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China wrestles its way to the top

20 January 2013

WRESTLING: With a near clean sweep, China won gold in every division it entered in wrestling at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).

Australia’s Aliena Coleman was the only person from another country to make it to the top of the podium, by winning the women’s 65kg section.

The 14-year-old from Perth beat Fabiana Alcantara from Brazil and New Zealander Ruth Minturn in the round robin. 

“This is the best thing ever, it’s pretty overwhelming,” Coleman said.

“I was honoured to represent Australia, and now this, it’s fantastic.”

Her teammate and fellow West Australian Cody Witham won silver in the men’s 76kg division.

The 17-year-old took up wrestling less than a year ago and is now an AYOF medallist.

“I came expecting no medal so at the moment it feels like gold.”

“It’s given me confidence, next time I’ll be more ready and hopefully it’ll be gold.

The teenager, from Bolgart two hours north of Perth, celebrated his birthday at the opening ceremony.

“It’s definitely something I’m not going to forget. Out the back [of the ceremony] there were a couple of thousand athletes singing myself and another girl happy birthday.”

China’s Lajinima Ba took out the 76kg division, and Witham’s final round opponent Chance Sullivan (New Zealand) got bronze.

In the women’s 49kg China’s Ya Xie claimed gold from Chen Yi-Ting (Chinese Taipei) and Merinda Bramley (New Zealand).

Continuing the Chinese domination, Yanan Jiang triumphed over Shannon Hawke (Great Britain) and Lucy Rutten (New Zealand) in the women’s 56kg.

Guam’s only representative on the podium (representing Combined Oceania), Jonah Whitt won silver in the 54kg men’s section. China’s Guangbin Zhang won gold and Great Britain’s Brian Harper bronze.

Bagging gold in the men’s 63kg, Zongtao Huang overcame George Ramm of Great Britain and Matiu Pouri-Lane of New Zealand who had to settle for silver and bronze respectively.

After a close battle earlier in the day, Australian Sean O’Dea picked up bronze in the men’s 85kg with Brazilian Guilherme Dias in silver and Jiuzhen Yao (China) gold.

In the final and only match of the men’s 100kg, China’s Li Jianfeng got the upper hand, defeating Australia’s Arminder Sandhu by two points for gold.

Annie Kearney

Follow the AYOF on Twitter @AYOF2013 #AYOF2013 #RoadtoRio
Contact the author of this story @anniemaykearney

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