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Pratt gives his all on the mats

27 August 2014

WRESTLING: On day 11, the final day of competition at the second summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, 16-year-old Ben Pratt finally got the chance to hit the mats in the wrestling.

Pratt has been waiting for competition ever since landing in Nanjing two weeks ago – Today his time came.

His first bout was against Dmitri Ceacusta of Moldova. Pratt fought extremely hard but dropped a few points early on which put him on the back foot, he then had to play catch up for the rest of the bout, but it wasn’t meant to be. He went down 4-0.

“The first fight went well to start with, for the first thirty seconds I was into him and he didn’t have much space, but then I just dropped off. The second I dropped off he capitalised and beat me ten nil,” Pratt said.

A similar story played out in the teen’s next two bouts. First up was Firuz Yakubov of Tajikistan then an hour later he met Turkmenistan’s Muhammet Rozykulyyev in his third and final match, where he also went down 4-0.

Pratt was put on the defence by his larger opponents and unfortunately was not able to topple his adversaries.

Hailing from the ACT, Pratt competed in the 100kg division along with just seven others. The competition format saw competitors split into two pools of four. Each wrestler then had three bouts to find their ranking in their pool.

The number one wrestler from each pool battled for gold and silver, while the number two wrestlers contested bronze and fourth and so on.

After finishing fourth in his pool, Pratt faced off against Mexican, Eduardo Maximiliano Garcia Betanzos but came up empty handed after a fast bout.

All Pratt wanted coming into the Games was to wrestle some new opponents – he definitely got his wish.

“I certainly versed some new wrestlers. As soon as I came in at the beginning I had a crack. In those fights I got to see all kinds of wrestling. Most of the fights I’ve seen have been Australian and Oceanic wrestling and to see these guys live, whose culture is so heavily based on it, to even verse them was great,” he said.

Though the scoreboard may not show the results he may have wanted, this humble teenager recognises the gravity of what he’s been a part of.

“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something this huge and this fantastic, as far the experience goes I don’t think I missed out on much, but then competition wise I just didn’t hit it up properly and I was outclassed.”

“I made some new friends and thanks to social media I can keep up with, there are certainly some people I want to keep in contact with,” he concluded.

“It’s been an amazing experience.”

Sam Rawlings

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