Published Thursday 31 July 2014

Tayla Ford and Sam Belkin won wrestling bronze medals for today, lifting New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games medal count to 33.

Ford, who has just turned 21, wrestled in the freestyle 58kg category.

In her first bout she had to battle hard to get past Australian Carissa Holland 4-2. She achieved her victory by a fall.

A few minutes later she was back on the mat for her semi-final against Nigerian Aminat Adeniyi. Ford was hard-pressed, but kept the bout competitive, though she went down 4-1.

In her bronze medal bout, the Cantabrian faced Englishwoman Sarah Grundy, a multi-British champion.

Ford made no race of it and achieved victory by a fall, for a 4-0 margin.

Belkin, 26, took bronze in the 97kg freestyle division.

He, too, is based in Christchurch. He was born in England, but his family immigrated to New Zealand when he was 12.

Belkin was initially a Greco Roman wrestler, but switched to freestyle in 2012 when he learned there would be no Greco Roman wrestling at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The move paid off for him today.

He began with a good win over Bangladeshi Billal Hosen, winning with a fall.

Next up he struggled against Canadian Arjun Gill, who was too good, though Belkin showed flashes of class. Gill later went on to win the gold medal.

To earn his bronze, Belkin had to get past Northern Ireland’s Hugh McCloskey. The result was never in doubt and Belkin was award victory by ST – great superiority, a difference of 10 points with the loser scoring no points.

The other New Zealand wrestler in action was Soukanah Thongsinh in the 61kg division.

He began well with a clear victory over Welshman Damion Arzu. However, he came unstuck in his quarter-final bout against Nigerian Amas, being clearly outclassed.