Xtream Arena set for Wrestling World Cup
CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) - For the first time in history the Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup events will take place side-by-side. The action is all happening in Coralville. The event kicked off Friday night with opening ceremonies.
World class wrestlers from 19 different countries were introduced ahead of Saturday’s dual competition.
“It’s just so exciting to welcome the world, particularly to put the men and women on an equal stage. It’s something we’re really, really proud of in truly the wrestling capitol of the country,” Josh Schamberger the President at Iowa City/Coralville Area CVB said.
Schamberger continues to be one of many committed to growing girls and women’s wrestling. This year’s event will mark the first time a U.S. city has hosted the women’s freestyle World Cup.
“I’ve been very involve in helping the girls state wrestling sanctioned here in Iowa. We’ve hosted that last two unofficial state tournaments. We’ll be hosting the future tournaments,” Schamberger said. “Hopefully one of these Iowa girls can look down in the stands and go that’s going to be me in eight years,” he added.
Reigning world champions and world silver medalists help fill a field of wrestlers that are sure to provide a thrilling weekend on the mat.
“There’s a lot of mistakes I made in the world finals that I think I’ve improved on. This is kind of my only real opportunity to test that before - if we meet at the world championships this coming year,” Team USA’s Yianni Diakomihalis said.
“It’s just a little bit extra pressure for sure, but I’m trying to stay true to myself. Focus on my values and wrestling and just work towards becoming a better wrestler,” Team USA’s Amit Elor said.
The talent alone is why fans such as Tim Heath from Georgia are coming from all over.
“Wrestling is my biggest passion and I enjoy seeing great competition,. Obviously, Team USA is stacked. I just wanted to take the opportunity to see Team USA compete” Heath said.
This is Heath’s first time in what he calls ‘the mecca of wrestling.’ Although he’s staying in Iowa until Sunday when the competition ends, he was able to cross off a bucket list item day one which was meeting wrestling legend Dan Gable.
“From when I was a kid, he’s just a guy who is synonymous with wrestling,” he said.
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