British wrestler Olga Butkevych wins European bronze

Olga Butkevych
In 2012 Ukraine-born Olga Butkevych became the first British woman to win a wrestling world championship medal, finishing third in Canada.

British Olympic wrestler Olga Butkevych secured -60kg European bronze by defeating Belarusian Nadzeya Mikhalkova inside 18 seconds in Vantaa, Finland.

Her success follows a difficult 18 months for the athlete who was forced to find employment after UK Sport axed funding for the GB wrestling programme.

Ukraine-born Butkevych, 28, became the first British woman to win a World Championship wrestling medal in 2012.

"I am pleased to have demonstrated I can deliver," she told BBC Sport.

"It's been a tough journey, but thankfully the National Lottery [though Sport England and Commonwealth Games England] came to the rescue and funded my recent training."

She won her opening fight in Finland against Romanian Georgiana Filip 5-2, but a 15-14 loss to Hafize Sahin of Turkey in the semi-finals put her into the repechage.

A commanding victory - secured with a second pin of the competition - followed.

It was Butkevych's second European bronze medal for Great Britain with the wrestler also finishing third at the 2011 Championships in Germany.

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GB's Butkevych suffers wrestling defeat

"She had big decisions to make as to whether to try to come back without UK Sport funding and I am so glad for Olga," British Wrestling chief executive Colin Nicholson told BBC Sport.

"She has demonstrated yet again that she has Olympic podium potential and good luck to her in her quest for gold at the Commonwealth Games."

With the -60kg division not a weight included in the Commonwealth Games programme Butkevych will need to make a decision on whether to compete for a place in Glasgow at -58kg or -63kg.

Her final Commonwealth qualification event will be the British Senior Championships from 5-11 May.

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