Police Association Police Sportsperson of the Year

NZPA | Thu September 15th, 2011


NZ’s First Female Commonwealth Games  Wrestler seizes NZ Police Association Police Sportsperson of the Year

Sian Law was about 10 years old when she went with her brother to the local wrestling gym and had a few “rough and tumble” games while her brother trained – little did she know she would be the first female wrestler from New Zealand to compete in the Commonwealth Games. This determination and commitment to securing a place in World Champs in Russia and later at the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in 2010, has seen her seize the NZ Police Association Sportsperson of the Year for 2010.

Police Association President, Greg O’Connor, who presented the award in a ceremony at the Royal New Zealand Police College, said Law ought to be extremely proud of her successes in the sporting arena, “Our award recognises the outstanding achievements of this police sportsperson. Her dedication, mental toughness and determination shown in pursuing her sporting goals are qualities that are highly-valued in members of Police.”

Mr O’Connor said, “Sian Law is an accomplished athlete, who worked hard to be the first New Zealand female ever, to be selected to compete in the World Champs and Commonwealth Games.”

Law says she is “absolutely flattered” to win the coveted Police Association sports award.

“They used to ask you at school to write your goals down and the Commonwealth Games and World Champs were two of the main goals that I listed”. That Law has been able to mark those two off, says a lot about the diminutive wrestler’s work ethic and all-round ability.

New Zealand has a small number of female wrestlers, while overseas significant numbers of women wrestle. The sport is particularly strong in Canada, India and the U.S. where there are hundreds of women competing in each weight class. Law says in Wellington she trains mostly with the men, who tend to be at least 10kg heavier, making it very challenging.

While wrestling is a small on the New Zealand sporting scale, it is huge on the world scale. Law’s Commonwealth Team Coach, Mark Grayling put things in perspective before the games last year, commenting that there are around eight million rugby players, compared to some eighty million wrestlers in the world.

Law competed in Delhi in the 51kg weight class, dropping from her usual 56kgs, by adhering to a very strict diet. If she wasn’t under at the official weigh-in the night before her competition it was all-over. “I’m quite small for a 55kg wrestler and so there wasn’t any real option but to go down in weight for Delhi”

Law says the Olympics is still one of her goals and if she doesn’t make it as a competitor she wants to make it as a coach. “My next goal is to become the national female coach.” Law has set up a coaching programme for kids at the Tawa-Linden Wrestling Gym. She says, “Many of them come from broken families so it’s been great to be able to put something back into the sport and also for them.”

NZ Police Sportsperson of Year award background: From 2002, the NZ Police Association have sponsored the Police Sportsperson of the Year Award, acknowledging the outstanding national sporting excellence achieved by members of Police. For over 35 years, this award has recognised members of Police who have excelled at their sport at a national level and is organised by the Police Council of Sport.

Previous nominees and recipients include: Jeff McGrath - Iron man/Triathlete, Granine Scott, MVP NZ Lacrosse Team & Captain Canterbury Women’s Ice Hockey Team, Michelle Nunn, Captain of the NZ Women’s Wheel Chair Basketball Team - the Wheel Ferns; Cowboy Action Shooting World Champion Tracey Ball; NZ Black Cap cricketer Shane Bond, Atlantic Rowers Steve Westlake and Matt Goodman, Silver Fern Jenny-May Coffin, All Blacks Murray Pierce, John Gallagher and Blair Larsen, Kiwi rugby league star Sam Stewart, All White Roger Gray, hockey internationals Shane Collins, Scott Anderson and Karen Smith, cricketer Sarah Illingworth, lawn bowler Phil Skoglund, triathlete Steve Farrell, athlete Andrew Collins and martial artist Karen Vaughan.

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