Tayla Ford’s advice to girls taking up wrestling is more about having the right attitude than anything else.
The New Zealand Commonwealth Games bronze medallist entered in the senior women’s 68kg class at the New Zealand National Olympic Wrestling Championships at the Gore Town & Country Club at the weekend but did not compete as she was the only one in the class.
It was important when training with other wrestlers to treat it like it was a competition, Ford said.
‘‘Be aggressive, be focused.
‘‘You don’t have to be nice to your opponent.
‘‘You’ve got to train the way you are going to compete.’’
Wrestling taught her many life skills including perseverance and discipline.
She worked four part-time jobs which fitted around her training schedule — ‘‘basically the perfect life in order to carry on training fulltime and to work.
‘‘It’s a bit full-on but I enjoy it.’’
She has been wrestling since the age of 7.
For the past four years she has been living in Australia after finding a coach there who ‘‘matched my style’’.
She won her first bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and came close to winning another in 2018.
‘‘I missed out by one point for a bronze in the Gold Coast games.
‘‘It’s good to set a bench mark for others to know that there is more than what is happening within your nation.’’
During the championships Ford chatted to young wrestlers and showed them her bronze medals.
About 130 wrestlers took part in the championships organised by the Southern Spartans.
Spartans coach Aron Miller said the event had gone well.
It was great for the community to have a national tournament in town, he said.