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Nortje nails his second Continental Champs gold

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Edrich Nortje (Tuks) is starting to become a regular fixture on wrestling podiums around Africa.

At the weekend he won two gold medals (freestyle and Greco-Roman) at the Gauteng North Presidents Tournament, but more impressive was his performance at the African Continental Junior Championships in Port Harcourt in Nigeria.

He won a gold medal in the under-61kg category and it’s the second consecutive year that Nortje has been a gold medallist at the Continental Championships.

The Tuks wrestler had his work cut out in Port Harcourt. He got off to a bad start, losing in his first fight to Algeria’s Kouceila Anis Sadouki. The score was 10-2.

‘I honestly can say I got worked over by the Algerian, but in a way, it was a good thing as it got me truly psyched up, and made me realise that only my best was going to be good enough if I wanted to qualify for the final.’

Unintentionally, Sofiane El Khamer (Morocco) did Nortje a favour when he then beat Sadouki as it meant anyone still had a chance to qualify for the final.

Nortje was near his best when he took to the mat to wrestle El Khamer, not holding back at all. In one perfectly executed move, he managed to throw the Moroccan wrestler with such force that his opponent needed medical attention and led to him quitting.

The Tuks wrestler was as ruthless in his semi-final fight against Mohamed Abdelwahab Abouelmagd Salam (Egypt), winning by 20 points to nine. That set Nortje up with a revenge fight against Algerian Sadouki in the final.

‘The fight didn’t start out well for me. Sadouki quickly got hold of my legs to score four points. I immediately got my own back by also scoring four points. The deciding moment was when I managed to throw and pin him. I think the fight lasted only about 60 seconds.’

The African Championships will be Nortje’s only international competition this year. ‘Unfortunately, the Junior World Championships are the same time as I’ll be writing my matric record exams. It’s equally important for me to excel in my studies that’s why I decided to scale down a bit on competing.’

 – At the weekend’s Gauteng North Presidents Tournament Tuks wrestlers won a total of 26 medals (14 gold, seven silver and five bronze).

Gold medallists: Hayden Liebenberg, Armand van Zijl, Stephan Ehlers (Freestyle and Greco-Roman). Kirwan Boshoff, Leon Myburg (Freestyle and Greco-Roman); Edrich Nortje (Freestyle and Greco-Roman), Arno van Zijl, Heinie Killian (Freestyle and Greco-Roman), Kian du Toit and Neil du Toit.

Silver medallists: Wian Nolte, Juan Groenewald, Owen Mcmenamin, Neil du Toit, Rubin Janse van Vuuren (Freestyle and Greco-Roman) and Stjohn Vallance.

Bronze medallists: Jordan Liebenberg, Barry Liebenberg, Stjohn Vallance, Andries Coetzer, Kristian Kappetijn.

Picture of Nortje courtesy of Reg Caldecott


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