By Maydaa Abo El-Nadar
Egyptian Wrestler Tarek Abdel Salam wins gold medal for Bulgaria at the European Wrestling Championship after a long story of struggle with the Egyptian Wrestling Union (EWU).
The story of Abdel Salam starts when he was injured in one of the wrestling championships for the Egyptian National Wrestling Team. Having been injured, he was disregarded by the Egyptian Wrestling Union.
Abdel Salam told his story where the Egyptian Wrestling Federation, headed by Hassan El-Hadad, refused to support him financially with the costs of his treatment due to his injury; therefore disregarded from the team.
Abdel Salam decided to fulfil his dream abroad and immigrated to Bulgaria, where he worked at a Shawerma shop to support himself. Afterwards he joined the Bulgarian Wrestling National Team with which he played at several championships during a whole year. Having obtained the Bulgarian nationality, Abdel Salam has been playing for Bulgaria.
Abdel Salam won gold at the 2017 FILA European Wrestling Championships, held in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, from May 2 till May 7.
At the final of the Men’s Greco-Roman’s competition, for 75 kg, Abdel Salam defeated Russia’s Chingiz Suleimanovich Labazanov.
A great victory to be mentioned for Abdel Salam is that in the 2017 FILA European Wrestling Championships’ semifinal, he defeated Hungary’s Tamás Lőrincz. The later won silver at the Men’s Greco-Roman’s Competition, 66 kg, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Abdel Salam expressed his frustration that he hasn’t held the Egyptian flag, yet he is proud he was able to pursue his dreams in Bulgaria. “The president of the Egyptian Wrestling Federation said that I am a failure and ineffective. I refused to respond back respecting the fact that he is an elderly person. However the best response in my favour was when I found those appreciating my talent, and standing on the podium surpassing the world’s champions,” said Abdel Salam.
The Egyptian Wrestling Federation (EWF) have demanded the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation to pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss Francs or send back Abdel Salam to the federation from Bulgaria.