Jamaican wrestlers hunt Olympic spot

first_imgAngus Arthur became the first Jamaican to win an international wrestling gold medal after he defeated Costa Rica’s Maxwell Lacey Garita 13-1 in the 92kg men’s freestyle weight class at the Pan American Games on Sunday.Jamaica Wrestling Federation (JWF) President John Isaacs is hoping that Arthur and Lesyan Cousin, Jamaica’s other wrestler who won bronze in the men’s 87-kilogram Greco-Roman wrestling at the Games, can repeat their success at the Olympic qualifiers this Friday to Sunday at the Shaw Centre, downtown Ottawa, Canada.Isaacs believes their chances of being Jamaica’s first qualifiers for this event at the Olympic Games is great.“I am very hopeful we can qualify. Confidence drives success, and our two best hopes have now proven themselves to be world standard, and they will be fighting similar guys like at Pan Am. So everybody who was there (Pan Am) will be trying to go to the Olympics, so we are very hopeful. It’s a long shot, but we have a very good chance of Jamaica making the Olympics in wrestling,” Isaacs said. JAMAICAN LINEAGE Arthur, a naturalised Jamaican who grew up in the island with American parents, was an American cadet, but offered to represent Jamaica because of his affiliation with the island.Cousin was born in Cuba and is Jamaican by virtue of his grandparents being Jamaican. He approached JWF with his Jamaican passport and has won two medals already at the Cuban international tournament, where he represented Jamaican.However, Issacs believes that now is the time they really need to put their best foot forward.“They just finished Pan Am and did so well, next week is the Olympic trial, and that is the big one. If they win that they will be on to the Olympics, so we really hope the best for them,” he said.With the exposure Jamaican wrestling has gained from this famous win, Issacs says that they are aiming to continue growing their international team, although he insists that the focus will remain on the grassroots and developing indigenous wrestlers. LIFE SAVER “We (JWF) been around since 2012. Kevin Wallen (former president) is the founder. He was a wrestler in Canada and wrestling saved his life, as he was a troubled youth, so based on what it did for him, he thought wrestling could have the same impact in Jamaica.“We are literally at the grassroots stage. This year, we are hoping, with the help of our international federation (United World Wrestling), to introduce a grassroots programme that they will help finance that will focus on primary and high schools.“But we have to develop an international team, as the international team right now has no depth. We only have two (wrestlers), and we have no cadets (juniors) and no female. So there is much more to get out there. But we are very accepting of (talent in) the diaspora, and we want to blend locals that we will develop with the internationals that have the experience, because we want to be another sport that Jamaica is recognised for,” he added.last_img