Strong shot

Tawa wrestler bound for the US

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

From Hamil­ton to Chicago – it’s go­ing to be a heady few days for Jor­dan Mel­lars-rose. Tawa-lin­den Wrestling Club has pro­duced a num­ber of cham­pi­ons in re­cent years, with Mel­lars-rose among them.

The 17-year-old was Porirua’s 2011 Young Sportsper­son of the Year af­ter win­ning ti­tles at the sec­ondary schools, North Is­land and Ocea­nia cham­pi­onships.

On Satur­day he de­fended his sec­ondary schools ti­tle in Hamil­ton, be­fore join­ing a 10-strong Kiwi team on a month-long tour of the United States.

He will train and com­pete at high school and col­lege wrestling meets in Los An­ge­les, Chicago, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky and Ore­gon as part of a cul­tural ex­change. It’s the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time and he can’t wait. Half-empty halls with two mats in New Zealand will give way to huge au­di­to­ri­ums and 15 mats, with the stan­dard a cut above what he is used to.

‘‘I know it’s go­ing to be a great ex­pe­ri­ence, tak­ing my wrestling to the next level. We’re go­ing to be train­ing ev­ery day and tak­ing part in up to 15 com­pe­ti­tions.’’ He has re­ceived some as­sis­tance from the Raynor Greeks Me­mo­rial Trust, but Mel­lars-rose raised the bulk of the $5000 needed to fund the trip by work­ing at a meat­works.

‘‘It was hard, I worked my butt off, but this [trip] is so im­por­tant to me.’’

His coach Scott Lau­ren­son says the trip will give the young wrestler an in­sight into Amer­i­can sports at­ti­tudes and elite com­peti­tors.

Mel­lars-rose has a busy win­ter ahead, with the North Is­land champs in June, fol­lowed by the Down Un­der Tour­na­ment in Bris­bane in July.

His goal is to make the Kiwi team for the Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow in 2014.

Tawa-lin­den Wrestling Club will host a US team in Au­gust.

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