Squaring Off Against the Bulgarian National Champions

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 in Bulgaria

Today we scheduled a trip to Dimitrovgrad for a scrimmage against their local freestyle team, the reigning two-time national champions, and another team from Haskovo. Our host teams made the event an amazing experience for us with a professional referee, a gymnasium crowded with fans, and gifts of Bulgarian singlets for the kids and Bulgarian warm up sets for the coaches. We gave each of their wrestlers a team t-shirt when we shook hands before they wrestled.

Ben giving a team t-shirt to his opponent.

Ben giving a team t-shirt to his opponent.

In addition to a wonderful atmosphere at the scrimmage, we had the chance to wrestle some of the best competition in all of Europe! Several of the wrestlers we competed against were multiple time Bulgarian national champions and European Championship medalists. All of our wrestlers acquitted themselves well – working for scoring opportunities and having varying levels of success on the mat. But, the real opportunity was for our kids to feel world-level competition and understand the steps they are going to have to take elevate their own wrestling.

We will take a big step Friday as the Dimitrovgrad coach and head coach of the Bulgarian U23 National Team, Salim Salim, invited us to have a technique and drilling practice with their team. After the match we visited their beautiful training facility named for Bulgarian Olympic Champion and three time medalist Enio Valchev.

Jeremy earned a hard fought victory.

Jeremy earned a hard fought victory.

After the wrestling and tour of their facility, we were hosted in Havosko by their head coach. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and then toured the largest statue of the Virgin Mary in the world along with a nearby church tower overlooking the city. We wrapped up our visit with a tour of the Havosko wrestling facility where we also saw their power lifting team training.

After dinner we finished the evening with a night of Go Karts and bowling. We raced in two heats with Tyler Brown taking first among the wrestlers and Coach Jon Deupree won among the coaches and parents.

Tomorrow we leave at 7:30 for a day of training in Sliven.

Zack gets some air compliments of his Dimitrovgrad opponent.

Zack gets some air compliments of his Dimitrovgrad opponent.