Kyrgyzstan pins medal hopes on wrester Tynybekova

She has even had to make the difficult decision to forgo the annual Muslim fast because the Olympics coincide with Ramadan.

“I thank God for all my achievements in sport and pray for more,” said Ms. Tynybekova. “But unfortunately, this year I must eat strong food to be in shape, but I will definitely fast afterwards to make up for it.”

Mr. Izabekov also thinks nutrition is essential during such high-level tournaments, which is why they are bringing a store of special supplies to London, including dried fruit and dried yoghurt balls called khurut.

“European food sometimes is not enough for us,” said Mr. Izabekov. “We would bring kymys, but it isn’t the right season for it,” he added, referring to Kyrgyzstan’s national drink of fermented horse milk.

Wrestling is already a hugely popular sport in Kyrgyzstan, but one that few women take up. Ms. Tynybekova hopes that her success at the Olympics will change that.

“Unfortunately, there are not many female wrestlers here,” said Ms. Tynybekova.

“It is also bad for me as I need competition. But I really hope that by getting high achievements in London, I will be able to inspire many women in Kyrgyzstan to go for wrestling.”

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