Story by Noor Farhan/Red Sports. Photos by Les Tan/Red Sports

Youth Olympic wrestling

Singapore’s Kester Leung went up against Jayden Lawrence of Australia in his first bout. (Photo 1 © Les Tan/Red Sports)

International Convention Centre, Tuesday, August 17, 2010 — Kester Leung’s opponents in the men’s 54kg Freestyle wrestling competition proved too strong for him, as the Singaporean was comprehensively defeated by his technically superior counterparts in the pool round.

He was also unable to notch any classification or technical points in his seventh and eighth placing match against Tunisia’s Maher Ghanmi in his final bout.

Kester began his preliminary bouts in earnest against Jayden Lawrence of Australia, but his opponent notched three points against Kester after 43 seconds with his better technical ability. The first round ended 0-6 against Kester after about a minute.

Being first on the mat after the break certainly did not help, as Kester was unable to get any points off his opponent and found himself on the backfoot instead after some excellent grappling by Lawrence.

Despite his valiant efforts to counter Lawrence’s offensive, the second round ended at 0-6 just like the first, after a minute and six seconds.


“The round didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I tried to attack him but I got stuck in the middle instead. I messed up and could not really focus towards the end,” reflected Kester on his defeat.

His second bout was against one of wrestling’s traditional powerhouses, Azerbaijan, represented by Kanan Guluyev. A quickfire takedown sending Kester out of the ring for three points set the tone for this bout. The first round ended 0-6 against Kester after only 19 seconds.

The second round was no better than the first for Kester, as Guluyev sought to dominate his Singaporean opponent to finish it at 7-0 despite Kester being cheered on by the local supporters.

The penultimate bout of the preliminary pools saw Kester face the mop-haired Yerzon Hernandez of Columbia. By now, his opponent was taking note of his lower limb vulnerabilities.

An iron grip on his left leg 50 seconds into the bout and a lift-and-slam manoeuvre outside the ring ended the first round at 6-0 in favour of Hernandez. The second ended at 7-0 in similar fashion after just 27 seconds.

In the seven and eighth placing match, Kester’s inexperience clearly showed as he succumbed to comprehensive 0-7 and 0-6 defeats to his Tunisian counterpart Maher Ghanmi.

“My first major tournament was the YOG qualifiers,” said the 16-year-old Montfort Secondary School student, who was clearly overawed by the occasion.

“I did a lot of mistakes (today), but I hope to work hard for future tournaments like the SEA Games.”

Youth Olympic wrestling

In the second bout, Kester, of Montfort Secondary, faced Kanan Guluyev of Azerbaijan. (Photo 2 © Les Tan/Red Sports)

Youth Olympic wrestling

Colombian Yerzon Herhandez was much shorter but that didn’t stop him from throwing Kester to the ground and eventually winning the bout. (Photo 3 © Les Tan/Red Sports)