Māori wrestlers selected for 2018 Youth Olympics

By Regan Paranihi

Four talented young wrestlers have been selected for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

The selected athletes are Westerly Ainsley (Te Wharekura o Mauao), Arapo Kellner (Kaitaia College), Ryan Marshall (Hamilton Boys High School) and Ella Derry (Tauranga Girls College).

They were selected following their win at the Oceania Wrestling Competition held in Guam last month.

Kellner began wrestling when he was living in the United States where the sport was very popular. He says he’s looking forward to competing against an international range of competitors at the games.

“I started wrestling when I was four years old, growing up in the US my older brother and all my friends were all wrestlers so that's how I got into it. I love the physicality and intensity that comes with the sport, it's the ultimate challenge."

Derry says she enjoys the sport because it keeps her fit strong and healthy.

"What I love about the sport is how much it makes you think and how different it is to the basic school sports that are offered, it really tests your mental strength."

New Zealand Olympic Wrestling Union Technical Director Iain Adamson says, "This is a great bunch of young athletes and this will be a fantastic opportunity for them to learn new skills while taking on some of the best wrestlers in the world."

Many NZ wrestlers who have competed in the Youth Olympic Games have gone on to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

Westerly Ainsley will contest the 65kg Freestyle category.

Arapo Kellner will contest the 60kg Greco Roman category.

Ryan Marshall will contest the 80kg Freestyle category.

Ella Derry will contest the 43kg Freestyle category.