Bulgaria’s Stanka Zlateva, the two-time Olympic silver medal-winning freestyle wrestler who recently retired, has claimed she was once offered cash to lose a World Championship final but declined to do so.
Zlateva, a runner-up in the 72 kilograms category at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, called time on her career earlier this month at the age of 32 after failing to recover from a back injury.
She has since told Bulgarian national television: “I was offered money at a World Championship but for me, it’s much more important to win.
“No matter how much money they would offer.
“There was nothing out of it.
“I didn’t even consider accepting it.
“They didn’t offer me a concrete sum.
“They came to me and asked me if I would lose [the final].”
The five-time world champion and six-time European champion did not say who “they” were.
Zlateva was the first Bulgarian female wrestler to represent the country at an Olympic Games, making her debut at Athens 2004.
She also became the first Bulgarian female wrestler to claim a world title in 2006 and was selected as Bulgarian sportsperson of the year in 2007, 2010 and 2011.
As well as her 11 gold medals, Zlateva also won bronze at the 2009 World Championships in Herning in Denmark and at the 2005 and 2011 European Championships held in Varna, Bulgaria and Dortmund, Germany respectively.
The treatment of her back injury, which occurred in the summer of last year, was prolonged and did not allow her to prepare for the forthcoming Olympic qualifications which are due to take place in April.
The Bulgarian Wrestling Federation has offered Zlateva the opportunity to become a coach of its junior female wrestling team.
This comes after confirmation that Bulgaria’s weightlifters remain banned from competing at Rio 2016 due to registering 11 positive drugs tests during the qualification period.
This followed an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport following an initial verdict by the International Weightlifting Federation.
A spokesman for United World Wrestling has said the international governing body is looking into the situation surrounding Zlateva and is waiting for a response from the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation having contacted them.
- By Daniel Etchells
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz