25 Year old Jayne Clason only took up wrestling 18 months ago and now she is poised to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October. Jayne even has an eye on a medal in the 55kg weight category, if she can replicate her form from the Commonwealth Championships last December, where she won a bronze medal against strong opposition. Jayne describes this success as the highlight of her sporting career so far.
Indeed it was this outstanding performance that has led her to be named as the Clydesdale Bank Athlete of the Month for January and she will receive a cheque for £500 towards her competition and training costs. The scheme is being run by Commonwealth Games Scotland in conjunction with Clydesdale Bank as part of their programme of support to Team Scotland and is open to athletes in any of the 17 participating sports who are eligible to represent Scotland at next year’s Games in Delhi.
“This is the first award of any kind that I have won, said Jayne so I am absolutely delighted. I need some new wrestling boots which can cost between £100-£200 for good ones, along with other training kit so the money will be really useful as I can only work part-time as a gym assistant to fit round my training and competitions.”
Wrestling for women is making its Commonwealth Games debut in Delhi. It is a big sport in India and one in which they have targeted significant medal success. However Scotland also hopes to field some strong opposition, mainly thanks to a talent transfer scheme initiated by the Scottish Wrestling Association and following the principles of the talent programme being developed by the sportscotland institute of sport, which has seen Jayne along with four other girls switch from the sport of judo where they also enjoyed considerable success.
“I took up judo when I was just four years old”, said Jayne. “My dad coached the local club and so it was natural to get involved.” Black belt Jayne went on to compete at both Scottish and British level and also won a Commonwealth Championship bronze medal in judo. However two years ago, the qualified hairdresser from Grangemouth, was persuaded by her judo pals to give wrestling a go and she has not looked back.
“The sports are quite similar. You just have to adjust your technique a bit and remember that arm locks and strangles aren’t allowed in wrestling. The outfits are different and I now wear a lycra singlet instead of a judo suit which covers you from head to toe and gives you something to grab hold of. The lycra singlet is quite slippery and makes it difficult to bring your opponent down. Also in wrestling, you fight in a circle rather than the judo square and the mats are a bit softer.”
“Wrestling is a physically exhausting sport which has three two minute rounds with only a 30 second break in between. To win the match you must win two of the three rounds by scoring more points than your opponent in each round. Alternatively pinning your opponent’s shoulders down firmly on the mat for one seconds can decide the match outright.”
So to ensure she is in the best possible shape Jayne’s training involves five two hour sessions on the mat each week overseen by Ukranian coach Volodymyr Gladkov at Palace of Art in Glasgow. This is complemented by several strength and conditioning training sessions each work organised by the Central Scotland Institute of Sport along with medical and physiotherapy support if required.
Having won medals at both the British and Commonwealth Championships so far this season Jayne only needs to do well at one final competition in Glasgow later in the year to secure her place on Team Scotland.
“I would love to go to Delhi as part of the team, I just can’t wait”, said Jayne. “I enjoyed going to India in December for the Commonwealth Championships. It was really good experience and despite all our concerns we all kept fit and healthy and competed really well with the Scots winning five medals in total – the most we have ever won at these Championships.”
So will Jayne be tempted to switch back again in 2014 when judo makes a return to the sports programme? “No I am going to concentrate on wrestling”, she says firmly. “Wrestling is a much better fit for me. Whilst the basics are the same as judo the techniques involved in wrestling are better suited to my style. But it would certainly be fantastic to compete in front of my friends and family in Glasgow in 2014.”
Clydesdale Bank’s support helps to ensure that athletes training and competing at this level will benefit from extra financial support to help them achieve their goals. The award scheme is a great additional incentive to the athletes as they strive to deliver top performances over the next ten months to book their place on the team.