A moving story: Arthur Nyiponov, 24, who represented Russia’s Olympic Committee at the Tokyo Olympics, on Thursday celebrated winning a bronze medal in freestyle up to 86kg. For the freshman medalist, it was a career-high moment he may never have achieved.

Seventeen years ago, on September 1, 2004, Nyphonov arrived in the first day of first grade at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia. But the festive day turned into a tragedy when Islamic terrorists from Chechnya took over the school and captured more than a thousand hostages – students, teachers and parents – including Nyponov, his sister and their mother.

After two days in which the kidnappers held the hostages in the sports hall, the Russian security forces launched a complicated rescue operation. Nyonov and his sister escaped unharmed, although their bullets were damaged, but their mother, Svetlana, 32, was among the 333 killed after sacrificing her life to save her children. “His mother is gone, but thanks to her, he dropped out of school and so did his sister,” Nyphonov coach Tortez Arkhgov said. “It’s probably something life destined for.”

As a teenager, Nyponov began practicing freestyle wrestling and at the age of 20 won the Russian championship. He also won three European Championships and a medal at the World Championships two years ago. Despite the achievement at the Olympics, Nyfonov did not hide that he had some disappointment from where he finished. “Is there any joy with a bronze medal? Not like with gold,” he said. “Thank God for that, not every day you get an Olympic medal. It’s not a tragedy, I’m still young, I’ll work on it.”

Zaurbeck Sidkov (25), who won the Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling up to 74kg, also attended school in Beslan, but he was not on that fateful day. That, “he said.” I have decided that when I achieve a great victory, I will dedicate it to all those who suffered in the terrorist attack in Beslan. I succeeded, and I kept my word. ”

By Editor

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