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Trio campaign to bring wrestling back into spotlight
Three wrestling fanatics are hoping to inspire a love of the sport with Bradford youngsters – despite it being in danger of being dropped from the Olympics.
The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee has added wrestling to the seven shortlisted sports “vying for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic program as an additional sport”.
There is now the possibility that wrestling – which has federations in 180 countries around the world and has played a prominent role in the Olympics – will not be a part of the 2020 Games.
But Bradfordians Ryan Lord, a Police Community Support Officer for Wibsey, Bankfoot and Odsal, and his friends Philip Robinson, a referee in the days of Big Daddy, and fellow wrestler Gareth Thompson are hoping to plans charity events to engage youngsters across the district in the sport.
Mr Lord, who is known as both a PCSO and wrestler, said: “Wrestling used to be really big in Bradford and I am trying to make it accessible to all, including children.
“It gives people something to be interested in and drive. When I heard about it being dropped from the Olympics, I thought it was disgusting because it is one of the oldest sports.
“A lot of thinking is involved. And it isn’t like boxing, where the aim is to hurt your opponent. Wrestling kept me away from other influences when I was younger.”
Mr Thompson, of East Bowling, said that wrestling had also helped him and that the group was looking at staging an event with Bradford-based charity Christians Against Poverty to give something back to the community.
“We are hoping to give kids something to do with their time,” he said.
“I see a lot of kids running around with wrestling tops on and we want to give them the opportunity to do it in a safe and controlled environment.
“Wrestling has helped me in a million and one ways and I want to give something back. It teaches kids discipline and they can use up their energy and angst.
“It is not a competitive sport, but more of a show. It helps children with their social skills.”
The trio’s next show will be staged at the Wibsey Working Men’s Club on Sunday, March 10.