JESS Lavers-McBain is on track to become the first Australian-born female wrestler to make the Olympics as she pursues qualification for Paris 2024.
The Beaudesert local has an extensive martial arts background dating back to 1999, is a global leader in the sport and is the most decorated combat sports athlete in Australia.
She is limbering up for the African and Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Egypt in late March, with competition and training trips to Guam and Japan in the lead-up.
Jess brings fresh edge
BEAUDESERT wrestler Jess Lavers-McBain is in a better position than ever before to qualify for the Olympic Games.
She is pursuing a path to Paris 2024 as Australia’s 53kg female contender alongside her training partner Nachi Masuda, who is Australia’s contender for the 62kg weight class.
Lavers-McBain, who turns 43 this year, has been wrestling for 10 years, competing in martial arts for 20 years and training since she started at Black Dragon Kai in 1999.
She is head instructor and manager at Black Dragon Kai Jimboomba, working with husband Geordie who founded the business in Beaudesert 30 years ago and has 14 centres across Queensland and New South Wales.
Lavers-McBain has competed in more than 200 bouts herself and holds the World Muay Thai Title and the World Combat Wrestling Title among 87 titles across nine combat sports.
She is also a world leader in developing the sport of wrestling, serving as a member of the United World Wrestling Athletes Commission.
Masuda and Lavers-McBain have trained together since they met when Masuda was visiting from Japan in 2017 and lived with the Lavers-McBain family for about a year.
Masuda was ranked number two in Japan, the strongest female wrestling nation on earth, was in the world’s top 10 wrestlers as a junior and started wrestling at four years of age.
Masuda now works with Lavers-McBain as senior instructor and wrestling coach at Black Dragon Kai Jimboomba as she continues to pursue her own Olympic dream.
Having Masuda as her training partner has given Lavers-McBain a fresh edge.
Lavers-McBain qualified for selection to the Olympic Games trials (Africa-Oceania selection event) in Algeria in 2016 but missed out on a spot at the Rio Olympics.
“That was before I had Nachi as a training partner, and I had to travel down south a lot to train. This is the first time I’ve had a consistent training partner and coach, so I’ve got an edge didn’t have last time,” she said.
Lavers-McBain said a supportive lifestyle was key to her success.
“I’ve been doing it for so long, while I’m home I drop our daughter off at school, I go to the gym and do my weights session, I’ll go to work and teach a few classes then I’ll train myself or train with Nachi that night,” she said.
“I’m so lucky to work with Geordie who’s also my number one supporter who gives me the chances to do things. I’ve got that lifestyle that allows me to train in the morning, train at night, because this is going to be my last Olympic chance so we’re going to try to do it the best we possibly can.”