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HomeNewsHuman Affairs‘No matter where you are in life you can make progress’

‘No matter where you are in life you can make progress’

Mohsen Lack is a full-time duty manager at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in Redfern. He has been on staff at the NCIE for five years. A qualified lifeguard, Mr Lack also volunteers with Wrestling NSW and Wrestling Australia. He has a coaching role with the national team but is currently unable to travel overseas due to his refugee visa restrictions.

Freestyle wrestling is the national sport of Iran, attracting huge crowds and a passionate following. “I grew up with it,” Mr Lack says, “I love it. Wrestling is the root of all martial arts. It’s a tough sport. It taught me to be a disciplined person, physically and mentally.

“I started when I was 11 years old and just 28 kilograms. Three years later, I was 60 kilograms and able to dominate every person in the class. Wrestling is about skill and strength – and more than that, no matter where you are in life you can make progress, you can improve. Wrestling gave me this confidence.”

In short, opponents wrestle over two three-minute rounds, scoring points for “take downs”, “rolls” and “flips” (no hitting, kicking, choking or gauging is allowed). The aim of the contest is to pin an opponent’s shoulders to the mat. One second secures a win.

Granted refugee status in Australia (having endured several years of detention on Manus Island), Mr Lack continues to serve as a volunteer trainer and coach of men’s, women’s and junior squads – at the Cortex MMA facility in Alexandria, with Wrestling NSW and Wrestling Australia – up to three times a week.

“I was interviewed for the position of head coach”, Mr Lack says, “but unable to take on that role. I’ve volunteered at two week-long camps in 2022 – with the AIS [Australian Institute of Sport] in Canberra – in April and May. Wrestling Australia wants the camps to be held every month.”

A Temporary Protection Visa does not permit overseas travel, so Mr Lack missed the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. He would dearly love to accompany the Australian team to Serbia for the World Championships this month (September 10-18).

Jasmine Ryan, chief executive of the NCIE, says: “Mohsen is one of the most dedicated, hardworking and innovative people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. He is also compassionate and kind and has never missed the opportunity to help others at work and within the Redfern community. He is the type of person you can count on to keep a cool head in a stressful situation, and his positive outlook on life shines from within.”

Andrew Kanatli, president of Wrestling Australia, says: “Mohsen has demonstrated a coaching skillset and professionalism that is desperately needed for our sport. Although we are very lucky to have him based here in Sydney, his current visa status denies him the opportunity to assist our teams at their most critical moments. We hope he can soon be eligible to also apply for coaching positions that involve travel with our athletes to important international tournaments.”

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