Gabrovo, Bulgaria: Yesterday, on July 5, 2023, Christina Sidorova was awarded a plaque of honour from the Regional Manager of the Gabrovo District SC Equal Start, which celebrated its second birthday this month and ten years since the establishment of “Water Rehabilitation and Adapted Swimming”.
Coach Georgi Levicharov, the founder of the club and creator of the city water rehabilitation project, received the award. The regional manager also presented the certificate “The audacity to be the first” to one of the most prominent athletes in the club – 20-year-old Ivelin Gramatikov, who took 6th place in the 50-meter freestyle swimming discipline at the 16th Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, Germany. This year’s race gathered over 6,500 competitors in 27 sports.
The awards were presented at a meeting in the Regional Administration – Gabrovo. During the meeting, Levicharov explained that, at the moment, 85 children with and without disabilities are training in the club. He said his students participate annually in national and international swimming tournaments, and Gabrovo has hosted several swimming forums, with the sports club planning to organize another one in 2024.
One of the most successful competitors in the team is Evelyn Gramatikov, who has been playing the sport for ten years. His training intensity is variable before the games in Germany. He trained four times a week with coaches Georgi Levicharov and Boyan Botev.
Last year, he also grabbed the cup for best competitor in the 16+ age group at the first National Championship for Children and Youth with Intellectual Disabilities. In addition to swimming, the youth is interested in drawing and modelling. He graduated from Father Paisiy Secondary School, and now his main focus is sports.
He acknowledges that national and regional competitions are no longer challenging for him, and participating in the Special Olympics holds a special place in his memory. He undergoes a long preparation for the tournament – first in Gabrovo, then in Sofia, and finally in Kiel, Germany. In the quarterfinals, Evelyn recorded a second time 35:69 sec.
He came fifth in the semifinals, and in the final swim, he registered his best achievement – 35:37 sec, making him sixth in the world.