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Surrey wrestler heads to Colombia for U23 Pan-American championships

Owen Martin aims for gold while competing with Wrestling Canada Lutte team

A Surrey wrestler is in Rionegro, Colombia to help represent Canada with Wrestling Canada Lutte (WCL) at the inaugural 2024 U23 Pan American (Pan-Am) Wrestling Championships.

The competition, scheduled for Friday and Saturday (June 21-22), will feature athletes from across the globe, including 21-year-old Owen Martin, a Queen Elizabeth grad.

Martin, who wrestles with Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club, trains twice a day, six days a week to hone his skills.

His father helped get him interested in the sport, he noted.

"My dad used to wrestle in high school, so he got me into wrestling when I was around nine (years old)," he said. "Then he started training me in our garage, and I just took off from there."

He will be competing in the 79-kilogram division, where he has excelled, having won four national titles, competing in the world championships last year, and taking third place at senior nationals this year. 

While it's a lot of training and hard work, the results are the reward, Martin said. 

"I love the grind," he said. 

His goal?

"I want to get the gold medal!" 

In addition to training and conditioning, Martin said visualization of his goal is key while he prepares for any competition.

When he steps onto the wrestling mat, his focus turns to making the most of his talent.

"Getting to my attacks, wrestling the way i like to wrestle ... I just focus on winning each position, and not really worry about the end result," he said. "The result will take care of itself if I just wrestle as hard as I can, leaving everything on the mat."

In a release, Wrestling Canada Lutte said it is sending a strong contingent of athletes to the U23 Pan-American Championships.

"The team is composed of our best next generation of high-performance athletes and boasts a few of our national senior champions,” said Chris Woodcroft, WCL high performance director.

“This international experience will prove to be a valuable stepping stone for the World U23 Championships held later this fall. Wrestling Canada Lutte is confident that our athletes are well prepared to take on the best in the Pan-Am region.”

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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