Wrestling with Champions!

YOCISO Wrestling with Champions program flyer

We are pleased to announce that OCISO has received funding from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund to launch a brand new initiative: “Wrestling with Champions!”

This new program will offer recreational wrestling classes to immigrant and refugee children and youth in the Ottawa region.

These boys and girls, the majority of whom come from low-income families, will be given the opportunity to take part in high quality sports activities at no-cost, to increase their physical literacy and capacity, as well as provide key social connections and foster a sense of inclusion.

We are thrilled that Mohammed Alkarad has agreed to be our wrestling coach. Mohammed was a 12-time Syrian wrestling champion and was nominated last year for the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award.

Mohammed Alkarad, wrestling program coach with youth
Youth participating in YOCISO wrestling program

The project includes girls as beneficiaries. Ottawa-born wrestler Erica Weibe, who won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics is very supportive of this project and may be able to participate in some of the sessions with the girls’ groups to mentor and inspire participants.

We are also thrilled that Basel Al Zoubi (featured in the video above) has been hired as the Acting Wrestling Program Coordinator, responsible for the overall organization and implementation of the project.

He will be the liaison working directly with Mohammed and other partners and conduct the outreach and recruitment of the youth participants.

OCISO supporters were very pleased to learn that Basel and his family were featured in a recent Ottawa Citizen article, “Syrian family gets ‘second chance to have nice life’ in Ottawa.”

Outreach to newcomer youth will begin soon, within existing OCISO networks, as well as externally and via social media outreach.

For more information about Wrestling with Champions, please contact Basel at [email protected].