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Grapplers go for glory

Team South Africa’s wrestlers will be strong contenders for medals at the Commonwealth Games which get underway in Delhi, India on Sunday.

Topping the list of possible medal winners is Heinrich Barnes who placed seventh at the World Championships in Moscow, last month.

A possible match-up in the 66kg division between Barnes and current World Champion, Sushil Kumar of India should be one of the wrestling highlights of the Games.

Richard Addinall (74kg) is South Africa’s most experienced wrestler who narrowly missed qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games. The Asian champion, Narsinh Yadav of India and the veteran, Evan McDonald of Canada will be his strongest opponents.

India and Canada are the strongest wrestling nations in the Commonwealth but individual entrants from Pakistan, England, Nigeria and Cameroon may cause upsets in some of the divisions.

In the 84kg weight class Gerald Meyer was the top Commonwealth wrestler in Moscow. His strongest opposition might come from Canada’s Danny Brown and Abraham Vassalo of Malta. Etienne van Huyssteen (97kg) is also a potential medal winner if he can survive the onslaught of Khetag Pliev of Canada and England’s Leon Rattigan.

In the women’s division South Africa’s best hopes are pinned on Zumicke Geringer (63kg) and Sonja Coetzee (72kg). Canada’s dual Olympic champions, Carol Huynh (48kg) and Tonya Verbeek (59kg) will attract the most attention among the female wrestlers.

Addinall will again be a strong factor in the Greco Roman wrestling style together with Hugues Bella-Lufu (96kg) and Dean van Zyl (84kg). Marius Loots (60kg) might find a match-up with his former Western Province teammate, Terrence Bosson, who is representing England at the Games.

The South African wrestling team at the Commonwealth Games is:
Men’s Freestyle

66kg: Heinrich Barnes; 74kg: Richard Addinall; 84kg: Gerald Meyer; 96kg: Etienne van Huyssteen
Men’s Greco Roman
55kg: Carlo van Wyk; 60kg: Marius Loots; 74kg: Richard Addinall; 84kg: Dean van Zyl; 96kg: Hugues Bella-Lufu; 120kg: Andries Schutte.
Women
48kg: Brumilda Leeuw; 51kg: Mpho Madi; 63kg: Zumicke Geringer; 72kg: Sonja Coetzee.


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