The Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee (MINOC) and Marshalls Wrestling Federation (MWF) will be hosting Oceania Wrestling Championships in Majuro, Marshall Islands on the dates of March 20-22, 2015.
This will be the first time the Republic of the Marshall Islands has hosted an Oceania Championship in any sport. More than 100 delegates are expected to participate from 16 Pacific Island countries, including American Samoa, Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia (Tahiti), Guam, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu, as well as officials from the United States, Asia and Europe.
Athletes will compete in the wrestling disciplines of Greco-Roman, men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and beach wrestling. This year’s Oceania Championship is the qualification tournament for athletes to compete at the 2015 Junior World Championships, which will take place in Brazil in August, and the 2015 Senior World Championships, which will take place in Las Vegas (USA) in September.
Among the many firsts at this Oceania Championship, one of MINOC’s top sponsors, Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (MINTA), will be providing a web-streamed broadcast of the competition, so fans from around the world can tune in live.
In conjunction with the Oceania Championship, United World Wrestling (UWW) coaching and referee courses are scheduled from March 17-19. UWW, formerly known as FILA, is the International Federation for wrestling based in Vevey, Switzerland.
MINOC President and RMI wrestling Pacific Games and Micronesian Games gold medalist Kenneth Kramer said, “These courses are essential to the ongoing capacity building and up-skilling of coaches and referees in Marshall Islands and the Oceania region. With more certified coaches and referees, we can begin intramural school wrestling programs and hold national competitions.”
The Oceania Council of Associated Wrestling Styles (OCAWS), our region’s continental association, will hold its annual general meeting on 19 March. On Saturday evening, March 21, H.E. President Christopher J. Loeak and Hon. Minister David Kabua will host a special banquet for the delegates.
UWW’s Oceania Development Officer Ethan Lake recently conducted a site visit to Majuro to gauge our preparedness for this important event. “I was very impressed with the assistance MINOC Secretary General Terry Sasser and his staff have been giving to MWF,” said Lake. “To me, the support the National Olympic Committee is giving to the National Federation and this Championship is amazing and beyond what would be expected from any NOC.”
Hosting an Oceania Championship in the Marshall Islands is critical to the Republic’s national sporting development. It is important that RMI not only host such events, but that they are professionally delivered to be a great success. The International Convention Center (ICC), where the wrestling competition will take place, could easily accommodate regional competitions for weightlifting and table tennis. Once the Educational Cultural Center (ECC) is renovated, RMI will have the capacity to host numerous sporting events.