One down, one to go, and who knows what else comes next?
This past weekend, five United States Seniors wrapped up the first training camp offered specifically for Greco-Roman athletes since the coronavirus shutdown in March. The usage of the word “specifically” is purposeful — last month, a handful of Greco wrestlers participated in a camp held at the Oklahoma RTC (Regional Training Center) where they worked alongside folk/freestyle competitors.
The now-completed camp in Boise, Idaho, hosted by Ivan Ivanov at his Suples Wrestling Club, focused entirely on Greco-Roman conditioning, drills, and live wrestling. All of the attendees were notable, Olympic Trials-qualified athletes: Sammy Jones (60 kg, NYAC); Nolan Baker (67 kg, NYAC); RaVaughn Perkins (77 kg, NYAC); Patrick Martinez (87 kg, NYAC); and G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, world #8). In case you missed it, Jones, Baker, and Perkins shared their takeaways involving the camp in this piece released yesterday.
Originally, a trio of Senior National Team-level camps were announced in June with Utah Valley RTC penciled in following Boise. That training opportunity was to begin today. But unfortunately, there are reportedly no takers, which means the next one on the docket falls to Zac Dominguez and his MWC in Papillion, Nebraska from July 22-27. Athletes expected to participate in the MWC camp include Jones, Perkins, Jesse Porter (77 kg, NYAC/NTS), Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist), Ben Provisor (77 kg, NYAC), Joe Rau (87 kg, TMWC/IRTC, world #7), and Alan Vera (87 kg, NYAC).
As you might suspect, we plan on providing suitable coverage both leading-up-to and following what transpires in Nebraska.
Bacsi Believes 2020 Worlds Provides Motivation
Two-time World Champion Peter Bacsi — who retired after earning his second title in 2018 and now serves as programs director for the Hungarian Wrestling Federation — said last week that he remains hopeful about the plan for United World Wrestling to hold World events this calendar year. “It’s hard to say how realistic is a World Championships with such high data,” Bacsi told the Hungarian outlet referring to the number of COVID-19 cases around the globe (text transcribed using machine translation). “I’m optimistic, anyway. It would be good if these events were held, but only in safe conditions. Wrestlers have to cling to something.”
Bacsi’s point about wrestlers having to “cling to something” is actually directed more towards age-groupers than Senior athletes. It has also been discussed stateside among several coaches. With in-person practices suspended for months on end and important tournaments canceled through the summer, progression for youth wrestlers is obviously hindered. Older competitors are not as vulnerable in this regard. Their foundational skill-sets are already in place; plus, they understand how to remain motivated despite not having an imminent competition on the horizon.
“I think it’s clear that it has affected young people more drastically,” Bacsi explained. “In their case, every week or month without practice counts exponentially as they — due to their age — develop at a much higher rate, and it was easier to set an example of losing their motivation. Adults are much more purposeful, without exception. All of them are already so routine that they have solved their preparation during the quarantine period by at least keeping themselves (in shape) to a minimum. None of them (Hungarians) have experienced a significant decline in form.”