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Wrestling more brain than brawn

University wrestling camp teaches more than grappling

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The University of Winnipeg will be spending the weekend teaching grapplers a thing or two.

The university is hosting the third annual Wesmen Wrestling Elite Camp from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 with two guest instructors — Olympic gold medallist Carol Huynh and two-time Olympian Matt Gentry.

The camp costs $125 to attend, and participants will receive a T-shirt and water bottle for attending.

Adrian Bruce, head coach of the Wesmen wrestling program, said when he was hired three years ago, the University of Winnipeg didn’t have a wrestling program, which is one of the reasons Bruce wanted to come here.

"It’s one thing to come here and pick up the reigns of an existing program that a previous coach started, but to be able to step in and build one from scratch to your vision, that doesn’t happen every day. It’s very special to me," Bruce said.

To this day, there are nine female wrestlers and 15 male wrestlers at the University of Winnipeg, according to Bruce.

"I think women just finally had the opportunity to explore wrestling," Bruce said. "For years it’s been a male-dominated sport."

Bruce said Huynh’s presence at the camp is important and beneficial because it shows that women can find success in a sport that was once thought to be a manly activity.

"(Huynh) is someone who has broken through boundaries. What Wayne Gretzky is to hockey, Carol Huynh is to wrestling," Bruce said.

The camp not only consists of practising and learning skills, it will also offer the services of a sports psychologist and a nutritionist.

"That’s where I think our camp is separated from so many in the country," Bruce said.

Bruce said the camp also aims to address misconceptions about wrestling — that it’s not about being big and strong, but about being intelligent and strategic.

"In wrestling, we try to gain advantage over our opponent through technical skills to score a point," Bruce said. "Of course you’re going to have those athletes that win because they’re stronger or faster, but as time goes on, they don’t find (nearly as much) success as the intelligent and strategic ones."


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