Belarus to host Alexander Medved Freestyle Wrestling Grand Prix Championship
MINSK, 1 March (BelTA) – Teams from 16 countries will gather in Belarus for the 43rd International Alexander Medved Freestyle Wrestling Grand Prix Championship on 1-2 March, BelTA has learnt.
Freestyle wresting fans will see over 200 athletes from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, the U.S., Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and France.
At the press conference held on 28 February, three-time Olympic champion Alexander Medved expressed his deep gratitude to all who had accepted the invitation to partake in the tournament. “It is great that these competitions remain highly respected. They are always conducted at the highest level. Women’s events add certain color to the tournament. I believe the Belarusian freestyle wrestling has always been and will continue its development. Anatoly Beloglazov who joined us not long ago to make the coaching staff stronger has headed the Belarusian freestyle wrestling national team. My special thanks go to the Belarusian Wrestling Federation, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism and Minsk City Hall for great organization of the tournament. I believe that a special tournament “Medvezhonok” (bear cub) which is to be held for its 17th time will make a good school for young athletes. Belarus has a good wresting school and I believe it has bright future,” he said.
One of the two Belarus Teams will consist of the athletes who represented Belarus at the FILA Wrestling World Cup in Iran. The team will have to do without Ali Shabanov (74kg category) who suffered a knee injury in Tehran.
According to Anatoly Beloglazov, all the athletes are ready to compete for the title. “A number of great wrestlers will comprise the other team. I had an opportunity to see them in action at the Belarus Cup, but the competition there is a level lower. So I believe it will be useful for them to partake in this tournament. We did not free anyone from the participation in the tournament as the European championships are almost in a 20-day time. The role of such tournaments for the popularization of wrestling in Belarus does not need explanation. It will be the biggest event in freestyle wrestling.”
Coach of Belarus’ freestyle wrestling women’s national team Oleg Raikhlin said that his athletes will face quite a challenge. “This is a very serious tournament, the last leg ahead of the European championships. We will see here very strong teams from Azerbaijan, France, Russia, Ukraine. Competition will be high,” Oleg Raikhlin said.
Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Wrestling Federation Viktor Kreidich informed on the preparations for the Alexander Medved Freestyle Wrestling Grand Prix Championship. He expressed confidence that the competitions will be held on a very high level. “The main venue of the competitions, Minsk Sports Palace, is fully prepared to host the championship,” Viktor Kreidich told media.
According to spokesman for the Ministry of Sports and Tourism of Belarus Vladimir Nesterovich, the opening ceremony of the tournament will be preceded by a campaign to support wrestling as an Olympic discipline.
Participants of the press conference, among whom were Head of the U.S. sports delegation Paul Kieblesz and FILA referee Ajdar Jafarov, discussed the situation related to possible exclusion of wrestling from the Summer Olympic program.
The official start of the tournament will be given on 1 March at 17h00 (local time). Final bouts will be held at 18h00. Athletes will compete for the titles in the following categories: 55kg, 60kg, 66kg, 74kg (men), 48kg, 51kg, 55kg (women).
On 2 March the competitions will be held from 10h00 to 16h00. Prizes will be awarded in the 84kg, 96kg and 120kg categories (men) and 59kg, 63kg, 76kg and 72kg categories among women.
Tournaments for the prizes of Alexander Medved have been held in Minsk since 1970. The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) awarded the tournament with the Grand Prix category in 1994. A record for its participants (47 countries) was registered at the 30th International Alexander Medved Freestyle Wrestling Grand Prix Championship in 2000.
Alexander Medved won the Olympic champion title three times in 1964, 1968 and 1972. He also won world championships in 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1969-1971. FILA recognized Alexander Medved as the Greatest Wrester of the 20th Century in Freestyle.
The organizers of the 43rd International Alexander Medved Freestyle Wrestling Grand Prix Championship are the Ministry of Sports and tourism of Belarus, Minsk City Hall, the National Olympic Committee of Belarus, the President’s Sports Club, the Belarusian Wrestling Federation. Triple Company is the general partner of the competitions.
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