Ready to WRESTLE for NZ
How much can you tell about a person by just meeting them? Most people who meet Michelle Montague for the first time would have no idea her ultimate goal is to become a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter. That’s the 23-yearold Hamilton Hawks Wrestling team member’s long-term goal. But for now she is focusing on wrestling, just one aspect of Mixed Martial Arts. Recently she was named in the New Zealand wrestling team to compete in the Oceania Champs, Tahiti in March. Montague’s introduction to wrestling came at Core MMAGymin Hamilton a few years ago. ‘‘I did every single class, one was a wrestling class, I didn’t know what it was like as a sport on its own, but I liked it. For me it was a smaller version of rugby, which I was playing at the time.’’ Awrestling coach invited her to a training camp, which included people involved with MMA, judo and jiu-jitsu and plenty of wrestlers. She quickly realised what to expect from the sport.
‘‘They saw this girl who was bigger than the rest, so they put me with these boys and I got smashed.
‘‘And all I was trying to do was defend the whole time. You can be as athletic as you like but if you don’t know how to wrestle, they can use it against you. It was really a way to see the level the others are at and the high performance side of the sport.’’
Montague has focused on wrestling training, participating in tournaments.
Her her short-term goal was to qualify for the nationals, which would allow her to compete at the Oceania Champs.
However, she faced a setback in September when she broke her leg. She missed the nationals but because of her standings on previous tournaments, she was eligible to qualify for the Oceania Champs.
Competitors who make the top two in the Oceania finals qualify for the Commonwealth Champs, from which the top six will go to the Commonwealth Games. She is one of 30 representing New Zealand in Tahiti.
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Michelle Montague will compete for the New Zealand wrestling team at the Oceania Champs in Tahiti.