Wrestler donates prize money to patient with genetic disorder
Turkish wrestler Rıza Kayaalp, who bagged a gold medal in the Greco-Roman style 130 kg category at the European Championship, has donated all the prize money he received from winning the trophy for the treatment of a baby girl suffering from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
Kayaalp defeated his Italian opponent, Danila Sotnikov, 4-0 in the tournament held in Hungary’s capital Budapest on April 2 and became the European champion for the 11th time in his career.
When asked about his feelings, Kayaalp, who is from the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat, said it was an “honor to come close to the Russian legend Alexander Karelin,” who has earned 12 gold medals in 12 championships.
Following the medal ceremony, Kayaalp said he would donate the prize money to baby girl Eslem Fatma Altındağ, who is from his hometown.
“Eslem is an SMA patient. [She is tied to a machine] I want to save her from the tubes that connect her to life,” he said. “I practiced, showed efforts for her. Happy that I bestowed the gold medal to her.”
The wrestler highlighted that he had a dream to see Eslem recuperating as of Eid el-Fitr.
The European champion also made a call to the nation for donations. “My prize money may not be enough, I expect to see the public’s interest, too.”
The donation campaign for the baby girl is ongoing via an Instagram account, “smaeslemfatma.”