Thursday, July 15, 2010

Female Aussie wrestlers compete at Games

No matter what the result, Australian wrestlers will make history at October's Delhi Commonwealth Games.

A 20-strong team unveiled on Tuesday includes the first Australian female wrestlers to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

And NSW's Shane Parker, 22, will become the first indigenous wrestler to compete for Australia at the Games when he contests the program's new addition - the men's Greco Roman discipline

Two years after becoming the first Australian female wrestler to contest an Olympics, Sydney doctor Kyla Bremner, 33, will head a six-strong women's contingent in India.

Bremner (51kg freestyle division), will again make a little history in Delhi along with Emily Bensted (55kg), Carli Renzi (59kg), Louise Randle (63kg), Emma Chalmers (67kg) and Cassie Fields (72kg).

Since the Games' inception in 1930, only men had contested wrestling.

Every member of the 20-strong Australian team except for two-time Olympian Cory O'Brien (66kg Greco Roman class) will make their Commonwealth Games debut.

It will be the third Commonwealth Games in the 38-year-old O'Brien's impressive 17-year international career.

Competing alongside O'Brien in the new Greco Roman division will be Parker (55kg), Masoud Sadeghpour (60kg), Iranian-born Beijing Olympian Hassan Shahsavan (74kg), Gene Kapaufs (84kg), Ivan Popov (120kg) and Hassene Fkiri (96kg) who represented Tunisia at the Sydney Games.

NSW's Justin Holland, 17, will be the youngest member of the Australian wrestling team.

Holland (55kg) will compete in the freestyle division with Victorian brothers Farzad Tarash (60kg) and Mehrdad Tarash (66kg), Kostya Ermakovich (74kg), Gene Kapaufs (84kg), Denis Roberts (120kg) and Bilal Abdo (96kg), elder brother of three-time Olympic wrestler Ali Abdo.

Australia have won 13 wrestling gold medals since 1930 - but not since the 1978 Edmonton Games when Zsigmond Kelevitz took out the 68kg division.

© 2010 AAP

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