Steve Larkin / AAP News
The big man from Perth has claimed the squad’s second Commonwealth Games bronze medal in as many days, but is hungry for more.
Freshly-minted medallist Tom Barns says Australia’s wrestling team has proved its critics wrong with their double bronze success at the Commonwealth Games.
A day after Jayden Lawrence ended Australia’s 12-year wrestling medal drought at the Games, Barns collected another bronze.
Barns dominated Samoa’s Maulalo Alofipo for a 12-0 triumph in Saturday night’s 97kg freestyle bronze medal bout in Birmingham.
“There was a bit of doubt on the wrestling team just in their competency,” Barns said.
“And there was a real sense of just wanting to prove everyone wrong, that we are a medal-worthy team at these Games.
“But two bronze medals is just the start. We want to build on this, get better and stronger.
“We’re not settling on two bronze, we want gold medals and to be one of the top teams.”
And the 21-year-old from Western Australia hopes the dual success in Birmingham helps promote the sport he loves.
Barns coaches wrestling in Perth and is also studying strength and conditioning.
“That is one of my biggest passions, I just really want to grow our sport,” he said.
“It has been the greatest thing for me as a person to develop.
“I want other people to have that opportunity to really use it as a tool to grow who they are.”
Another member of Australia’s six-strong wrestling team missed a medal on Saturday with Naomi de Bruin losing 12-0 in her bronze medal 76kg freestyle bout against India’s Pooja Sihag.