Athletes representing the north in the 2018 Manitoba Games walked away from Friday’s wrestling events with half-a-dozen medals – four silver and two bronze.
Thanks to the efforts of athletes like Fahed Ahmad, Heidi Halcrow, Liddell Blacksmith and Michelle Omand, the group also helped Team North break the 20-medal threshold in the standings.
While the group’s opponents at the Bill Comaskey Wellness Centre weren’t as formidable as they could have been due to low numbers, their performance was still impressive considering the fact that March 9 marked the first time that most of them wrestled competitively.
The majority of the team hails from Cross Lake and started wrestling less than a year ago, said coach Kendall Robinson. Even though most of them picked up the sport rather quickly, Robinson said the idea of debuting their skills at the biggest multi-sport event in the province did pose a bit of an obstacle.
“They were overwhelmed, they were scared and they were excited,” he said. “They were mostly nervous this morning before the competition. After their first match they started getting used to it.”
Kassia Ross definitely got over this mental barrier, since she eventually went on to win bronze in the 50 kg weight category. Ross told the Thompson Citizen that she is looking forward to honing her skills in future competitions.
“It was fun and exciting watching our teammates wrestle,” said Ross. “Whenever we have another tournament we’ll know what we can do.”
In the end, Robinson said he was extremely impressed with his team’s performance on Friday, which bodes well for the future of freestyle wrestling in Northern Manitoba.
“Today they did an awesome job. It was incredible,” said Robinson. “After their performance today I’m very proud of them. I’m very happy that they came and they competed in provincial games like this.”
According to Robinson, the team is already eyeing their next official wrestling competition, since they hope to attend a provincial championship tournament in Winnipeg on March 17.