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South Africa wrestlers grappling with high Commonwealth Games hopes.


South Africa's Gerald Meyer in action againts A Vassallo of Malta in the wrestling freestyle competition

South Africa will again be pinning its hope on the amateur wrestling squad to bring home the goods at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23 to August 3.

At the previous edition in Delhi four years ago, the grapplers contributed five of the medals with Richard Addinall the biggest winner with his two silver medals in the men's 74kg Greco-Roman and freestyle.

The medallists from the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games were no longer involved with the sport anymore and instead a new crop of talent would be flying the flag.

Wrestling coach Esta van Zyl said the team was, nevertheless, hopeful they would be able to match the team's previous medal haul.

"There is extremely tough competition in wrestling, so anything can happen, but we are hoping for the best," Van Zyl said on Friday.

"We won five medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and we really did well there so we hope to improve on that this time around."

This year, only the freestyle and women's categories would be contested in Glasgow. South Africa were taking five women and six men to the Games.

Three of the wrestling team's five medals from Delhi were won in the Greco-Roman category.

The team would be spearheaded by the country's only three medallists from the Senior Africa Championships held in Tunisia at the end of March.

Gerald Meyer, who wrestled at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, featured in the final of the of the Africa Championships where he lost to Guinea-Bissau's Augusto Midana, the latter having competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

Armando Hietbrink and Marno Plaatjies also claimed silverware in Tunisia, earning bronze medals in their respective weight divisions.

Van Zyl said the team also included rising stars who had shown potential to compete for podium spots.

Terry van Rensburg, who claimed a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Youth Wrestling Championships in Singapore, was one of those on the rise, having finished in second place at the Commonwealth Championships in Johannesburg in December last year.

"Terry and Bokang Masunyane are two promising wrestlers. They train hard and they have set lofty goals for themselves and won't easily submit," she said.

Among the women wrestlers, Zumicke Geringer and Mpho Madi would be under pressure to perform in their second Commonwealth Games where they both finished in fourth place previously.

On a personal note, Van Zyl said it was her biggest competition in charge, after she first got involved with the sport in 1994.

"I started out sitting in the corner observing how things are done and from there the interest just grew," Van Zyl recalled.

"I started attending coaching courses and worked myself up to where I was selected accompany the cadets and younger teams."

South African wrestling team: Men: Bokang Masunyane, Marno Plaatjies, Terry van Rensburg, Gerald Meyer, Armando Heitbrink, Adem Digovich. Women: Mpho Madi, Jeannie-Marie Coetzer, Norma Gordon, Zumicke Geringer and Refilwe Molongwane.

Management: Nico Coetzee (manager/coach), Esta van Zyl (coach).

Posted June 15th, 2014. Filed under Amateur Wrestling Tagged: ,

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