Top KZN and South African wrestler, local lad Mundell ‘Nollie’ Brown, suffered a huge setback when he broke a tibia bone in his left leg during the Northern KZN rugby trials on May 12.
The 18-year-old was hoping to be back on the wrestling mat eight weeks after surgery – leaving him enough time to prepare for the national wrestling championships. But, like most top sports people, Nollie found that injuries are a part of the learning curve.
After three weeks, he went back to the doctor for a routine check-up, only to find that his leg was not healing as it should. It was later discovered that an infection had set in. Nollie underwent another operation and is currently recovering in the Newcastle Medi Clinic. Hopes are high that the surgery will be successful and he will be able to train within six weeks.
If not, he will have to go under the doctor’s knife again. The injury did not only end his chances of being selected for the Northern KZN rugby team and bring to a halt his wrestling preparations, but it also meant that Nollie lost out on a large chunk of his matric year. His father, Steven (himself an award-winning wrestling champion), says Nollie may even have to repeat Grade 12.
Nollie was only three when he started wrestling. With Steven coaching him, along with his own dedication, Nollie has turned himself into one of the country’s most exciting wrestling prospects and is a 10-time SA champion in his division. He has represented South Africa twice at the Continental Africa Championships, where he won silver medals on both occasions.
In the last African Championships in Algeria, Nollie wrestled in the cadets’ 92kg freestyle division and reached the final, where he came up against a multiple African champion, Mohammed Mostafa Aly Elshamy Salaheldin, from Egypt. The exciting duel between the two top African wrestlers in their division had the crowd on their feet in the La Coupole d’ Alger Arena in Algiers.
In the end, Mundell lost by a sliver – 10 points to 11 – and his Herculean effort elicited huge applause from his opponent, Salaheldin, and the entire Egyptian team. He says his latest setback will not ‘put him down’.
He has motivated himself to tackle the injury as he would a wrestling opponent. All his teammates in the Northern KZN Rhinos Wrestling team are cheering him on for a speedy recovery. For now, he has his sights set on being part of the SA Olympic team in Brisbane, 2024. Coach Steven has urged anyone interested in the ancient and noble sport of wrestling to join in the practice sessions, which can now be held again under the Level 3 Lockdown restrictions. The Rhinos practice Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 pm to 7pm at Sarel Cilliers, Glencoe.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram or email us at [email protected] Add us on WhatsApp 071 277 1394.