New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins’ strong pedigree shines through

Cole Hawkins in action at the New Zealand National Championships earlier this year.

New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins – a former pupil of Fairfield Primary School in Levin – is chasing a Commonwealth Games medal.

The 24-year-old, who attended school until the family moved to nearby Manawatū when he was 12, has his first Commonwealth Games fight on Saturday night (New Zealand time) .

Hawkins has a solid pedigree. Her father Graeme represented New Zealand at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in wrestling, while her mother Colleen Sheldon represented New Zealand at the World Taekwondo Championships.

Although Cole always struggled a bit growing up, he only started taking the sport seriously two years ago after representing New Zealand in canoe polo.

New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins.
New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins.

It didn’t take long for Hawkins to make a name for himself. At the New Zealand National Wrestling Championships this year, he was undefeated in his division, without a point going to him.

He had since moved to Los Angeles – where wrestling is hugely popular – believing it was the best preparation for a medal attempt, training twice a day.

He briefly returned home to New Zealand to seek treatment for an injury, but when he was named to the Commonwealth Games squad in June, he returned straight to Los Angeles.

New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins spent time training in Los Angeles ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins spent time training in Los Angeles ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Hawkins will be sure to be supportive for the Games with her mother Colleen and husband Robert Ervine already there, after packing their New Zealand flags and flying away at the end of last week.

Graeme Hawkins, who also competed at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, will be in the thick of the action in Birmingham as an assistant coach.

Interestingly, his mum came across a photo from a trip to Northern Ireland in 2010 when Cole played rugby for an Ulster club and befriended a young player called Michael Lowry.

New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins and Irish fullback Michael Lowry pictured after a rugby tournament as boys.
New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins and Irish fullback Michael Lowry pictured after a rugby tournament as boys.

Who would have guessed the two boys pictured would achieve what they have as young men – Lowry was part of the touring Irish rugby team which made history last month by being the first Irish team to winning a Test series against the All Blacks.

Hawkins, who played his junior rugby for Levin’s Athletic club, returned to Northern Ireland in 2019 where he spent a year playing canoe polo for a German club and then for Ulster in the tournament. European Cup.

Cole Hawkins and his mother Colleen pictured in Catania during a canoe polo tournament in 2019.
Cole Hawkins and his mother Colleen pictured in Catania during a canoe polo tournament in 2019.

He was also one of 70 players worldwide that year chosen to play in a Super League.

Hawkins will compete in the under 74kg division this weekend. The wrestling rounds begin at 9:30 p.m. on August 6 (New Zealand time) with the semi-finals on the same evening, while the medal bouts will take place between 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on August 7 (New Zealand time).

As an amateur wrestler, his day job in New Zealand was working in a sports shop in Palmerston North.

New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins.  GETTY PICTURES
New Zealand wrestler Cole Hawkins. GETTY PICTURES

Robert J. King