Two local athletes are on the 235-strong New Zealand team that will compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, starting later this month.
They are wrestler Brahm Richards, 24, whose family lives at Dairy Flat, and discus thrower Connor Bell, 20, of Kaukapakapa.
Regarded as one of the country’s most promising young athletes, Bell is no stranger to sporting achievements. He won the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games title and the 2018 Youth Olympic Games gold medal.
Last year he achieved a personal best and New Zealand resident record mark of 64.29m at the Potts Classic in Hastings, coming within 74cm of the long-standing national record of Ian Winchester.
A broken ankle late last year saw him off the track for a couple of months, but in his first competition back in March, he retained his senior national title with a best of 60.78m.
The holder of national U17, U18, U19 and U20 records, Bell competes for the North Harbour Bays Athletics and is coached by Mike Schofield.
Brahm Richards is a 2014 Youth Olympian. In 2018, he became the youngest wrestler to ever represent NZ when he competed at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“I’ve been training at City Kickboxing for a few years and last year I did lots of wrestling with UFC fighter Kai Kara-France as he looked to improve his wrestling,” Richards says.
“It was a pretty awesome experience, we both learnt a lot from it and I’ll be putting some of those lessons into play as I chase a medal in Birmingham.”
Brahm is the manager and wrestling coach at Club Physical at Whangaparāoa and trains twice daily
Also in the Kiwi wrestling team, and set to make their Commonwealth debuts in Birmingham, are Cole Hawkins (men’s U74kg), Suraj Singh (men’s U57kg), Matthew Oxenham (men’s U68kg) and Michelle Montague (women’s U75kg –conditional upon confirmation of availability).
There are athletes 110 women and 125 men in the NZ team. The games will be staged from July 29 to August 8.