THE Wolves are howling in triumph after winning the West Australian Wrestling Championships in a record-breaking clean sweep.
Taking home the coveted Peter Lawson Trophy with a total of 222 points, it is the first time the MMA 24/7 Belmont Wolves have been champions in the club’s history.
Beating Osborne Park, Wanneroo, Subiaco and Fremantle, the Wolves came out on top in all four 2016 tournaments.
Competitors as young as five years old battled it out in different weight, gender and age classes, with individual wins added to the team score.
Standouts for Belmont included Miguel Perez (26kg), who took first in the 8-9 year old boys, former Estonion national champion Ando Lehtmets (75kg), who took out the senior male Greco-Roman round and Brooke Allan (55kg), who won the senior womens.
MMA 24/7 Belmont Wolves team manager John Allan credits their success to a program put in place last year to encourage kids and volunteers to get involved.
“The sexy sports get a lot of attention,” Mr Allan says.
“But if you look at the commercially huge sports, they all have problems with drugs, social problems and competition burnout, whereas we focus on giving kids confidence – its just been inspiring watching them grow over the last 12 months.”
Mr Allan says the club has gone from coaching a handful of kids to 26.
“They come two or three times a week. Often our problem is they want to come more and we have to balance that extracurricular activity with things like homework.”
Children as young as six have been asking to do more core fitness classes.
“It’s so weird, seeing these little kids going ‘I want to lift the weight ball, I want to do core fit,” laughs Mr Allan.
Although MMA wrestling has a reputation as a masculine sport, Mr Allan says about 70 per cent of the junior Wolves are girls.
“The girls love beating the boys but they’re also smarter and pick it up faster. The boys want to just build up strength and speed, whereas the girls know that by honing in on technique the other stuff will build up as they train.
“They look as cute as a button running around before suddenly they’re all focus and concentration. It’s amazing how much confidence it gives them.”
Mr Allan admits that the MMA 24/7 clubs receive very little funding and rely heavily on volunteers for coaching and membership and tournament entry fees to keep their facilities open.
“We get a small amount from the Western Australian Institute of Sport,” he says.
But he also believes that having volunteers donate their time and passion has made the club something special.
“We’re hoping that by really raising the bar the other clubs will get jealous, get stronger as well, so we can all keep raising the standard of the sport.”