201102 Lisa Nandy_Leon Rattigan_Colin Nicholson

British Seniors action

14 Feb 2011

Olympic wrestling hopefuls Leon Rattigan and Yana Rattigan dominated their weight divisions at the British Senior Championships.

Rattigan, 23, won the 96kg category, scoring twice in the final with a double leg attack. Rattigan, 24, secured the 48kg
division, using her favourite move, the fireman's carry, as she piled on the points before pinning her opponent for the win.

The country's best wrestlers gathered for the freestyle competition at the Wrestling Academy in Salford, Manchester, to take to the mat.

After his win, Rattigan, said: "There's a lot of pressure on me because I'm getting funded by UK Sport, so I'm expected to win. Now I look at it as job done and I have to concentrate on bigger tournaments coming up.

"It's a case of going there, doing the job and putting it under the carpet. Any competition that you win gives you confidence."

Rattigan twice opened up the guard of his opponent, Amir Solomani, to shoot into the legs and score.

The quietly spoken powerhouse, who trains twice a day, five days a week at the academy, said: "Wrestling is one of the toughest sports. You need to be mentally strong, you need to be physically fit, you need to be technically good.

"It's no good just being strong for one fight, you need to be strong for your next fight, so you have to have stamina and endurance."

In her final bout, Rattigan, who moved to the UK from the Ukraine in 2007, quickly overcame her opponent Donna Robertson from Scotland.

The elite athlete, who has made Manchester her home, said: "I'm happy I won. You always have pressure on you because everybody expects you to win.

"This time I won very fast with many points. I'm just happy with the result. It's not just come on the mat, bang, and then win, you have to use your brain.

Wrestling's Parliamentary sponsor Lisa Nandy, gave another enthusiastic endorsement to the sport, by coming to present the prizes.

Lisa, the MP for Wigan, said she had 'enormous respect' for the top performers, and was confident that wrestling would benefit from increased profile in the countdown to next year's London Olympics.

"I'm really pleased to be involved with wrestling," she said, as she prepared to present the awards. "It's a great sport with many merits, and I recommend it to anyone. The more people get to know about it, the more they appreciate it.

"I have enormous respect for the top performers: they are extremely fit athletes, very talented, and extremely dedicated.

"I am following the progress of our international wrestlers with great interest, and I am also enthusiastic about helping the sport in any way I can, and I happily commend it to anyone."

201102 Dave_Sudron_Colin_NicholsonDave Sudron, Official in Charge, was congratulated on 25 years in Refereeing (and more years in wrestling!) in a lunchtime presentation by Colin Nicholson, Chief Executive







Reporting by Joe Sinclair, Press Association and Peter Jones