The 2005 World Cup of Freestyle Wrestling is slated to be held March 12-13 at the Yunus Abad Sports Center in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This event is the annual world dual meet team championships in men’s freestyle wrestling. This year’s tournament is scheduled to include most of the top teams in the world: Cuba, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., and Uzbekistan. These were the teams which dominated men’s freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Olympics. At that event, Russia won three gold medals, with Cuba, Ukraine, the U.S., and Uzbekistan each winning one apiece. Despite the fact that this event will feature such a tremendous pool of wrestling talent, little information is available on this event. The hapless and mediaphobic international wrestling federation FILA has almost nothing about it on its newly-designed web site, which is in Franglish. The link to the event’s information page on its web site indicates that it might be televised in Uzbekistan, although no details are given. No other information about any other country is given either. As is their wont, they are content to keep wrestling a secret sport. The exception to this usual avoidance of the media by most in the world-wide wrestling community has been, also as usual, USA Wrestling. They have already issued a press release about this event, which has been posted on the USOC Press Box web page, as well as TheMat.com. Here it is: Olympians Abas, Williams and Cormier to lead U.S. Men’s Freestyle World Cup Team by John Fuller – USA WrestlingColorado Springs, Colo. – USA Wrestling has announced its 2005 U.S. Men’s Freestyle World Cup Team, which will compete at the 2005 World Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, March 12-13. The World Cup is a dual meet competition featuring squads from some of the top wrestling nations in the world. The U.S. will compete against teams from Cuba, Iran, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Leading the U.S. team will be 2004 Olympians Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif./Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Abas captured a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. He won World Cup gold medals in 2002 and 2003 and has won two U.S. Nationals titles. Williams placed fifth at the 2004 Olympic Games at 74 kg/163 lbs. He captured four straight World Cup gold medals between 2000 and 2003. In 2001, he captured a World bronze medal and has won five U.S. Nationals titles. Cormier placed fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games. He also placed fifth at the 2003 World Championships and has won two consecutive U.S. Nationals titles. The other four members of the U.S. team all placed second at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the respective weight classes: Mike Zadick (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) at 60 kg/132 lbs., Jared Lawrence (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Lee Fullhart (Blacksburg, Va./Gator WC) at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Zadick was also a runner-up at the 2003 U.S. World Team Trials and he placed second at the 2004 U.S. Nationals. Lawrence placed fourth in the 2004 U.S. Nationals. He recently won the 2005 Dave Schultz Memorial International. Fullhart was a 2004 U.S. Nationals champion. In 2002, he captured a bronze medal at the World Cup. He is also a two-time U.S. World Team Trials runner-up. Thompson has placed second at the U.S. Nationals three times. He also won gold medals at the 1998 and 2002 Pan American Championships. The team will be coached by Mike Duroe (Iowa City, Iowa) and Steve Knight (Parker, Colo.). Duroe will also serve as a coach of the 2005 U.S. Men’s Freestyle World Team. Four rounds of competition will take place on Saturday, March 12, and the final four rounds of competition along with team and individual medal ceremonies will take place on Sunday, March 13. Historically, the U.S. has been one of the strongest nations at the men’s freestyle World Cup. No country has won more team championships than the U.S., which has 15 first-place finishes. The U.S. wrestlers have also won a total of 252 medals, including 104 gold medals. The U.S. last competed in the men’s freestyle World Cup in 2003 held in Boise, Idaho, placing first as a team while winning seven medals, five of them gold.2005 U.S. Men’s Freestyle World Cup Team55 kg/121 lbs. – Stephen Abas, Fresno, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)60 kg/132 lbs. – Mike Zadick, Iowa City, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Jared Lawrence, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)74 kg/163 lbs. – Joe Williams, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)84 kg/185 lbs. – Lee Fullhart, Blacksburg, Va. (Gator WC)96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tolly Thompson, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)Coaches: Mike Duroe, Iowa City, Iowa and Steve Knight, Parker, Colo.
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