BELMONT wrestling coach Jadranko ‘Adrian’ Tesanovic has been made an official for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in recognition of his contribution to the sport.
Mr Tesanovic was 10 when he began his career in Greco- Roman wrestling.
At 22 he competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for what was then Yugoslavia.
“Wrestling is part of the culture in Eastern Europe,” Mr Tesanovic said.
“Greco-Roman is the purest form of wrestling. You can only use your arms and upper body and it takes a lot of strength but also strategy. It has over 600 moves.”
Conflict in Croatia drove Mr Tesanovic’s family to Bosnia, where they were trapped when war broke out in the Balkans.
“It was a horrible time,” he said.
Drafted into the military police, he was part of a group which risked their lives to rescue a Muslim man by smuggling him into UN territory in Croatia.
Wrestling club Belmont Wolves’ manager John Allan called Mr Tesanovic , “a man of
the highest integrity”.
“He’s a man who has gone through so much adversity to become a hard-working immigrant and a major contributor to the Belmont sporting community.”
Mr Tesanovic said, “My wife Sanja is an engineer; she’s a very brave and confident, pushy person,” Mr
“I’m not lazy, it’s just my genetics, but whenever I wanted to stop, she tells me to keep going.”
The couple arrived in WA as refugees in 1997.
Alongside coaching wrestling at MMA 24/7 in Belmont, Mr Tesanovic found a new passion as an assistant physiotherapist at Princess Margaret Hospital.
He also became a father of three, adopting his brother’s children when he died five years ago.
All three have shown a talent for wrestling, with the youngest, Mia (12), winning gold at the Australian National Championships in 2016.
“We’re teaching so many kids; there are 25 in our class.
The sport is growing and Australia has a real opportunity to become an international wrestling competitor.
Mr Tesanovic has been training WA Greco-Roman wrestling star Troy Humberston in preparation for the 2017 Oceania championships held on March 9-12.
“He is a very nice man, a gentle giant,” Mr Tesanovic said.
Mr Humberston suffered an injury which left him unable to defend his title at the 2016 Australian National Championships.
Mr Tesanovic said the star had what it took to make the 2018 Commonwealth Games.