The Illinois Regional Training Center, hosted by the University of Illinois and led by head coach Bryan Medlin, announced on Friday that four-time US National Champion Kamal Bey (77 kg) has become the latest addition to an already-packed roster.
Bey, 23, is joining a stable of elite Senior Greco-Roman athletes at the IRTC, most of whom with strong Illinois ties. The first signing for Medlin came in ’18 when Travis Rice (63 kg, 5PM #8) officially hopped on-board following the U23 World Team Trials (which saw Rice triumph in two thrilling matches at the expense of Xavier Johnson). A year later, two-time World Team member Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #1) and ’12 Olympian Ellis Coleman followed; shortly thereafter, West Cathcart (130 kg, 5PM #5) returned to competition and was brought to the IRTC, where he, Tanner Farmer (5PM #3), and ’21 Junior World Teamer Luke Luffman now comprise the best heavyweight triumvirate in the country.
Bey could soon find himself in a situation that may prove even more beneficial to his own competitive career. Sometime in early ’22, the ’17 Junior World gold is also expected to report to the Army’s World Class Athletes Program. Similar to Nowry and Coleman, Bey would do most of his training on-site at For Carson (Colorado) while also enjoying unfettered access to the tutelage provided by Medlin and the IRTC when such opportunities to travel arise.
Per the release distributed by Medlin on Friday, Bey said, “It feels great to be a part of the IRTC. As an Illinois native, I feel right at home with teammates and coaches I can trust. Time to get to work.” Medlin — who alongside Mike Powell has impacted scores of Illinois wrestlers — commented on the signing, as well. “Growing up in the Illinois system, Kamal has had a lot of success,” began Medlin. “This is going to be a great partnership as we have an opportunity to give him the resources he needs to chase that Olympic gold and he is going to be a great influence on the next generation of Illinois athletes. With his partnership with the Army WCAP Program and the IRTC, I truly feel the last couple of pieces to the puzzle just fell into place.”
It has been nearly two years since Bey last competed, with a seventh-place showing at the ’20 Matteo Pellicone representing his most recent appearance. Just prior to that tournament, he had garnered his fourth National crown by defeating Jake Fisher (Curby 3-Style). Later in ’20, Bey was sanctioned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for what is known as a “whereabouts failure”, with the subsequent suspension resulting in Bey receiving a one-year period of ineligibility that began on June 7 of last year. As of press time, an exact return date for the “Human Highlight Reel” is unconfirmed — though with the US program having filled the winter schedule with trips overseas, that could occur sooner rather than later.
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