Seasoned Ford proud, excited over naming

Glasgow 2014 bronze medallist Tayla Ford headlines the New Zealand wrestling team for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Ford will contest the women’s under-68kg category and brings more than 20 years of experience to her third Commonwealth Games.

She was one of six New Zealanders named in the team for Birmingham yesterday.

"I’m just feeling an overwhelming amount of pride, happiness and excitement to have been named," Ford said.

"I can’t wait to get over there and showcase what I’m capable of. I’ve been doing this for a long time now and have been honing my skills through coaching recently so am feeling in great form."

Brahm Richards, a former Youth Olympian, joins Ford in the team and is looking forward to his second Commonwealth Games.

"I’ve been training at City Kickboxing for a few years and last year I did lots of wrestling with UFC fighter Kai Kara-France as he looked to improve his wrestling," Richards said.

"It was a pretty awesome experience, and I’ll be putting some of those lessons into play as I chase a medal in Birmingham."

Also in the team and set to make their Commonwealth Games debuts in Birmingham are Cole Hawkins (men’s under-74kg), Suraj Singh (men’s under-57kg), Matthew Oxenham (men’s under-68kg) and Michelle Montague (women’s under-75kg, conditional upon confirmation of availability).

Oxenham (Christchurch) said he was over the moon to get the call saying he had made the team.

"It was pretty unreal. I couldn’t be happier," Oxenham said.

"It’s not long now until we go and I’m just hoping to perform as well as I can and make myself proud.

"I love the sport. It’s very introspective and there’s nowhere to hide.

"I can’t wait to get over to Birmingham and compete at that level."

Wrestling at Birmingham 2022 will begin on August 5 at the Coventry Stadium and Indoor Arena.

The New Zealand team is nearly complete.

Sevens teams are named today, and both men’s hockey and 3x3 basketball name their teams tomorrow.

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