Tri­umphant Wolves take clean sweep

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT - So­phie Moore

THE Wolves are howl­ing in tri­umph af­ter win­ning the West Australian Wrestling Cham­pi­onships in a record-break­ing clean sweep.

Tak­ing home the cov­eted Peter Law­son Tro­phy with a to­tal of 222 points, it is the first time the MMA 24/7 Bel­mont Wolves have been cham­pi­ons in the club’s his­tory.

Beat­ing Os­borne Park, Wan­neroo, Su­bi­aco and Fre­man­tle, the Wolves came out on top in all four 2016 tour­na­ments.

Com­peti­tors as young as five bat­tled it out in dif­fer­ent weight, gen­der and age classes, with in­di­vid­ual wins added to the team score.

Stand­outs for Bel­mont in­cluded Miguel Perez (26kg), who took first in the eight-to-nine-year-old boys, for­mer Es­to­nion na­tional cham­pion Ando Le­ht­mets (75kg), who took out the se­nior male Greco-Ro­man round and Brooke Al­lan (55kg), who won the se­nior women’s.

MMA 24/7 Bel­mont Wolves team man­ager John Al­lan cred­its their suc­cess to a pro­gram put in place last year to en­cour­age chil­dren and vol­un­teers to get in­volved.

“If you look at the com­mer­cially huge sports, they all have prob­lems with drugs, so­cial prob­lems and com­pe­ti­tion burnout, whereas we fo­cus on giv­ing kids con­fi­dence.

“It’s just been in­spir­ing watch­ing them grow over the last 12 months.”

Al­lan said the club had gone from coach­ing a hand­ful of kids to 26.

“They come two or three times a week. Of­ten our problem is they want to come more and we have to bal­ance that ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity with things like home­work.”

Chil­dren as young as six have been ask­ing to do more core fit­ness classes.

“It’s so weird, see­ing these lit­tle kids go­ing ‘I want to lift the weight ball, I want to do Core Fit,” Al­lan said.

Al­though MMA wrestling has a rep­u­ta­tion as a mas­cu­line sport, Al­lan said about 70 per cent of the ju­nior Wolves were girls.

“The girls love beat­ing the boys, but they’re also smarter and pick it up faster. The boys want to just build up strength and speed, whereas the girls know that by hon­ing in on tech­nique, the other stuff will build up as they train.

“They look as cute as a but­ton run­ning around be­fore sud­denly they’re all fo­cus and con­cen­tra­tion. It’s amaz­ing how much con­fi­dence it gives them.”

Al­lan said the MMA 24/7 clubs re­ceived very lit­tle fund­ing and re­lied­heav­ily on vol­un­teers for coach­ing, and mem­ber­ship and tour­na­ment en­try fees to keep their fa­cil­i­ties open.

But he also be­lieved that vol­un­teers had made the club spe­cial.

“We’re hop­ing that by re­ally rais­ing the bar, the other clubs will get jeal­ous, get stronger as well, so we can all keep rais­ing the stan­dard of the sport.”

Man­ager John Al­lan, Brooke Al­lan, Jad­ranko Te­sanovic and Ando Le­ht­mets. Front row: Ar­ri­ana Ken­dall and Miguel Perez with the Peter Law­son Me­mo­rial Tro­phy.

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