Imagine moving to a foreign country, not knowing the native language, yet finding a way to excel and become the outright best at something.
Such is the case for one local high school wrestler, and there is a good chance we will be hearing more about him for years to come.
Abbas Tamaradze looks and sounds impressive on the wrestling mat.
Even more impressive is the Hampden Charter School senior's 52-3 record, which led him to the school's first state championship this season. As one would expect, the road to the title was not easy.
"Try to train every day, or twice a day," said Tamaradze. "Get the fitness in early and practice at night, two hours a day."
Tamaradze's personal story just might be harder than his training regimen. His family immigrated to the United States six years ago from Uzbekistan, and the teenager did not know English.
"Abbas had a lot of rough edges," said Hampden Charter School wrestling coach Rodney Smith. "Very talented, very gifted, he just needed to be guided in the right way. Give him some strategy, when to hit the right move at the right time."
If anyone knows about hitting those moves, it would be Smith, a U.S. Olympian who won the bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992. He sees a lot of potential in his star student.
"This is a life he has chosen to live," said Smith. "This is a path. When I was on that same path, my only quest was to put together that perfect match."
And as Smith guides Tamaradze to nationals this summer, and a possible international competition after that, the student told CBS 3 that he will listen to the teacher.
"Last year, during my state final match, was the only time I did not listen to my coach," Tamaradze stated. "I lost my match. I realized that if me and my coach stick together, I am going to go a long way."
Tamaradze won his title in the 132-pound weight class.
Following his tournament schedule this summer, he plans on enrolling in college to continue his wrestling career.
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