Aussie Wrestlers Ready to Rumble in Birmingham

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A pair of cousins and an athlete who grew up in Iran have made the Australian wrestling squad of six bound for Birmingham.

 

A team of six wrestlers will descend upon Coventry Arena for one of the most exciting editions of the competition in its history.

The squad includes two cousins from NSW lining up for their cumulative fifth Commonwealth Games appearance: Jayden Lawrence, 27, and Justin Holland, 29. Lawrence, from Rossmore, is heading to his third Commonwealth Games and Holland, from Abbotsford, his second.

At Glasgow and the Gold Coast, Lawrence was knocked out of the round of 16 by the eventual gold medallist, earning him a place in the repechage.

A podium finish has, however, so far eluded him – and that’s a big motivator to medal in Birmingham.

Quite remarkably, Justin Holland returns to the Australian Games team 12 years after making his debut at Delhi in 2010, where he was knocked out in the quarter-finals.

He heads to Birmingham in peak form, having claimed the Australian title in the 57-kilogram division earlier this year.

Like Lawrence and Holland, Dutch born Naomi De Bruine has also been to the tournament before, reaching the quarterfinals at Gold Coast 2018 in the women’s Freestyle 76kg, just over a year after she took up the sport.

De Bruine will look to improve on her result from Queensland as she takes part in the same event.

Western Australian Tom Barns will make his Games debut in Birmingham and will celebrate his 21st birthday during the competition.

Barns has won the men’s Freestyle 97kg Oceania Championship and will look to add to his CV in England over the coming fortnight.

39-year-old Mustafar Rezaeifar is the most experienced member of the team, and began wrestling to learn as a sill in order to defend himself while growing up in Iran.

He will take part in the men’s Freestyle 65kg.

The final member of the team is 30-year-old Victorian Irene Symeonidis, who will enter the women’s Freestyle 57kg.

Australia is the fourth most successful wrestling nation in Commonwealth Games history and will look to build on the 14 gold medals the nation has already amassed.

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