Wrestler back in the ring at Commonwealth champs
Marcus Carney knows how it feels to be knocked down.
The 25-year-old Dilworth Wrestling Club heavyweight had his dreams dashed last year when he missed out on qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games by one place.
But he is back on his feet and ready to go.
Carney left for South Africa on November 28 to compete in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships from December 5 to 7.
It is the deciding tournament to see whether he makes the cut for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
"It's huge for me. Wrestling teaches you the value of hard work. You really reap what you sow. You have to go in there and fight hard if you want to be a winner."
Carney is relatively new to the sport but took to it like a duck to water, he says.
The freestyle wrestler competes in the 120kg division. He started in 2009 and was winning nationals before competing in a local competition. He now has big dreams of heading to the 2016 Olympic Games.
"I'm so motivated to get there. Apparently heavyweight wrestlers get a bit more towards their prime as they get older. You get your so-called man strength."
Carney trains for about 15 hours a week and is manager of a fitness club in Takanini.
The Half Moon Bay resident hopes to be a role model for youngsters to help the sport grow.
"Even though wrestling is so small here it doesn't mean you can't be successful.
"Wrestling teaches real family values like dedication, hard work and perserverance. It has done so much for me as a person so I want to give something back."
Olympic Wrestling New Zealand president Andy Roche says the Commonwealth championships provide a clear pathway for New Zealand wrestlers to get to Glasgow 2014 and beyond.
"Commonwealth level is pretty tough but it's one we're at least competitive in. At world level it's so huge but Commonwealth is a pretty good standard for us."
Mr Roche says the organisation is working to foster role models locally as well as with the top international wrestlers.
It's all about growing the sport in New Zealand, he says.
"How do you create that strong base, that's our problem. Role models like Marcus certainly help us. He's a big strong guy who trains really hard. We're hoping for big things from him. We think he's got the goods."
Go to olympicwrestling.org.nz for more information.
East And Bays Courier