Gladiators, are you ready?
05 Sep 2013
On a beach in Perth, two schoolboys circle one another, their arms outstretched. The coarse sand records their movements as they shuffle back and forth, waiting for the moment when ...
They’re off, wrestling each other to the ground. From the sidelines, their coach Alan Landy yells words of encouragement. The passion in his voice is evident as it ricochets across the sand dunes to curious onlookers. These athletes are the future of the sport he adores.
These are his gladiators in the making.
For Alan, a former Canadian wrestler who now calls Australia home, encouraging young athletes to take up the sport of wrestling has become a driving ambition. He now works with a number of schools in the northern suburbs of Perth to deliver classes as part of the Active After-school Communities (AASC) program.
‘Wrestling offers so many benefits for school children, such as strength, balance, coordination, confidence and self-defence,’ says Alan, who has also established the Little Gladiators Wrestling Club.
‘It’s also one of the safest sports to do.’
In addition to his work with school children — for which he was recently awarded the AASC’s 5 Star Community Coach Award — Alan works part-time as a development officer for Wrestling WA and is the sport’s national team manager for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
‘Nothing is ever a problem with Alan,’ says Ben Mollett, a regional coordinator for the AASC program. ‘He is always looking for ways to improve the AASC program and is a fantastic role model — not only to the children he is coaching but also to the other community coaches he takes under his wing.’
Alan’s success in recruiting new kids to wrestling is an encouraging sign for a sport that has been under fire of late. It has been placed on a shortlist of sports which may be axed from the 2020 Olympic program — not that Alan thinks this will distract his charges from fulfilling their potential.
‘I’ve no doubt these ‘gladiators’ will develop their skills quickly and have the opportunity to represent their school and state at upcoming championship events,’ he says.
More information visit ausport.gov.au/aasc