NZers add two bronze medals from wrestling

03:09, Jul 31 2014
Tayla Ford
BRONZE SUCCESS: Kiwi wrestler Tayla Ford battles on the mat during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on her way to becoming New Zealand's first female wrestling medallist.

Scotland continues to be a happy hunting ground for Kiwi wrestlers as Christchurch's Sam Belkin and Tayla Ford both won bronze medals this morning. 

A Kiwi last stood on a Commonwealth Games dais for wrestling 28 years ago just down the road in Edinburgh and of New Zealand's 29 wrestling medals, seven have come in Scotland. 

The two today went to rapt Kiwis. 

Sam Belkin
TOUGH GUY: Sam Belkin won a bronze medal in the wrestling competition in Glasgow.

"I'm ecstatic," said Ford, 21, and New Zealand's first female wrestling medallist after pinning England's Sarah Grundy and winning 5-0.

"I really wanted gold or silver, but once that was out of the picture, it was quite easy to put everything into going for the bronze."

Belkin, 26, was disappointed his Bangladeshi opponent earlier in the competition was a no-show because he felt that left him light on preparation. 

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But all that disappointment went out the window when he proved far too strong for Northern Ireland's Hugh McCloskey 4-0 in the bronze medal match.

"I'm stoked at the moment," he said.

"It's good to get that out of the way and I can have a break. It's been an intense build-up. It started in South Africa then I had to go to American Samoa, then I trained in America, it'll be nice to go home and have a bit of a rest."

The unlikeliest of training partners, the pair both train at the small Rangiora club which is based in an unused stewards' room at the Rangiora Raceway. 

Belkin is 1.81m tall and looks every gram of his 96kg frame while the small but nimble Ford is just 1.65m tall and 61kgs. 

Both lost their semifinals narrowly to the eventual gold medallist. 

The Ford-Belkin double continues what has been a sensational games for Kiwi combat sports. 

The judo team won five medals, the wrestlers have grabbed two and with David Light and David Nyika both winning boxing semifinals, two more medals are guaranteed.

View Stuff's Commonwealth Games medal table.

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