Viorel Etko has become the first Scot since 1994 to win a Wrestling medal at a Commonwealth Games, coming third in the men’s 61kg competition today.
Etko won three of his four bouts in the SECC Precinct en route to winning his first Games medal, which he dedicated to his nine-year-old son, Leon. He said: “That fight was for my son, Leon! Winning was something I wanted to do for him, to give him that gift.
“I’m very fortunate to be the person who won the first Scottish wrestling medal in 20 years and I know now that coming out of retirement and having one last go after Delhi was the best decision I ever made. I also wanted to make history for Scottish wrestling. I have been competing for over ten years and there were times it was just me fighting in the Commonwealth, so I’m pleased to have won today. I now see young athletes coming up behind me and winning this medal was me saying to them ‘come on guys you can do it’.
“In the final, I played much more to my style, I went at it from the first second and I took control. I like to be in control and dominate the bouts I fight in. I held back too much in the previous fight, so I changed my tactics for the final and that paid off. A lot of friends, family and fans, who have all given me a very warm welcome since I arrived here in Scotland, people I know from around the world and British Wrestling came to see me so I thought it would be nice to give them a win.”
Etko beat Malta’s Adam Vella in the Bronze medal match, 10-0, in just one minute and 46 seconds, and saw off Canada’s Mike Asselstine and England’s George Ramm, with the aid of a deafening home support, in the earlier rounds. It was in the semi-final that he missed out on the Gold/Silver final by being out-muscled by eventual Gold medallist, David Tremblay of Canada, 2-10.
Also vying for medals for the host nation this evening were 18-year-old Shannon Hawke in the 53kg competition and Sarah Jones, 31, in the 69kg freestyle wrestling.
This was the highest level Hawke had ever competed at and, despite seeing off her fellow Scot Jayne Clason in the opening round, nursing a shoulder injury she was unable to back up that win in the semi-final against Lalita Lalita of India or the bronze medal final versus Mpho Madi of South Africa. Both bouts were decided by a “fall”.
Hawke said: “I couldn’t have been happier with my performance against Jayne this morning, but I’m disappointed the way the following matches went. I wanted to come back in the afternoon stronger and better. However, I’m 18-years-old and I have never competed at this level before so I tried to take it all in and enjoy it. The crowd were great at getting behind me. Not many people my age get an opportunity to compete at the Commonwealth Games so I’m proud of that.”
Jones lost both her matches, first against Canada’s Dori Yeats, 11-0 and then India’s Navjot Kaur in the Bronze medal match, through the repchage.
Six Scots will take to the mat tomorrow on the final day of Wrestling, starting with Luigi Bianco and Lewis Waddell in the Men’s 86kg Category, followed by Gareth Jones and Alex Gladkov in the 65kg event. In the Women’s events, Kathryn Marsh and Chelsea Murphy will compete in the quarter-finals at 55kg.
Photo credit: Rob Hardie