- Date of Birth: 4 Oct 1987
- Weight Class: 96Kg
Leon Rattigan, 21, Bristol
Recent results at FILA Tournaments:
- 3rd place, Sassari, Italy
- 3rd place, Madrid
- 2nd place, GB Cup
- 1st place, Barcelona
- 1st place, Nice
Leon Rattigan took up wrestling by accident. But now he thanks his mum for taking him along to a local club to give him a way of harnessing the energy of childhood.
He explains: "I was a keen rugby player, but I was looking for another sport to take up, and mum knew I liked watching wrestling on TV - not the wrestling I do now, but the TV stuff from America, the WWF - and took me along to the Bristol Olympic Wrestling Club.
"I really enjoyed it, and I obviously showed some potential because I was really encouraged by the club, and it went from there."
And 10 years on, he is now one of Britain's top wrestlers, competing at 96kg, and with a keen eye on the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and then the London Olympics in 2012.
"Going to Delhi and being among the medal contenders is one of my immediate targets, but obviously competing at the Olympic Games in your home country would be as good as it gets," said Leon.
"By the time the London Games comes along I think British wrestlers will be really up for it - GB is an improving nation, we're making slow but steady progress, and obviously working with guys like Krasimir (Krastonov), who are proving very successful at international events is a great help for us.
"Many of us in the GB squad are young at the moment, but by 2012 we'll be older and wiser, and more experienced, and I'm sure we will put up a good account of ourselves."
So why wrestling?
"Wrestling's a great sport, especially for kids - it helps you with discipline, it's good for a healthy life, for your well being and for the the physical side of it.
"Sometimes it looks quite easy from the sidelines, but trust me, you need to be really fit for wrestling, you are using your whole body, and you come off shattered."
Leon is part of the GB elite squad, based at the Academy in Manchester, where he is put through his paces six days a week - a regime he has no problem with, knowing that to make any impact at international level you have to put the hours in.
"We train Monday to Friday, twice a day - physical stuff during the day, and concentrating on the wrestling in the evening. It's light training on Saturdays, and Sunday is a rest day.
"It's a tough regime, but you only achieve through hard work, and my ambition is to establish myself in the world's top ten!"
News items about Leon:
29 Oct 2009 BBC Points West