Ligrit Sadiku wanted to be pushed.
He was afraid of plateauing in Prince Edward Island after winning local and regional events and needed a new challenge to advance his wrestling career.
The then 17-year-old found it in London, Ont. He made the rare move to leave home and spend the first semester with family there, attend high school and train with the University of Western.
"It's a big sacrifice for sure," he said while home for the Christmas break. "To me, (it shows) how much wrestling means to me."
It was a big adjustment at first, but one made easier with the support of the Western team and his family.
"I've improved a lot," he said. "I'm learning new things every day."
Sadiku wants to win nationals and said he hopes training with top-level competition on a regular basis will help him reach his goal. The junior nationals this year are at Brock university in St. Catharines, Ont.
"When I go to nationals (I'll be) ready," Sadiku said.
He's already competed in a few competitions in the 54-kilogram division. He's won a couple of high school events and medalled at a university tournament during the first semester.
"It was intimidating at first," Sadiku said. "When I realized that I could compete at their level, I started to get more comfortable."
Sadiku only started in the sport four years ago and is competing against athletes with longer careers.
"When I tell them I moved from P.E.I. just to wrestle it's a big surprise to them," he said.
Wrestling P.E.I. president Megan Morrison said Sadiku's decision shows his dedication to the sport and an eagerness to improve.
"I think it shows a level of maturity where he is able to realize to get to the next level he needs quality training partners," she said.
Sadiku is scheduled to be in London to at least the start of February, but said he wants to come home to graduate high school with his friends.
His long-range goals include attending world championships and the Olympics. He said none of his success in the sport so far would have been possible without family support and the great coaching he received in Prince Edward Island.
Who - An 18-year-old Summerside native who competes in wrestling. He moved to London, Ont., for the first semester this fall.
Sadiku says - "My goal was to compete with people at a high level, people who would give me a big challenge."
Recent achievements -
- Gold at the Matmen in Brampton, Ont.
- Golf at the York Open in Toronto where he fought in the 54-kg division and defeated a national team member.
- Gold at the Gemini Open, an Ontario high school tourney.
- Bronze at the McMaster invitational, a university age group tournament, in the 54-kg division.
- Gold in the Toronto Open in November.