WRESTLING: As the second summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China draw to a close, spare a thought for 16-year-old Ben Pratt from the ACT, who competes on the last day of competition in the men’s 100kg wrestling.
After landing in Nanjing nearly two weeks ago, Ben has had to find a balance between taking in all the YOG has to offer while still preparing the best he can for when he hits the mats on day 11.
“I’ve been spending half my time training and the other half socialising and meeting new people,” Pratt said.
“I always try and keep my competition well away from my head, I try not to think about it because then I start stressing out and you can’t wrestle and be all hyped up like that. I try to just pull myself away from it as much as I can.”
Pratt can’t wait to begin competition in his biggest event to date and feels that there may just be a few things that may give him an edge.
“The past couple of months I’ve been working on my footwork and hip work which I think will go quite well, but I haven’t been able to do it on anyone outside my club. I have a few tricks up my sleeves which I want to give a go.”
The youngster has not set himself high expectations for the YOG, in fact quite the opposite. Pratt could just about have the simplest and most humble attitude moving into his bouts.
“I just want to have a wrestle...I’ve been wrestling the same blokes at nationals for three years. I think I’m just looking forward to versing new people. I’m not to fussed result wise," he said.
“The amount of people I’ve met out in the village and the amount that will come back just too have a chat has been great.”
Less than 24 hours before he begins the qualification rounds, things are starting to click following a less than ideal preparation.
“For a couple of day in a row I had some really dodgy sessions and I wasn’t too keen on it and it wasn’t really going to plan. But then today and yesterday it really came together and I’ve really been drilling it and it’s coming together quite nice,” he said.