USA Wrestling Opts Out of Senior World Champs -- Federation Focus

Also: Russia wants to use 2018 FIFA World Cup venues for Rugby World Cup; Run-off election for World Sailing president

(ATR) The United States will not be sending a team to compete at the 2020 Senior World Wrestling Championships in December.

USA Wrestling’s executive committee voted unanimously on Oct. 20 that due to health and safety issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic there will be no U.S. wrestlers participating at the event in Belgrade, Serbia.

"It was one of the tougher decisions we had to make," USA Wrestling president Bruce Baumgartner said during a virtual news conference on Oct. 21. "We tried to make sure the decision was based on what we felt were the experts -- the USOPC medical staff, our doctors, our committees, the athlete input -- and I believe we made the decision that is best for our athletes at this time with the information we have."

There is no guarantee the world championships, scheduled for Dec. 12-20, will take place. If enough teams join the USA in opting out, the event would be cancelled due to lack of participation even if the health authorities in Serbia deemed it safe to be held.

United World Wrestling announced on Oct.12 in a letter to all national wrestling federations that they would be able to enter athletes in the World Championships only through Nov. 5.

The UWW Executive Committee plans to meet on Nov. 6 "to check the registrations and discuss the current situation of the pandemic around the world. During this meeting, it will be decided to keep the event or cancel it."

Veronica Carlson, who is a member of the USA Wrestling executive committee and chair of the Athlete Advisory Committee, said the athletes wanted a quick decision on the matter so that they could better prepare.

"They felt drawing this decision out ultimately was hurting their training," she says.

Without the Senior World Championships, top-flight USA wrestlers will need to find other avenues to hone their skills ahead of Tokyo 2020.

USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender says his organization is "keenly aware of the necessity for elite athletes to have competition prior to the Olympic trials and ultimately the Olympic Games."

In answer to a question from Around the Rings, Bender added "We've had numerous conversations with our international federation and other federations around the world about how do we create those types of environments in light of the current circumstances to provide that safe competition."

Russia Would Re-use Venues for Rugby World Cup

Russia’s bid to host either the 2027 or 2031 Rugby World Cup would include using existing stadiums from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

TASS reports that Azat Kadyrov, First Deputy Head of the Russian Ministry of Sports, made the comments this week during a conference in Ekaterinburg.

Earlier this month, the head of the Russian Rugby Federation (FRR) announced that the country would apply to host either of the next two available Rugby World Cups.

At present Australia appears the overwhelming favorite to host the 2027 men’s tournament with Russia the only other country in the bidding. Argentina pulled out of the running in April.

A group of rugby stakeholders in the United States is currently conducting a feasibility study on hosting a future Rugby World Cup, whether it be a women’s tournament in 2025 or 2029 and/or a men’s in 2027 or 2031.

The United States, like Russia a small player in world rugby, is believed by many to be the favorite to host in 2031. A 2027 bid would seem less appealing, given that the USA is already co-hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup and Los Angeles is hosting the 2028 Olympics.

World Rugby in August announced that all of the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups for 2025 through 2031 will be awarded in May of 2022.

The federation announced this week that the draw for the Rugby World Cup 2021 will be in Auckland, New Zealand on Nov. 20. The ninth edition of the women’s showcase tournament will be held from Sept. 18-Oct. 16, 2021 at three venues in New Zealand.

World Sailing Presidential Run-off

A second round of voting to determine who will lead World Sailing for another four years began on Oct. 20 and will end on Oct. 23.

IncumbentKim Andersen of Denmark and vice president Li Quanhai of China survived the initial round last week though neither reached the more than 50 percent needed to win outright.Gerardo Seeliger of Spain and Scott Perry from Uruguay were eliminated.

If this round of voting fails to produce a winner, another run-off will be held from Oct. 26-29.

The results of the election will be announced during the virtual General Assembly by the Election Committee on Nov. 1.

In this era of the corona pandemic, the election for the federation leadership is the first to be conducted virtually among the 33 sports on the program of the Summer Olympics.

Written and reported by Gerard Farek

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