#TuksWrestling: Kian du Toit wrestling is all about technique and strength

Posted on February 23, 2024

Kian du Toit might only be 18, but the biggest mistake older wrestlers could make at next month's African Senior Wrestling Championships in Egypt is to underestimate him. 

When the youngster steps onto the mats, only one thing matters. That is to get his opponent pinned down for the count. Age does not play a part in this. To Du Toit, wrestling is all about technique and strength. That is why he is confident about overpowering one of the "elder statesmen" at the Senior Championships. 

"I am sure the older wrestlers will be out to intimidate me in any way they can. But I am not going to allow their antics to faze me. I am there to wrestle."

Du Toit, who has enrolled to study BEng Mechanical Engineering at UP-Tuks, might be one of the youngest South African wrestlers to compete at a senior continental championship. The Tuks wrestler will have his work cut out during the five days in Alexandria (14-19 March) as he competes in the junior category (under-20) as well. His goal when he competes against his age group is to medal. According to him, it is a realistic goal. 

Du Toit has been wrestling from the age of three. He is unsure but thinks he could have been four, maybe five, the first time he competed in a tournament. 

"When I think back to it, it was funny. I was in the habit of roaring at my opponent before every fight. Luckily, there are no videos to prove that I have done so."

As to why he wrestles, Du Toit said to him it is about that one moment.

"I have been wrestling for nearly 15 years, but still, every time after a fight, it is special when my hand gets lifted to indicate that I have won. That is when I realise that hard work and sacrifices do pay off."

The Russian Aleksandr Karelin, who has won three gold medals at the Olympic Games (Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta), is a role model to Du Toit. Karelin holds the distinction of having 887 fights as a senior. He has only been twice in his career. 

Du Toit is not sure of his fight statistics. 

"I, however, can say that when competing locally, not many can beat me. My challenge now is to ensure I am good enough to compete internationally."

Kian is not the only Du Toit wrestling at the African Championships. His older brother, Niel, is also competing. As expected, the two brothers often challenge each other in the garden, the swimming pool and even the Tuks Wrestling Club.

Who wins?

"It depends. I will win if I am quick enough and can catch my brother off guard. A longer brawl tends to favour my brother as he is taller and stronger. He tends to overpower me by brute force."

For the record, Kian is 1.72 metres tall and fights in the under-63kg category. Niel is 1.85 metres tall and fights in the under-72kg category.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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