Julfalakyan Elected Athletes’ Commission Chairman

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY (October 19) -- United World Wrestling has announced that Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM) was elected Chairman of the Athletes’ Commission.

Julfalakayan was selected as the Commission’s Chairman by the six other Athletes’ Commission members -- Tamas LORINCZ, (HUN), Yui SUSAKI (JPN), Hassan YAZDANICHARATI (IRI), Maxwell LACEY GARITA, (CRC), Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) and Jessica LAVERS-MCBAIN (AUS) – who were voted into office by their fellow athletes through voting that took place at the ‘21 Senior World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway.

“I wanted to express my gratitude to my peers in the Athletes' Commission for their trust and support during the elections. It’s a great honor for me to become the Chairman of the Commission,” said the London Olympic silver medalist.

Julfalakayan has served as an active member of the Athletes' Commission since ’17 but will now be a voting member of the United World Wrestling Bureau. He replaces ‘12 London Olympic champion and five-time world gold medalist Jordan BURROUGHS (USA), who has served in the role since September 2017.

In addition to sitting on the Bureau as the Athletes’ representative, Julfalakayan will also represent wrestlers/wrestling in the IOC Athletes Forum, WADA and in other organizations.

“I’ll make sure to use all my knowledge, experience and energy to bring the Commission to even a higher level. Of course, that will be possible only with tightest cooperation with all the members of Commission and UWW,”

Julfalakayan’s first responsibility as the Chairman of the Athletes’ Commission will come later this month in Belgrade, Serbia, at the UWW Bureau and Congress meeting.

The Athletes' Commission was established in 2013 with the role of protecting the rights and interests of all United World Wrestling Olympic style athletes. The Athletes' Commission members reach out and communicate with active athletes as peers to collect feedback.

United World Wrestling is the international governing body of wrestling and is headquartered in Corsier--Sur-¬Vevey, Switzerland. To learn more about United World Wrestling and the activities of its 179 national federations, please visit: www.uww.org, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

#WrestleAcapulco, #WrestleParis

Gomez, Cruz deny USA Paris 2024 spots at Pan-Am Qualifiers

By Gaurav Bhatt

ACAPULCO, Mexico (March 1) — The Pan American Olympic Games Qualifiers wrapped up in style in Acapulco, Mexico, with Puerto Rico and Cuba earning three quotas on offer each, while Mexico and Canada securing two berths apiece.

The day was marked by stunning performances and a few upsets, particularly in the 57kg and 65kg classes where the U.S. wrestlers were eyeing qualification. 
While the two American wrestlers failed in their quest on Friday, two NCAA champions successfully secured quotas for their nations. 

Two-time NCAA champion Roman BRAVO YOUNG (MEX) showcased his NCAA-honed skills with a commanding 14-4 victory over Oscar TIGREROS (COL) in the 57kg semifinal. The 25-year-old — who chose to represent his grandparents' native country Mexico last summer — got the better of Tigreros, an Olympian and five-time Pan-Am medallist Tigreros.

In the second semifinal, 2017 NCAA champion Darian CRUZ (PUR) edged out Zane RICHARDS (USA) in a 2-2 criteria win. The first period between Richards and Cruz ended in a tense 1-1 tie. 

Richards edged ahead early in the second with a shot clock point, before Cruz retaliated. The Puerto Rican team challenged a scoring decision, and Cruz was awarded a point for pushing Richards out, deadlocking the score at 2-2 with just seconds left. Richards fiercely attacked, but couldn't land a takedown, ultimately losing to Cruz for the first time at senior level.

NCAA All-American Austin GOMEZ (MEX) defeated Nick LEE (USA) in the quarterfinal, as the weight class continues to be a thorn in the side of the U.S. at the senior level.

Lee, who won the Pan-Am gold last week, took control and rushed to a 10-4 lead before the first break. However, after a long injury timeout for Gomez in the second period, the tide dramatically turned as Gomez's scoring spree saw him rack up 18 points and ultimately winning by technical fall (22-12).

In the semifinal, Gomez beat fellow All-American Lachlan MCNIEL (CAN) 6-3. 

Alejandro VALDES (CUB), a two-time world medalist and two-time Olympian, lived up to expectations by dominating Shannon HANNA (BAH) with an 11-0 technical superiority win in the second 65kg semifinal.

Geandry GARZON (CUB), aiming for his second Olympic appearance at the age of 40, clinched a berth for Cuba by defeating Julio RODRIGUEZ (DOM) 6-2 in the 74kg division. Garzon — who won the last of his four Worlds medals in 2010 — set a deliberate pace against the 26-year-old finalist from last week's Pan-Am championships.

However, once put on the shot clock, Garzon attacked Rodriguez's right leg and scored a two-point move. Two more two-pointers followed deep in the second period, securing the win for the Cuban.

In the second semifinal, two-time Pan-Am champion Anthony MONTERO (VEN) made a statement with an 11-0 thrashing of Raul PALACIOS (MEX).

In the 97kg division, Arturo SILOT (CUB) showed he's second only to Kyle SNYDER (USA) at the Pan-Am level as the 22-year-old rag-dolled his opponents on his way to securing Cuba a berth at Paris Games. Silot — who has lost three straight Pan-Am championships finals to Snyder — didn't give up a point as he ran through Maxwell LACEY (CRC) and Nishan Preet RANDHAWA (CAN).

In the second semifinal, Luis PEREZ (DOM) clinched a narrow 4-2 victory over Cristian SARCO (VEN) in a battle of last week's bronze medallists.

The 86kg category witnessed Ethan RAMOS (PUR) defeat two-time Olympian Carlos IZQUIERDO (COL) 11-6, while Alexander MOORE (CAN) pulled off an impressive 4-0 win against the top-seeded Pedro CEBALLOS (VEN), who finished runner-up at the Pan-Am championships last week.

Earlier, four-time Pan-Am champion Yurieski Torreblanca TORREBLANCA (CUB) lost a fall to Anthony VALENCIA (MEX) in the qualification rounds.

Former Pan-Am champion Amarveer DHESI (CAN) took little over two minutes to thwart Ibrain TORRES (CUB) 11-0 to earn Canada a spot. Jonovan SMITH (PUR), who grabbed a silver at the Pan-Ams last week, won the other semifinal against Gino AVILA (HON) 5-1.