Historic Grappling Summit Held

USA Wrestling hosted a Grappling Summit at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. on March 10, bringing together many leaders from wrestling and Grappling to discuss the future of the sport.

FILA, the international wrestling federation, recently recognized Grappling as a form of international wrestling. FILA has appointed a World Grappling Committee to oversee the development of the sport on the international level.

USA Wrestling, as the national governing body for wrestling in the United States and a member of FILA, hosted this Grappling Summit to organize its involvement in Grappling moving forward.

FILA will host the World Wrestling Games in Antalya, Turkey on Sept. 7-9. Grappling will be included in the competition, along with Beach Wrestling and Sombo. USA Wrestling invited a number of respected Grappling organizations and leaders to discuss the process for selecting and training a U.S. Grappling team to compete in the World Wrestling Games.

In addition to leaders and staff from USA Wrestling, the meeting featured representatives from the following organizations:

* International Submission Wrestling Association * Grapplers Quest * World Grappling Games * North American Grappling Association * No Limits * FILA World Grappling Committee * On The Mat.com

Other organizations were invited and have expressed an interest in participating in future organizational activities with USA Wrestling.

USA Wrestling President Jim Ravannack of Metaire, La. announced the creation of an ad-hoc committee within USA Wrestling for Grappling. Included on the Grappling ad-hoc committee are Ravannack, Art Martori of Phoenix, Ariz., John Bardis of Alpharetta, Ga., Stan Dziedzic of Roswell, Ga. and Bill Scherr of Glenview, Ill. The ad-hoc committee will make recommendations to USA Wrestling’s Board of Directors concerning the management and direction for the sport.

The leaders at the Summit, after prolonged discussion, decided to work together on a USA Wrestling Grappling World Team Trials to determine the U.S. team for the World Wrestling Games. A system of qualification for this event was also agreed upon. Final details on the World Team Trials and the qualifying series will be announced shortly. Many other topics were discussed, with an agreement to work together to build the sport in the future.

“This was an exciting and meaningful meeting,” said Ravannack. “Getting people together to discuss an emerging wrestling style and deciding to work together is very rewarding. The Grappling community is looking for a new avenue working with USA Wrestling. This is also an area where USA Wrestling can grow.”

A Grappling Sub-Committee is also being formed, to work on sport-specific issues within Grappling, including officiating, coaching, promotion, marketing and rules, to bring proposals to USA Wrestling’s ad-hoc committee.

“I am very excited we were able to get together in the same room and work towards the process of building Grappling under a legitimate national governing body like USA Wrestling,” said Jason Townsend of the International Submission Wrestling Association. “Without USA Wrestling and FILA, it would take another 20 years to get this sport where we are going. I am excited to be a part of this.”

“The last 11 years, we have watched Grappling grow into an amazing competitor and spectator sport. Now, working together with USA Wrestling, we can final take a big step to take the sport to the next level,” said Brian Cimins of Grapplers Quest.

“We are really excited to see the Grappling community come together and give the athletes an opportunity for world recognition and work toward a common goal of joining the Olympic family,” said Ryan Gregg of the World Grappling Games.

“By uniting wrestling and the submission disciplines to compete and display their skills in events sanctioned by USA Wrestling is a huge step for this sport,” said Jim Santaniello of No Limits.

USA Wrestling will make additional announcements concerning its programs within Grappling in the upcoming weeks.

For information, contact Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling at 719-659-9637 cell

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Michelle Thilges