From bullying victim, Argentine wrestler seeks Olympic gold

Fri Jul 8, 2016 12:14pm EDT
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By Miguel Lobianco

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Bullied by a boy in her primary school, Argentine Patricia Bermudez learnt to fight to get back at him and is now on her way to her second Olympic Games as a wrestler.

Fighting also prepared the 29-year-old from the northern Argentine city of Santiago del Estero for a career in the Gendarmeria, Argentina's border police force which she joined in 2008.

But if she could earn a living from wrestling she would have retired from the force to work full time on her goals of winning a world championship or Olympic title in Rio.

"I went to the local club (in my district) and told the teacher I wanted to learn to fight to be able hit him," Bermudez said of the bully she was targeting.

"I was told I would need to train first and that's how I started," she said after qualifying for Rio in the 48kg category.

Bermudez competed at the London Olympics in 2012 on the back of winning the bronze medal at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara the year before.

"I've got a lot of objectives, on a sporting level (to reach) a world podium and obviously dream of an Olympic podium," Bermudez, who splits her day between office duties at the Security ministry in the capital and training, told Reuters.

"I say dream because maybe I can see a world podium closer. The world championships are every year but the Olympics are only every four years which is why I see it more as a dream, though not impossible," she said in an interview during a break at the Cenard national high performance center in Buenos Aires.   Continued...

Argentine Olympic wrestler Patricia Bermudez (top) fights with training partner Evelyn Sosa at the Cenard Sports Complex ahead of their participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci