Training camp starts tomorrow for the United States Greco-Roman delegation in Croatia. Over the weekend, seven American athletes competed in the Grand Prix Zagreb Open (in Zagreb, approximately 160 miles from Porec). 2021 National champ Randon Miranda (60 kg, Rise RTC, 5PM #4) and ’18 Cadet World Team member Robert Perez III (67 kg, Sunkist) both finished fifth after dropping their respective bronze-medal bouts. The US contingent will remain in Porec until February 13. On that day, they will travel to Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria in advance of the annual Nikola Petrov tournament (February 17-20).
As reported previously, Zagreb provided four US representatives with their Senior international debuts — Diego Romero (60 kg, NMU/NTS), Perez, Burke Paddock (77 kg, NYAC), and Tanner Farmer (130 kg, NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #3). Like Miranda and Perez, Farmer was pulled back into the tournament via repechage following his opening round loss to Fatih Bozkurt (TUR), who was eventually downed in the final by countryman Osman Yilidirim.
- Turkey won the team title with 180 points over Ukraine (129). From third to fifth it was Norway (77), Romania (70), and Sweden (69). Team USA wound up ninth with 26 points, just ahead of Moldova (25).
- Miranda was the lone American to record a victory in Zagreb, though Perez did move on from the repechage round with Kadir Kamal (TUR) forfeiting.
- There were 160 entrants in the tournament from 24 countries.
- The most populated weight category was 72 kilograms (27 entrants); the least was 55 (three).
Hancock & Schultz
Prior to the tournament, ’21 World bronze G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, world #5, 5PM #1) and ’21 World Team member Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist, 5PM #1) were interviewed on camera by a reporter for the Zagreb Wrestling Association. Of the city, Schultz said, “I like it. It’s a great place. The people have all been really nice. We got to train here all week. It was good. I’m excited about the tournament. It’s going to be good.”
Hancock’s dialogue invited much more context than Schultz’s. When asked about Zagreb, Hancock — who was briefly detained at the airport upon arrival in Croatia — said, “I love it. It’s amazing. Every time I’ve been here I get the utmost respect — except for this one time, but it has still been amazing.” Hancock then went on, in affable fashion, to share details surrounding the situation that played a large role in his being scratched from the tournament.
“I came to Croatia with the wrong passport. My old, outdated passport,” began Hancock. “And of course, when I got to customs, the Croatian Border Control did not let me through. They immediately put me in a cell. I was in a cell for 20 hours until I finally got to the US Embassy and got a new passport.” On Sunday, Hancock helped provide color commentary for the final round, a task he had undertaken prior for Thor Masters.
Both videos featuring the pair of American athletes can be viewed below.
Hancock Official for ‘Bout at the Ballpark’
Despite word having already widely circulated throughout this winter, Hancock’s participation in the upcoming Bout at the Ballpark folkstyle/freestyle showcase was officially announced on Monday. His opposition will be none other than ’21 World Champion/’20 Olympic bronze Mohammadhadi Saravi (IRI, world #1). Hancock/Saravi will be the only Greco-Roman match on the card. The event takes place February 12 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX. Tickets are available for purchase (ranging from $15 to $250) and the event will be streamed live on FLOWrestling.
SWE Nationals Set for May
Last month it was reported that the Swedish National Championships were locked in for January 28-30 (i.e., this past weekend). But the tournament was postponed, which left the Scandinavian country without a competition in January. That was fixed when Sweden decided to send a delegation to Zagreb. Instead, their nationals will now unfold May 21-22.
Before they hold their domestic championship tournament, Sweden will be busy. For starters, they do have athletes training this week in Porec; after that, just like the US, Swedes will be competing in BUL; and when that is finished, Sweden is hosting a camp in Malmo, a gathering that may also involve wrestle-offs for the European Championships.
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