JUST two years after being forced to quit rugby league, Tranent’s Mike Wallace is targeting a place in the 2014 Commonwealth Games – as a wrestler.
The 6ft 2in former Scotland internationalist, who opted out of rugby after ripping a knee ligament, is now back in full training as he attempts to make strides in his new sport.
Wallace, a community sports development officer at [EN]GAGE, part of Edinburgh Napier University, has trimmed his weight back to 114 kilos (18st) to compete in the heavyweight division.
He has also changed his diet considerably as part of a rigorous strength and conditioning programme which includes weekly trips to Glasgow for training.
The 28-year-old admits he feels great and is enjoying having a new sporting goal to aim for after being forced into retirement after playing for Edinburgh Eagles Rugby League side.
He also revealed that it was a chance remark in a meeting with Michael Cavanagh, chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, and the former team manager for the British Wrestling Association, which sparked the interest.
Wallace said: “My role at Edinburgh Napier is to increase the usage of [EN]GAGE by various sports and Michael came in to see me.
“We discussed setting up a wrestling club at Napier and he asked me if I had ever thought about trying the sport as they were looking for people in the heavyweight category. I thought about it for a week and jumped in. I gave up playing rugby league two years ago when I tore my posterior cruciate ligament. I’ve done a lot of work to strengthen it since then and it is okay as I know where my opponent is in wrestling.
“I’m working hard in the gym and going to the Palace of Arts [Centre of Excellence, Glasgow] to train every Wednesday as well as training at the [EN]GAGE club twice a week.
“I’m thoroughly enjoying being involved. My aim is to make the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“Two other guys have intimated that they are interested in becoming heavyweights so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
He added: “I had to lose fat so I cut out carbohydrates like bread – which was tough as we have a lot of business meetings with sandwiches and pasta, and my diet now includes a lot of chicken and steak but I feel fantastic.”