BROTHERS from Bangor are making their mark on the international wrestling stage. St Columbanus College pupils Joel and Jamesy Morrison – aged 14 and 15 – were both selected as part of the 12-strong panel that represented Northern Ireland at the 2022 International Helsinki Open Wrestling tournament last month. The 16th edition of the event was the biggest to date, with almost 700 wrestlers from 21 countries and 114 teams taking to the mat between December 10 and 11.

For Joel, who has been a member of Barbarians Wrestling Club in Carrickfergus for many years and entered events across the UK since the age of six, the experience in Helsinki was his second taste of competing internationally with the NI team. Sibling Jamesy in contrast, also among the ranks at the same club, only began competing in the sport last year, with the Helsinki Open his maiden overseas event. Both boys were chosen based on dedication, results and performance to fly the flag for their country from the four registered wrestling clubs in Northern Ireland of Barbarians, Erne (Enniskillen), Ryano’s Coleraine and Chum Sut Mixed Martial Arts Academy, Lisburn. In what will prove to be an invaluable experience for the local lads, they battled and held their own, eager to get back home and put what they have learnt into practice.