Before 2002 only three Australians had represented Sydney in wrestling at the Gay Games -” among them was John English.

That long-standing commitment to the sport has seen the Sydneysider inducted into the Wrestlers Without Borders (WWB) Don Jung Hall of Merit.

English, a member of the Harbour City Wrestling Club, said he was surprised and honoured by his inclusion in the Hall of Merit. It’s nice recognition now that I’ve just about got one foot in the grave, he told Sydney Star Observer.

I’ve only heard a little about it and this is a big surprise to me. I know I have wrestled some of the people who set up the Hall of Merit and I’ve wrestled a few who are already in it.

English wrestled while serving in the British army and competed in amateur tournaments while stationed in Belgium.

After migrating to Australia from Wales, English spent most of the ’80s and ’90s promoting his chosen sport. He shared his passion with the GLBT community, with oil wrestling displays fast becoming a key attraction at Mardi Gras Fair Day.

Long-time friend and Harbour City Wrestling Club president Barry Webb said English was a man with many unique characteristics, but above all things was a proud wrestler.

John was willing to teach all-comers how to wrestle, Webb said.

Eventually he became an assistant coach of the Harbour City Wrestling Club, taking over the training whenever the main coach was unavailable.

WWB is a non-profit organisation devoted to the promotion and development of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.

English said he would continue to act as the standby coach for the Harbour City Wrestling Club.
info: For more details on the Harbour City Wrestling Club visit or email [email protected]

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