Tauranga athlete Ana Moceyawa has doubled her workload and training intensity in the hope of competing at next year's Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.

The 27-year-old black belt is a renowned performer on the national and international judo stage but that sport is not on the roster for Commonwealth Games.

So she has upped her focus on wrestling with making the Games her major goal.

"In 2015, I set my sights of competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and with judo not a Games sport, decided to concentrate on wrestling," Moceyawa said.


"I was in Christchurch then. I started going to classes and got my fitness up and my strength and am more agile when I am doing judo. I did wrestling at first to help my judo.

I needed more training partners as we lack females in general in the fighting sports.

"Us judo people found it weird to be in those wrestling togs. We have gi's, jackets, and we like to throw and things. A lot of people overseas cross train with wrestling and I was always interested in it since I was 12 years old."

She trained alongside Commonwealth Games wrestling bronze medallist Tayla Ford in Christchurch. Both athletes are now based in the Western Bay so the opportunities to train together have ramped up.

"I moved up north to go to the Tauranga Judo Club, which is really strong in females, and is only three hours from Auckland where all the comps are."

Moceyawa hooked up with New Zealand coach Mark Grayling in Tauranga and realised she could use her judo throws in wrestling.

"A lot of the wrestlers don't know that and being able to grab the legs which we can't do in judo was good for me as I am always quite short in my weight categories.

"Mark has greatly assisted my transition from judo to wrestling, while Tauranga Judo Club head coach Kevin Kavanagh has been hugely supportive."

Moceyawa has two major events to perform to her best at in the hope of winning one of just five wrestling places in the New Zealand team for next year's Games.

This weekend she competes at the New Zealand Olympic Wrestling Union championships in Te Awamutu before a trip to South Africa in December, which will decide whether she gets to wear the silver fern on the Gold Coast.

"I need to make my weight in the under 58kg division and finish in the top two to make the next step of qualification for the Commonwealth Games," she said about this weekend's contest.

"I had to change weight categories. I did judo in under-63kg but I have had to cut down to 58kg for wrestling. That has been another challenge for me."

South Africa in December is the key contest where she needs to finish in the top six to make the Commonwealth Games team.

"I am going to be the fittest I can be, the strongest I can be and it all depends on the day really."

But Moceyawa has not forgotten about her judo aspirations. Far from it.

In October she will contest the Judo New Zealand National championships in Lower Hutt.

"Judo was my life and I have travelled the world training and competing in the sport. I lived in Germany between 2007 and 2011 to further my ambitions in the sport. Becoming Oceania champion and multiple top three World Cup finishes are among my judo highlights."