‘Prettiest wrestler’ takes bronze in Bulgaria

Swedish wrestler Sofia Mattsson fought hard for a bronze medal at the European Wrestling Championships in Bulgaria on Wednesday.

Mattsson, already a junior world Greco-Roman wrestling champion, was understandably jubilant after a third-place finish in the 48 kilo division in her first ever championship at senior level.

“This is the biggest thing to happen in my career so far,” she told Aftonbladet.

But the 17-year-old from Gällivare in the far north of Sweden refused to accept another prize – the organizers awarded her with the title Miss Europe, a prize reserved for the prettiest wrestler at the European Championships.

“This is not part of the sport. We are here to excel and win at wrestling. There are some people who compete in that other thing too but we don’t do that here,” said Mattsson.

Team captain Patrik Jansson was furious about the unwanted accolade.

“It’s a load of rubbish! There are old codgers sitting there deciding who is the prettiest. It’s terrible,” he told Aftonbladet.

According to Jansson, beauty competitions are commonplace at Eastern European wrestling events.

“In Poland last year one of our girls was named Miss Warsaw Open and we just told them straight out: ‘forget it!’,” said Jansson.

The captain was also less than pleased with the judging in Mattsson’s quarter final, which Mattsson lost to Larisa Oorzak from Russia.

“She would have taken the gold if the judging hadn’t been so strange there,” said Jansson.