BELMONT-based wrestler Ando Lehtmets hopes to represent Australia at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The former Estonian Greco-Roman wrestling national champion had been trying to get a visa to compete at Rio in 2016 but has his fingers crossed that recent local awards will get him over the line for the next games.
Lehtmets won gold in the 71kg Greco-Roman category at the 2017 National Wrestling Championships in New South Wales earlier this month, and is the current WA Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion.
Head coach Jadranko Tesanovic, from the Greco-Roman Wrestling club at MMA 24/7 in Belmont, said they were getting in touch with federal Minister for Sport Greg Hunt to secure support for Lehtmets to represent Australia and start training full-time.
“Maybe it will be easier now, because in the meantime, he has achieved national level when he won his gold medal,” Tesanovic said. “He’s a loyal, kind sportsperson, humble and a good role model for children.”
Lehtmets has been in Australia for three years and said he loved everything about the country, from the friendly locals to beautiful weather.
He said he was drawn to wrestling because it was a mix of solo training and supportive teams, and assists with teaching juniors at the club.
“It’s teamwork, but you have to do your own work too to be the best,” Lehtmets said. “You still need friends and partners because alone you can’t do it.”