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Ford NZ's first woman wrestler at Olympics

Updated: May 3

Tayla Ford becomes New Zealand's first woman to wrestle at an Olympics
Tayla Ford has been selected for the Paris Olympics, the first New Zealand woman to wrestle at an Olympics. PHOTO: SKY SPORT

Tayla Ford is set to become the first New Zealand woman to wrestle at the Olympic Games, with the 30-year-old's selection to the New Zealand Team for Paris 2024.


Ford has been involved in wrestling for more than 20 years, competing nationally and internationally since she was 16.


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The Adelaide-based athlete has competed at three Commonwealth Games, taking bronze at both Glasgow 2014 and Birmingham 2022.


“It’s a dream come true and it still feels pretty surreal at the moment,” said Ford.


“I’ve always wanted to make the Olympics, and to become the first female wrestler from New Zealand to do so is pretty special.


“Back in Glasgow, I made history as the first New Zealand woman to win a Commonwealth Games medal in wrestling. It’s always been a goal of mine to make history, it’s part of what motivates me so it’s pretty amazing.”


Ford secured qualification for Paris last month, winning her pool in the U68kg division at the Africa/Oceania qualifier in Egypt.



Ford began wrestling when her Dad heard that women’s wrestling had been added to the programme at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.


“He wrestled in high school so he got back into it and I joined him. We had a mat in the garage where we’d train and we had a video tape of wrestling at the Sydney Olympics which we’d just play constantly while we were training.”


The Nelson-born, Christchurch-raised, athlete is now based in Adelaide where she coaches up-and-coming wrestlers.


The Olympic wrestling competitions will be held from August 5-11 at the Champ-de-Mars Arena in central Paris.


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