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January 13, 2005

Reedy wrestles with preferred pursuit

From: The Age, Australia - Jan 13, 2005

By Stathi Paxinos
January 13, 2005

It usually takes Jack Thiessens only a few minutes to walk from the entrance of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre to the hall where he is running the Deaflympics wrestling competition. But, when he walks with Australia's only wrestling representative, Milton Reedy, it takes far longer.

Thiessens said everyone seems to know the popular New Zealand-born 44-year-old, who will be competing in the bronze medal play-off in the 120-kilogram bout this morning.

And just a glance at Reedy's sporting resume, which extends two decades and includes judo, wrestling and sumo wrestling, explains why.

Reedy's first love was judo, in which he won a world deaf title in 1987, but he has also achieved success in sumo wrestling, winning a bronze medal in the middleweight (85-115kg) division at the world championships against "hearing" opponents.

"I was surprised because I won four of the bouts and in the last one I lost, against Japan. It was really hot and they beat me in the semi-final," Reedy said.

"I finished that sport in 1996 and did not (take part in) sport really until I went back to wrestling for the Deaflympics in Melbourne and started training 18 months ago."

Reedy, who now lives in Ireland, will today have to compete with a twisted knee sustained when he beat Venezuelan Raul Sosa yesterday, as well as overcoming a shoulder injury received in competition a couple of months ago.

However, Reedy has been working with a sports psychologist to build his confidence after a first-up loss to a Russian competitor earlier this week.

"We have discussed how to think positively and relax . . . make sure that I am always in a positive frame of mind. (Yesterday's) bout was very hard but I was really detemined to get through. I pulled something in my knee during the bout . . . but luckily I did pin him," Reedy said.

Reedy hoped his performance would inspire more to take up wrestling.

"In Melbourne deaf people love soccer, football, rugby. Wrestling is not that popular, it's quite a small sport, but it is really different in European countries, lots of deaf wrestlers around," Reedy said.

Regardless of the result, Reedy will head back to Ireland after the Deaflympics with judo once again firmly in his focus. He hopes judo will be introduced as a sport at the next Deaflympics in four years.

If so, Reedy could be holding up the progress of another event official in Taiwan in 2009.

"I am going to try to set up a judo team from Ireland. Maybe I'll compete or maybe I'll be the coach, I don't know yet. We'll just see what happens," he said.

Copyright © 2005. The Age Company Ltd.