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Birmingham makes want come true for Estonian sumo wrestler at The World Games 2022 « The Official Website for the City of Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, AL – A dream got here true for Eva-Maria Raudsepp, a 17-year-old sumo wrestler from Estonia, on Tuesday morning because of Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, The World Games 2022 and the Birmingham Zoo. 

Raudsepp – the one Estonian feminine sumo wrestler at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, in addition to the youngest and smallest feminine sumo at The Games – got here to Birmingham with out household or mates. As her competitors wrapped up Sunday, she started feeling homesick. 

 Her workforce’s attaché, Carla Blakey, Ph.D., requested if there was something she wished to do earlier than leaving Birmingham. The 17-year-old replied with a stunning request: She had by no means seen a giraffe and understood American zoos usually have them, so might she see one earlier than leaving Birmingham? 

The Birmingham Zoo is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so it appeared unimaginable to satisfy Raudsepp’s request earlier than she returned to Europe. 

Enter Woodfin. When he realized in regards to the younger lady’s want, he known as Chris Pfefferkorn, the zoo’s president & CEO, and preparations had been made to supply Raudsepp with a particular, non-public hour-long tour on Tuesday morning. 

Raudsepp and Mayor Woodfin shared a number of moments with Willow, one of many zoo’s giraffes, together with being lovingly and lavishly licked within the face by the tall-necked creature.  

“It’s unbelievable that I’m right here,” she mentioned. “I’ve all the time wished to see a giraffe. It is my favourite animal.”  

Even although Raudsepp didn’t win a medal at The World Games 2022, she will return dwelling with reminiscences of competing within the once-in-a-lifetime athletic occasion and in addition making a brand new, long-lashed, speckled good friend on the Birmingham Zoo. 

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