This weekend, four wrestlers from the North West will travel to Glasgow to take part in the British Junior Wrestling Championships 2012.
The athletes are Kurtis Ashcroft, Alexander Henry, Matthew McCrossan and Ben Pollin and they will be accompanied by Jim Toland, an experienced coach who is possibly better known for his leadership and involvement with the local judo scene.
When asked about the expectations of the group Jim said: “These young men have trained hard and they are all seasoned players; I’m expecting them to do well. Each has his own particular strength, for example some have great technical skills and fitness whilst others have good tactical awareness however they all possess determination and courage.”
Although the wrestlers come from the Waterside Sharks and Causeway Giants wrestling clubs, they are all supported by Sport NI through the North West Talent Programme which aims to pool the resources of local clubs with the stated aim of creating a very strong regional squad whilst developing the skills and expertise of coaches in the process.
This is the second year that Sport NI working in co-operation with the Sports Development Department from Derry City Council has invested in freestyle wrestling and other selected sports.
Jim explained: “The North West Talent Programme is an extremely creative initiative since it brings together experienced coaches from a range of sports such as rugby, hockey, judo and climbing to share best practice and build a solid network of local practitioners who can actually help each other with difficult tasks like talent development and athlete retention.”
Freestyle wrestling is an Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is an energetic activity; well-regulated and safe which helps to build confidence and a strong mind and body.
Additional information can be obtained by visiting www.niwrestling.org or by contacting Jim Toland through St Columb’s Leisure Centre, Waterside.