Russian wrestler Artur Najfonov was among the children detained by terrorists at a school in Beslan in 2004. Then he lost his mother. At the Olympics in Tokyo, Najfonow won a bronze medal.
17 years ago, on September 1, 2004, 7-year-old Artur Najfonow, along with 10-year-old sister Sabina and mother Sviatlana, went to school number one to start the school year. At. At 9.15, the first shots of the Chechen attackers were fired in the building, who had managed to get to North Ossetia from neighboring Ingushetia. They demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.
Chechens held hostages in the gym for over two days. They did not give them food or drink. On September 3, 2004, Russian special forces launched an assault, retaking the building. According to the official version, the attack was launched because the terrorists used explosives placed in the gymnasium.
Over 330 people, including 186 children, were killed in the attack on the school in Bieslan. The course of the chaotic assault is one of the circumstances of the tragedy that has not been fully explained to this day.
Najfonov’s mother died protecting her children from the gunshots. Artur and his sister were injured. – It was a very difficult time for Arthur’s family. It was also not easy for other families. The news of the death of a loved one reached almost every home, the athlete’s coach Totraz Naniyev told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.
Najfonov began training wrestling as a teenager. He quickly gained attention. He won regional and national competitions. At the beginning of his career, he was in the 69 kg category, then he moved to the present – 86 kg.
He became a three-time European champion, two-time Russian champion, winner of the bronze medal at the World Championships in Kazakhstan in 2019 and the bronze medal at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, Znak.com
Main photo source: RITCHIE B. TONGO / PAP / EPA