Iskra.bg if he was aware that Denis Melekhov had decided to quit the sport because of the federation’s actions Valentin Raichev replied:

“I have no such information!”

“How would I know. Everyone writes what he knows. Call the federation…” – so commented the case Grisha Ganchev, whom Denis Melekhov in a post on Facebook explicitly „thanked“ for what happened. He also „thanked“ the president of the BF Wrestling Hristo Marinov.

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