In what has become a rite of spring in New York, Beat the Streets Wrestling, Inc. and USA Wrestling today announced details of this year’s international competition, which returns to Times Square on Thursday, May 21, this time back in the Duffy Square location at 46th Street in Manhattan. Competitors for Team USA and the Cuban National Team will compete in all three Olympic styles, a preview of top contenders for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Billed as the “Salsa in the Square,” this will be the first time that a dual meet between a U.S. team and a Cuban team in an Olympic sport will take place in the United States since the historic change in USA and Cuban political relations earlier this year. It is also the first time that a Cuban wrestling team will compete in New York City in a dozen years, since the successful 2003 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships were held at Madison Square Garden. Overall, this unique and electrifying annual event helps raise significant funds to further BTS’ mission to develop the full human and athletic potential of the urban youth and the strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling.
“The entire night, from our historic outdoor wrestling in Times Square to the awards gala at The Best Buy Theater ensures that we can continue to help, support and grow wrestling for kids in New York City and beyond,” said Jim Fallis, Executive Director of Beat the Streets. “The format with our top American wrestlers taking on a Cuban team gives us an added bonus this year and shows that sport can go even further in overcoming political obstacles that once existed, all of which should make for another amazing night for our sport, for our kids and for our great city.”
The Cuban Wrestling Federation has announced its lineup of stars who will be competing against the United States in Times Square. Team Cuba will include seven men’s freestyle wrestlers, four women’s freestyle wrestlers and two Greco-Roman wrestlers, showcasing talent in all three Olympic styles.
The Cuban team features four past medalists in men’s freestyle: 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and three-time World medalist Livan Lopez Azcuy at 74 kg in men’s freestyle, three-time World medalist Reineris Salas Perez at 86 kg, plus 2014 World bronze medalist Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez at 57 kg and Javier Cortina Lacerra at 97 kg. The women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman athletes are a mix of veteran stars and exciting young talents. Combined, the team has won 11 Pan American individual gold medals and four Junior World medals.
The U.S. opponents for each of the Cuban wrestlers are currently being determined, with match-ups to be released individually in the upcoming days. The U.S. team will feature veteran World and Olympic medalists, along with some young stars who have already made a big impact on the international scene.
Top Beat the Streets middle school and high school students will take the mat showcasing their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 4pm to start the evening. Then it’s Team USA vs. Cuba at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Beat the Streets Award Gala at 7:30 p.m. at Best Buy Theater (1515 Broadway).
The USA vs. the World dual requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/gala
The Gala Celebration will follow the wrestling competition at Best Buy Theater. This unique and electrifying annual event helps Beat the Streets(BTS) raise significant funds to further its mission. Whether it’s providing a safe, constructive outlet for our urban youth, fighting childhood obesity, empowering women, or uniting entire nations, wrestling teaches persistence, dedication, and the value of working hard to achieve one’s goals, creates opportunities for personal and universal growth. BTS currently serve over 3,000 student-athletes every year.
The world-class competition has been hosted in Times Square three previous times. In 2011, the United States defeated World champion Russia, 5-2, the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square. In 2012, another U.S. vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, along with the U.S. Olympic Team Wrestle-off for the 60 kg/132 lbs. position on the U.S. Olympic Team in men’s freestyle. In 2014, the USA defeated a World All-Star Team in Times Square, 8-3.
This will be the sixth straight year in which a major international-style wrestling competition will be hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Gala activities. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. In 2013, the event was hosted in historic Grand Central Terminal. Dubbed “The Rumble on the Rails,” it featured dual meets between Team USA, Russia and Iran and was an important part of the international Keep Olympic Wrestling effort, which resulted in wrestling retaining its status on the Olympic Games program.
“Salsa In The Square,” Beat The Streets Wrestling Schedule
At New York, May 21, 2014
4:00 p.m. – Beat the Streets Exhibition Matches in Duffy Square at 46th Street
5:30 p.m. – World Class Wrestling: Team USA vs. Team Cuba at 46th Street
7:30 p.m. – Gala Celebration at Best Buy Theater at 1515 Broadway
CUBAN NATIONAL TEAM
For USA vs. Cuba Wrestling Dual
In Times Square, New York, N.Y., May 21
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez
65 kg/143 lbs. – Franklin Maren Castillo
74 kg/163 lbs. – Livan Lopez Azcuy
74 kg/163 lbs. – Luis Esteban Quintana Martinez
86 kg/189 lbs. – Reineris Salas Perez
97 kg/213 lbs. – Javier Cortina Lacerra
125 kg/275 lbs. – Andres Ramos Dinza
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Yusneylis Guzman Lopez
55 kg/121 lbs. – Yamilka del Valle Alvarez
60 kg/132 lbs. – Yekelin Stornell Elastigue
69 kg/152 lbs. – Yudari Sanchez Rodriguez
59 kg/130 lbs. – Maykel Anache Lamout
75 kg/165 lbs. – Yurisandi Hernandez Rios
Team Leader – Eduardo Perez Tellez
Coach – Julio Mendieta Cuellar
Coach – Mario Olivera Hernandez
Coach – Elio Garraway Clark
Medical staff – Siggilfredo Acosta Chacon
Referee – Yunior Sosa Naranjo