THE FIRST weekend of July encapsulated yet another successful weekend for Sharples Wrestling club.

Senior wrestlers George Ramm and Georgina Nelthorpe competed as part of a four-man Great Britain team at the Spanish Grand Prix.

While Nelthorpe brought home a bronze medal Ramm secured silver, narrowly missing out on gold in the last few moves of the match.

Also competing over the same weekend was one of Eddy Kavanagh’s younger team members, 10-year-old Phoebe Cocker, who wrestled at the 21st Berthe Benz Ladies open in Germany. Up against the best in Europe, she returned home with a silver medal.

Sharples Wrestling Club’s head coach, Kavanagh, recently appointed GB team manager, said: “This is nothing new for the club and it is typical of the club’s success over the last 10 years.”

Multiple domestic champions aside, Kavanagh’s athletes have had their fair share of European success over the years.

Ramm won silvers at the Kalkruda Open and the Macedonian Pearl, two consecutive silver medals at the Grendsland Tournament and a fifth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games.

The 23-year-old also completed a season in the Oberliga German League with a record of won 20 lost one and completed eight matches in the First Division Bundesliga, the continent’s highest and most prestigious wrestling league in Europe, ending with a 4-4 record.

Ramm, who improved on his last Commonwealth Games performance, has been tutored by Kavanagh since he was 10 and has never lost his passion for the sport, his home-town club Sharples and coach.

Sharples’ other successes include Nelthorpe, from Burnley, who was a gold medallist at the Austrian Flatz, a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, a European under-23 bronze medallist, a Spanish Grand Prix bronze medallist and was seventh at the European Games.

The Hollycroft Avenue club’s other up-and-coming talent also includes Malachy O’Rourke, aged 17, who has two gold and two silver medals from his last five international competitions; Kelsey Barnes, aged 18, a three-time gold medallist and one bronze medallist from her last four international outings; Ellis Crossley, aged 16, an international silver medallist; and Cocker, who has one gold and two silver from her last four international competitions.

The Sharples fighters’ incredible achievements are down to the hard work they and their coach put in at the club, enabling them to compete with some of the best athletes in Europe.

Kavanagh who was the England team manager at the Commonwealth Games, played an integral part in their success, taking a five-man squad and returning home with three medals and a respectable fifth place, helped by Sharples duo Nelthorpe and Ramm’s efforts, the former coming away with a bronze medal and Ramm narrowly missing out on a medal in arguably the toughest group of the Games.

The Commonwealth successes prompted the British Wrestling Association to award Kavanagh the position of GB wrestling performance manager.

Implementing the same winning formula that has served Sharples so well over the years, Kavanagh set up a core coaching team of himself and his fellow home nation coaches, as well as introducing coaches from traditionally-strong wrestling nations such as Iran and the Ukraine.

“The coaching team have excellent international wrestling pedigree and will bring a lot of international experience and knowledge to the team,” he said.

“While wrestling is seen as an individual sport you are still part of the team and everybody has a part to play, from the coaches right through to the athletes.”

The Sharples coach has also formed a partnership with the University of Bolton, benefiting from the sports science, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and sports massage deaprtments with their students gaining invaluable work experience.

Wrestling classes are held four nights each week at Sharples and Castle Hill wrestling clubs, both of which are based at New House Farm.

Among all his commitments Kavanagh still finds the time to deliver wrestling sessions to young people for various community projects, and for schools in Bolton and its surrounding areas. This has helped promote health and wellbeing to people who attended in the targeted areas. Kavanagh believes it’s important he finds the time to get out to local schools and community centres to promote and educate people of ages about the sport of wrestling. He said: “Wrestling is an extremely hard sport, arguably the toughest. Wrestling gives you so much more and will shape who you or your children will become as a result of participating in such a fantastic and tough sport.”

Recently Kavanagh’s community work, delivering training sessions to youngsters in a range of projects to promote health and wellbeing, was recognised by Bolton Council, who have plans to add his name to the Spirit of Sport statue at Middlebrook.