Tawa ju­nior wrestlers take on se­nior role

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By MATT SHAND

Six ju­nior wrestlers from the Tawa Tigers hope to de­fend their club’s cham­pi­onship ti­tle at the New Zealand club cham­pi­onships in Hamil­ton on Sun­day.

The group of 9 to 12-year-olds may be young, but they have more than 100 years of ex­pe­ri­ence to draw from the Tawa club’s train­ers.

Head coach De­siree Craike was a national cham­pion and has had 23 years’ wrestling ex­pe­ri­ence. Even more im­pres­sively, club trainer Scott Lau­ren­son has been in­volved for 55 years.

Lau­ren­son was awarded the New Zealand Or­der of Merit for his con­tri­bu­tions to wrestling.

Spurred on by their sea­soned coaches, the ‘‘ tiger cubs’’ have de­vel­oped into very ca­pa­ble wrestlers and are con­fi­dent they will have an edge in Hamil­ton.

Reuben Ren­ner, 9, thought their main com­pe­ti­tion would be their ri­val club, Waikanae.

‘‘We had a match against them re­cently and they were pretty tough,’’ Reuben said. ‘‘But we still man­aged to get first in most of our matches.’’

Olivia Bareta-Rodgers, 9, is the only trav­el­ling girl from Tawa, but is not afraid to com­pete against boys her own age. ‘‘I can beat the boys some­times, but mostly it’s fun just wrestling.’’

De­spite the rough and tum­ble na­ture of the sport, it is very dis­ci­plined and safety is drilled into the young wrestlers.

Cassidy At­tree, 9, said that at each prac­tice they would do about 50 min­utes of warmup be­fore do­ing any wrestling.

‘‘We do push-ups, sit-ups and lots of neck stretches,’’ he said.

‘‘ It gets re­ally hard to keep go­ing some­times.’’

The Tawa Tigers club has had a suc­cess­ful two years and was named team of the year at the 2012 Porirua Sports Awards.

The club’s se­nior team has won many re­cent ti­tles through­out New Zealand and Aus­tralia, but be­cause of the time and cost of pre­vi­ous tours, will not be at­tend­ing the cham­pi­onships in Hamil­ton.

It will be up to the six tiger cubs to shoul­der the Tawa Tigers rep­u­ta­tion, and they are con­fi­dent they have the claws to bring back the tro­phy and con­tinue their club’s legacy.

Photo: MATT SHAND

Ready to wres­tle: Tawa Tigers,

from left, Reuben Ren­ner, 9, Cassidy At­tree, 9, Olivia Bare­taRodgers, 9, Bay­ley Lat­ter, 9, and Finn Lovett, 12.

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