Kitchener wrestler Callum Knox makes international debut

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ST. CATHARINES — Callum Knox recognizes a name or two on the list, but for the most part they’re just names.

Knox, a 21-year-old Kitchener native and member of the Brock Wrestling Club, leaves Sunday night for Spain to represent Canada at the World Under-23 Wrestling Championship in Pontevedra. Wrestling Canada Lutte (WCL) is sending 19 athletes to compete in the women’s and men’s freestyle events, with Knox making her international debut Thursday in the 97 kilogram division qualifying round.

“It’s going to be exciting, and it’s going to be nerve-wracking, but I feel like I’ve put in time and work to prepare for this tournament,” said Knox, a Bluevale Collegiate alumnus and sophomore. year in kinesiology. in Broc.

“I don’t know what to expect. I think I know a few American guys, and I may have seen the Russian guy in seniors, but the majority of them are just names on a list.

Knox earned his spot on the U23 team with a fifth-place finish at the Canadian Wrestling Trials in Edmonton. All four athletes who finished ahead of him were senior competitors, making Knox the highest ranked wrestler at the U23 level.

The result was not what he had hoped for, but the opportunity to represent Canada helped ease the disappointment.

“Even though this tournament hasn’t been in my favor, it’s like one of those rewards you get for the long hours of practice,” he said.

“I want to be in the Olympics one day, so maybe this is another step towards that.”

Knox was a multi-sport athlete at Bluevale. He played fullback and running back for the Knights football team and goalie for the football team.

He was also a member of the Bluevale wrestling team for five years and finished his high school career with a gold medal at the 2020 All-Ontario Championship (OFSAA) in Sault Ste. Married. He was coached by Angela Bender, an educational assistant, while at Bluevale and has kept in touch with her since moving to Brock.

Bender also coached Knox outside of school with the club’s KW Kaos program.

“She was really the driving force to get me into wrestling in 9th grade and showed me that what you get out of it depends on what you put into it,” Knox said.

Recruited by Ontario universities into football and wrestling, Knox chose to go the wrestling route after his OFSAA win.

Knox joined a powerhouse in Brock, a program that has won six consecutive OUA men’s championships since 2015 and five U Sports national championships between 2015 and 2019.

The Badgers are coached by former two-time Olympian Marty Rowe, currently with the men’s national team program, and a group of experienced assistants.

“Great coaches, not to mention the sparring partners I have here, it seemed like a no-brainer to pick Brock,” Knox said.

With competition limited during the pandemic, Knox took his first big dive with the Badgers last November by winning the 100kg division at the McMaster Invitational. He followed that up with a silver medal at the OUA championship in April.

The hope now, he said, is to win another medal in Spain.

“I’m obviously hoping to bring some gear home, but I just want to get out there and compete to the best of my ability,” he said. “If it doesn’t translate to material, it will sting, but I’ll keep the fire burning for next time.”

For more information on the U23 World Wrestling Championship, including live matches, visit https://uww.org/event/world-championships-63.

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