Team GB’s three freestyle wrestlers, all members of British Wrestling’s National Talent Squad, surpassed all expectations to claim two silver and one bronze medals. The wrestlers were made to wait until the final day of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) to get their competition under way, but they performed!
Team GB’s only female wrestling competitor Shannon Hawke (Tullibody Club) led the way by winning silver in the 56kg category. She beat three of her four group opponents (New Zealand, Australia and Chinese Taipei) to progress to the gold medal match where she was overpowered by a very strong Chinese athlete, Yanan Jiang.
George Ramm (Sharples Club) followed suit with silver (beating Brazil and New Zealand) in the men’s 63kg event but losing to China in the gold medal match.
Brian Harper (also Tullibody club) completed a fantastic day for British Wrestling by winning his bronze medal fight in the 54kg category against Shahin Ariyazand of New Zealand.
All three athletes now have their sights set on competing for further honours at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Of the 114 athletes who competed for Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, 93 will return from the heat of Sydney to the snow in London with a medal hanging around the neck. Of the three wrestling athletes, ALL will return with a medal. It has certainly been another memorable Olympic event for the British Olympic team.
The 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival over five days was the largest yet with 17 sports including multiple disciplines in canoe/kayak and gymnastics, and 1,700 athletes from 30 nations competing at the 2013 AYOF either independently or in the Combined Oceania or International Triathlon Union teams. Nations participating in wrestling were: Australia, Brazil, China, China (Taipei), Great Britain and Northern Ireland, New Zealand and Oceania.
The Team GB motto of the festival was:
This is the start
Better never stops
And… a previous Youth Olympic Festival participant was Tom Daley – aged 13 years…