Amateur Wrestling in New Zealand.
Few New Zealanders, perhaps, have realised the true merit of the win scored by the New Zealand amateur wrestlers against the pick of Australian wrestlers a few weeks ago.
Wrestling under Olympic conditions —with the exception that the ring was enclosed with ropes which are absent in Olympic contests—our representatives managed to defeat men with more experience and with the added advantage of having had several weeks of training and many bouts as a preliminary “warming-up.”
To Leo Nolan, over whom a mild controversy raged because he was not sent to the Olympic Games in 1936, must particular praise be given. He defeated Purcell, who was considered by competent Australian judges to be “unbeatable.” Purcell had only once previously known defeat until he met Nolan, who scored a one-fall win. This was the first fall Purcell has conceded during his career. Another grappler who is due for particular mention was Ira Palmer, who was defeated by
A view of Frankton Junction Station, North Island, taken in the early ‘nineties. Standing on the platform are Messrs. R. B. Peat (Stationmaster), A. Crisp, F. Anger, A. Anger and J. Knight.
Knight, the British Empire heavy weight champion, after a dour set-to. Palmer made his debut last season when he defeated a Wellington amateur who had been spoken of by visiting American mat-men as a prospect for high honours in professional wrestling. He has not yet had six matches but proved capable of extending the amateur champion of the British Empire. And he was only included in the team, at the last moment, because Anderson, the official representative for the heavyweight class, was light enough to wrestle in the light-heavyweight class! Both Nolan and Palmer are young men who have to thank Anton Koolman, an Esthonian Olympic representative, for their knowledge of the wrestling game.
Although New Zealand has worthy representatives in the heavyweight wrestling ranks with Blomfield and Elliot there are many enthusiasts who hope that some day the trend will sway toward giving the lighter-weighted wrestlers an opportunity of showing their wares in New Zealand. It is claimed, and rightly, too, that better wrestling and more science is displayed by the lighter men and with New Zealand rich in talent among the smaller men a golden opportunity is being lost to allow local products to share with American mat-men the honours of the wrestling season.