Tag Archives: wrestling

Cardozo wrestling city champs set sights on national tourney


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow  me @liamlaguerre

 

Before Benjamin Cardozo senior Douglas Chau joined the wrestling team, he was, as he put it, a “boring kid.”

Chau, 17, didn’t play any sports, wasn’t in any clubs, didn’t interact with many of his peers and maintained average grades (about 80 percent), before his freshman year in high school.

But wrestling became the catalyst of change for the Bayside resident.

He joined at the recommendation of his older sister, who had friends on the team. And Chau said the first time he trained on the mat, he enjoyed the camaraderie and discipline the sport taught. Since then he said he’s become a more social person, and Chau is set to graduate at the end of this semester with an 89 percent average.

“It made me dedicated to everything that I do,” Chau said. “I found myself more disciplined than I was ever before. I can’t exactly say the reason why I like wrestling, but I can feel it.”

After four years of hard work on the team, Chau won the PSAL Division I wrestling individual city championship at 113 pounds last month, his first city-wide title. A city championship was the goal, but this summer he hopes to win a national championship at the Fargo Wrestling Tournament in North Dakota to complete the mission.

Chau’s teammate and training partner, Steve Kim, a junior at Benjamin Cardozo, is also looking to win a national championship at the Fargo tournament. Kim won the PSAL Division I individual city championships at 145 pounds, and before the summer tournament he’ll compete in a national event in Virginia Beach on March 24 as well.

Unlike Chau, Kim has been wrestling since he was a young child. His older brother taught his techniques at home and in the past he was fond of the WWE, the professional wrestling show.

Kim, 17, has designed a special diet to go with his training that emphasizes natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables and water, and he eats few carbs. It’s a testament to his dedication and desire to win a medal at the next level.

“That would be just beyond my dreams, that’s something unexplainable and unimaginable, to become a national champ,” Kim said.

The pair train about five days a week for two hours a day, sometimes conditioning in the weight room, and other times wrestling each other.

Chau said his Fargo appearance will be his last time on the mat because he’ll focus on studying pre-law at St. John’s University.

But after his personal wrestling experience comes to an end, he plans to start a brand new journey with another goal.

“My plan is to join the coaching staff at Cardozo,” Chau said. “My next mission is to help Cardozo move on and get another city champion.”

 

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Wrestling voted out of Olympics


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Hofstra University

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

The sport of wrestling is now fighting for its life.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted the sport, which was part of the inaugural 1896 Olympics held in Athens, Greece, off the 2020 games program.

Richard Zbytniewski, a wrestling coach at MS 72 Count Basie in Jamaica, said he couldn’t understand the decision made by the IOC because wrestling has been a part of the Olympics since the beginning.

“If you’re going to get rid of one of the oldest sports then you’re losing the identity of the Olympics,” he said.

Robert Anspach, head coach of wrestling at Hofstra University, said he was shocked when he learned the news and at first thought it was a joke.

“I didn’t even know it was up for discussion,” he said.

Anspach argued with one of the reasons the IOC gave for voting wrestling off, low ratings.

“If you’re going to put it on at 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon of course nobody’s going to be to watch it,” he said.

Anspach said that despite the decreasing ratings, there seems to be a growing support for wrestling, citing growing attendance at Hofstra’s wrestling events.

Zbytniewski said when he was a wrestler in college he’d use the Olympics for motivation.

“The Olympics were inspiring me to do better,” he said, adding that the event does the same for the students he coaches at the middle school.

Anspach said that the Olympics may not be the only goal that all wrestlers look to, but that it is one of the main ones.

“It’s the dream and aspiration of some of these guys,” Anspach said of his wrestlers.

Anspach and Zbytniewski also said that wrestling should stay in the Olympics because it is, in their opinion, the ultimate sport.

“It’s something that you’re born with, it’s instinctual,” Anspach said. “It’s the only sport that’s opened to everybody. There’s a weight class for everyone. You don’t see a short basketball player. But in wrestling there’s a division for everyone.”

“There are sports on that list that I really wouldn’t even consider to be a sport,” Zbytniewski echoed. “They don’t take any skill to do. Wrestling is a highly skilled sport that you need to train hard for in order to get good at.”

Anspach, when asked if there was any official word on what would happen in the wrestling community, said everything is still up in the air.

“People are asking us ‘what’s going to happen?’” he said. “We don’t know. It’s not official yet that it’s going to happen and I really hope they overturn the decision.”

Wrestling still has a fighting chance to be included in the 2020 games, but has to apply for inclusion along with six other sports: baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu (Chinese martial arts).

Anspach said this could be a lesson for the wrestling community, saying those in charge need to be more active in promoting their sport.

“We need to stop being reactionary and start being more proactive,” he said. “It might be too late to stop this, but now we need to figure out how we prevent this from happening again.”

 

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