3 countries willing to help NMI wrestling

Two fighters in action during the wrestling competition in the 2014 Micronesian Games in Pohnpei. (The Kaselehlie Press)

Two fighters in action during the wrestling competition in the 2014 Micronesian Games in Pohnpei. (The Kaselehlie Press)

Three countries are keen on helping Northern Marianas Wrestling in its bid to revive interest in the Olympic sport by aggressively developing a grassroots program.

NMW’s counterparts in Palau, the Philippines, and South Korea said they are willing to lend technical assistance and provide equipment for the fledgling sports association in the Commonwealth.

Jason Tarkong, the newly elected NMW president, said his brother John in Palau is the first to come to their aid as the latter is also the head of the Oceania Council of Associated Wrestling Styles, the governing body of the sport in the region.

OCAWS is a member of the United World Wrestling, formerly known as the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles or FILA (Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées). Serbian businessman Nenad Lalovic is UWW’s current president after being elected to a full six-year term during the World Congress in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

“My brother said they could provide us wrestling mats for free. They can ship it here but we have to find a permanent place where the athletes can train. As of now we’re also using the Trench Tech gym,” said Jason.

Palau is considered to be one of the powerhouse teams in Micronesia. It produced Olympian Elgin Elwais, who represented Palau in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Palau wrestlers have been consistent medal winners in the Micro Games. This year when the quadrennial meet was held in Pohnpei, Palau collected six gold medals with Christian Nicolescu, Jarvis Tarkong, and Florian Skilang Temengil topping their respective divisions in the Greco-Roman and freestyle events.

Besides Palau, the Wrestling Association of the Philippines and the Korean Wrestling Federation have also expressed their willingness to assist NMW.

WAP Secretary General Karlo Sevilla said they could provide technical assistance and help NMW with wrestling clinics.

“Either we go there on Saipan or they come here in the Philippines. We’re willing to help them get started again,” said Sevilla.

Filipino wrestlers are no pushovers in the Southeast Asian Games and have collected four gold, 10 silvers and 11 bronze medals in the last four editions of the regional meet.

Meanwhile, Trench Tech founder Cuki Alvarez, who used to compete in wrestling before shifting to mixed martial arts, added they have friends in South Korea who also want to help.

South Korea, in the recently concluded Asian Games it hosted in Incheon, finished third behind Iran and Japan in the overall medal tally in wrestling. South Korea collected three gold medals, three silvers, and six bronzes. (Jon Perez)

Jon Perez Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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