As a Rom I represented my country

Author: Katerina Holubova
Location: Brno
This is a story about me.
It all began in 1991 when I was attending an elementary school in Brno, and we got invitations to enroll in a course on self-defense.
I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to know how to defend myself – and I was curious too. So I went to the first meeting. I learned some things, but still had no idea that I would wrestle professionally.
I started to go to the Junior Wrestling Club. Our coaches were Ludvik Suchy and his wife. The training began with skill development, space orientation, stretching, power, and self-defense. I began to enjoy it.
My family had no idea that I was wrestling. I told them that I was attending an exercise class at school. And I told the club that my family didn’t know about my wrestling, and that they would forbid it because I suffer from heart disease. But I liked wrestling.
Then Luda went and told my parents. And my mother said: "Why, Katka? You know that you’re ill.” But I said that I enjoyed it. So my parents supported me – provided that I’d be careful.
My first wrestling match took place in the fall 1991. It was the Christmas Championship in Varnsdorf. I remember having the butterflies before I came to the mat. It was terrible: I was virtually trembling. But when I got to the mat, the shaking went away. I placed fourth in the lightweight class.
Another important match took place in January 1992. It was an international open championship in Kappel, Germany. There were teams from France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and the Czech Republic. I placed third there, and we won as a team.
Then I placed second in a championship at Jihlava – and shortly after that I placed second in the National Championship!
Then I had to pass high school entrance exams and I quit wrestling – and my heart problems started up again. It’s interesting that I didn’t have any problems during my wrestling career. But four years later I got a pacemaker, so I couldn’t start wrestling again even if I wanted to.
I’m glad that I wrestled, even if it is a funny sport for a girl. And I’m proud that as a Rom I represented my country in Kappel in Germany in 1992. Not many people know about that.

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  1. Hooray for you! Brave girl. I wish everybody could know about your triumph. Once I met a Romany man who had his Ph.d. He was a good person. That was in Canada. There must be Rom here but they do not speak about their background, I think. Maybe they have had such pain that they don’t want to take any chances. I don’t blame them. But it would be a pity to lose a rich heritage. All the best to you, brave girl. Marko.

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