A JOURNEY almost two decades long came to an end this week as Tullibody Wrestling Club announced it would be closing.

The announcement was made on the club’s Facebook page on Sunday, September 11 and brings to an end a 17-year story.

Disappointingly it was just this year, back in March, when head coach Colin Mclaren excitedly told the Advertiser how much he was looking forward to the club finally returning after a two year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

However, with an apparent lack of interest from the community, the decision has been made to close the doors for good.

Colin said: “We just weren’t getting people turning up. One night there’d be nobody at all and then other nights maybe two or three people.

“It started off well [back in March] but I think Covid’s had a big part to play.”

For Colin, who has been involved in wrestling since he was an eight-year-old boy, he says he’ll be looking for another interest.

“That’s 45 years I’ve been involved in wrestling,” he said. “I’ll wait and see what the future holds.”

Holding back tears as he reflected on the highlights of his time with the club, Colin and his athletes’ achievements are more than impressive.

He said: “Winning seven British titles at the British Championships, having three wrestlers compete for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.

“Two of our wrestlers won medals at the Australian Youth Olympics Festival.

“There’s been so many moments.”

Colin also coached at the Commonwealth Games and has nothing but fond memories of his time in the sport.

“Thanks for everything," he added. "All the effort, the commitment that you have all put in and the support from everyone in Tullibody.”

The club has ensured its legacy with athletes Shannon Hawke, Brian Harper and Chelsea Murphy all representing the club at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Posting on Facebook, Colin added: “Thank you to Clackmannanshire Council for the help in getting the club up and running and to the board of Tullibody Community Development Trust who saved the Civic Centre, our home for 17 years, from closure.

“Most of all we would like to thank every wrestler and coach for your commitment and determination which propelled the club to the top with many of our wrestlers competing all over the world.

“Lastly, a special thank you to Ronnie Mitchell who brought wrestling to Tullibody over 45 years ago.”