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U of W to host Olympic wrestling trials in 2011

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THE 2011 Canadian Olympic Wrestling Trials will be held in Winnipeg at the University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre.

A joint bid to host from the Manitoba Amateur Wrestling Association and the University of Winnipeg has been selected over bids from Calgary and Toronto.

Canada's representatives in the sport of wrestling at the 2012 Olympic Games in London would be selected from the tournament, scheduled to be held Dec. 15-18.

"The sport of wrestling needs something to be excited about and this is it," said MAWA president Adrian Bruce, contacted in Niverville, where he is also the head coach at the Niverville Wrestling Club. "This is landmark in what we are trying to do to bring wrestling back to the forefront in Manitoba.

"This event will create a legacy for the sport in Manitoba."

Wrestling, which became recognized by Sport Manitoba on April 1, is undergoing a resurgence in Manitoba. It had slipped off amateur sport's radar screen after being dropped as a University of Manitoba sport in 2004.

The event would likely attract athletes such as Carol Huynh, Canada's gold medallist in the 48-kilogram division in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and Tonya Verbeek, a two-time Olympian who won silver in the 55 kg division at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and bronze at the 2008 Olympics.

U of W athletic director Doran Reid was unable to comment but confirmed reports the U of W is holding a press conference Wednesday to announce a major sports event.

The university previously hosted wrestling's test event for the 1999 Pan Am Games.

By the time the Olympic Trials are held here, it is expected that wrestling will have joined the Wesmen family.

"We have said we'd love to add some sports and wrestling is one of them, as well as soccer," Reid said.

"That's our intent but we haven't gone the full road yet. We've had to declare what we think we're going to go into in 2011 and so we have declared wrestling and soccer for 2011. A number of things would have to fall into place for that to happen, including approval by Canada West (conference)."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2010 B10

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