Friday, April 13, 2018
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
GOLD Coast, Australia — Rashji Mackey said having sat and watched Sean Wrinkle compete on the first day of competition in wrestling at the Carrara Sports Arena 1, he’s looking forward to stepping on the mat and performing on the final day of competition in the XXI Commonwealth Games on Saturday.
Here for his second appearance at the four-yearly games, Mackey will be fighting the men’s freestyle 86 kilogram class where he will take on Kevin Wallen from Jamaica in the quarter-finals. A win and he will advance to the semi-finals. The final is set for later in the day.
“I feel wonderful. I’m excited. I couldn’t wait for this opportunity to come by again,” he said. “I just feel really excited. I can’t wait to fight.”
After watching the first day of competition, Mackey said he’s not concerned at all about his draw.
“I go based on endurance and technique,” he stressed. “I’m not worried about anybody. Muscle is good, but I prefer speed and technique and I think that is what will pull me through.”
In his first appearance at the games in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014, Mackey admitted that he wasn’t as prepared as he should have been four years ago. But he has assured the Bahamian public that he’s ready to go out and put on a show here in the Gold Coast.
“I’ve been doing a lot of cardio, weightlifting and basically training hard because I know that the competition is going to be stiff,” he said. “I think I have done sufficient work to get me ready to compete here, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Coach Clarence Rolle, who is also the president of the Bahamas Wrestling Federation, said he’s expecting some great things from Mackey.
“He’s our veteran. He’s the guy that we look up to,” Rolle said. “He’s been through this before and the minor technical mistakes that Sean (Wrinkle) made competing in his first international competition, I don’t expect that from Rashji. He’s been here before and so he’s ready and I expect that he would have surpassed that level.”
Against Wallen, Rolle said he has a lot of confidence that Mackey will succeed.
“You will see him use the methods he’s learned over the years and his incredible strength that we have been working on,” he said.
“He’s very technically sound, so I’m expecting a win and then we will move onto the next round.”
Mackey, 24, has been around for a while, having competed at the Pan American Championships twice in 2008 and again in 2016. He’s hoping that his performance here on Saturday will get him ready to compete in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia in July.