‘It’s unbelievable that I am here’: Birmingham leaders make giraffe wish come true for TWG Estonia sumo wrestler
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A 17-year-old sumo wrestler from Estonia, who was in Birmingham for The World Games 2022, got her wish Tuesday. She got to feed a giraffe at the Birmingham Zoo.
Eva-Maria Raudsepp, the only Estonian female sumo wrestler at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, as well as the youngest and smallest female sumo at The Games, came to Birmingham without family or friends. As her competition wrapped up Sunday, she began feeling homesick.
Her team’s attaché, Carla Blakey, Ph.D., asked if there was anything she wanted to do before leaving Birmingham. The 17-year-old athlete replied with a request to see a giraffe. She said she had heard American zoos have them. They’re her favorite animal.
Thanks to Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, The World Games 2022 and the Birmingham Zoo, Raudsepp’s wish came true.
The Birmingham Zoo is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but when Mayor Woodfin learned about the young woman’s wish, he called Chris Pfefferkorn, the zoo’s president & CEO, and arrangements were made to provide Raudsepp with a special, private hour-long tour on Tuesday morning.
Raudsepp and Mayor Woodfin shared several moments with Willow, one of the zoo’s giraffes.
“It’s unbelievable that I am here,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to see a giraffe. It is my favorite animal.”
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