YOUNGSTERS are listening as their coach gives instructions – a small step in nurturing talent over what will be years for many of them.
The gym is packed, this night is significant, but Wigan’s Commonwealth Games bronze medalist is making sure tomorrow’s stars don’t miss any opportunity.
Wigan and wrestling, the success story must go on.
Mike Grundy arrived back hours ago, and a crowd of people have arrived at Wigan and Leigh Wrestling Club’s base at at Eckersley Mill to welcome him and sister Sarah home from Glasgow.
“It means a lot,” Grundy told the Observer on representing his town and his country on the international stage.
“It’s nice – I love it.”
Grundy took home bronze after defeating Malta’s David Galea last week, but admits it was hard to prepare for his bronze medal match after the initial disappointment of losing to Pakistan’s Qamar Abbas to deny him a shot at gold.
“I was a little bit gutted at first I didn’t get to the final but in the end when I got bronze I was fine,” he said.
“I only had expectations to get gold. I wanted to get to the final so when I went in for my bronze medal match I had to pick myself up to get ready for it and in the end to get the bronze was proud.”
But the podium wasn’t the end of Grundy’s Commonwealth journey. He still had the small matter of supporting sister Sarah as she fought her way to a very respectable fifth-placed finish in the women’s 58kg.
““I was very proud of her to be honest. She wasn’t expected to get into medal contention and she did,” Mike explained.
“She fought hard – it was tough for me because I couldn’t shout as much as I wanted to because I was commentating on it on the radio.”
Sarah, a residency childcare worker in between training four days a week, wanted to match her brother’s achievements by winning a medal but still made an impression despite losing out to New Zealand’s Tayla Ford to finish fifth.
“Walking out there was the best bit – when you’ve got everything cheering for you,” smiled Sarah.
“I was wrestling for third place and I was gutted because it was so close – if I had won I would have had the same as Mike.
“Everyone keeps telling us how proud we should be.”
And the Grundys weren’t the only Wiganers in the wrestling camp at Glasgow.
Aspull’s Phillip Roberts competed in the 65kg, losing out to Pakistan’s Muhammed Salman in the most agonising fashion.
Leading 4-0in his round-of-16 tie, Salman fought back to draw 6-6, but went through having taken the last point.
The fourth Wiganer was 18-year-old Charlie Bowling. Part of the squad as a training partner and his dad David was thrilled to see his son, who is a student at Wigan Warriors Academy at Central Park, get a taste of what could be to come for his son.
“Proud is an understatement,” said David.
“He has loved every minute of it.”
Bowling has been offered wrestling scholarships in Canada and is preparing to take his level two coaching qualification.