When Bea Meiring took up wrestling at the end of last year, the idea was to have fun, but things played out differently.
This weekend, she will compete at the Singapore Beach Wrestling World Series. The Tuks wrestler has also been named as part of Team South Africa for the 2023 African Beach Games in Tunisia.
According to Meiring, due to a lack of experience, she will definitely be an underdog when she enters the ''sandy ring" for her first bout. She only took up wrestling at the end of last year. Still, the Tuks wrestler believes she could have an "ace" up her sleeve. It has to do with the fact that she has a black belt in judo.
"Judo is our family sport. I was quite young when I stepped up to 'fight' for the first time. Judo has taught me tactical savvy. During a bout, you continuously think and analyze. It all boils down to setting up the perfect moment to catch an opponent off guard.
"In judo, it is about getting your opponent off balance and then going for the throw. Sometimes it takes only a simple foot sweep or trip, hoisting the attacker on your hip, and behold, your opponent is taken down."
There is a real chance that Meiring could face off against one of the world's top female beach wrestlers. Manon Kury (France), top-ranked in the under-70kg category, and Adina Irimia (Roumania), second-ranked, will be in action.
The rules of beach wrestling are pretty simple. The first wrestler to score three points wins. The matches occur on the beach in a seven-meter-diameter circle, and one point is awarded for a takedown or a pushout. Two points are awarded if there is a foot-to-back takedown.
The American Ronda Rousey is a classic example of a judoka who became a professional wrestling legend. During the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she won a bronze medal in judo. Rousey was the first American female judoka to medal at the Games. She also won silver at the World Championships. Rousey then switched to professional wrestling, winning the Women's Triple Crown. She is also a WWE Women's Tag Team Champion.
For the moment, Meiring is not thinking about major international glory.
"This I can promise. I will give it my all to be at my best in Singapore, but whatever happens, happens. What matters is that I enjoy myself. I want to be smiling all the time. After all, it will be my first time competing internationally as a wrestler. I am lucky to have two chances to qualify for the World Beach Games. At the end of the month, I am competing at the African Beach Games in Tunisia."