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|Reminder: Voting for ESPY Nominee Anthony Robles ends midnight, Sunday, July 9|
By John Fuller Full Athlete Marketing
Online voting for the 2006 ESPY Award nominees will conclude at midnight on Sunday, July 9. High school national champion wrestler Anthony Robles of Mesa, Ariz. has been nominated for a 2006 ESPY Award for "Best Male Athlete With A Disability." Robles' nomination marks the sixth consecutive year that a wrestler has been nominated for an ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Award.
Nominees are selected by a panel of ESPN staff and esteemed journalists. To vote for Robles, visit www.espys.tv, click on "Vote Now" and then click on the "Best Male Athlete With A Disability" category and select Robles.
Winners are determined solely by online voting.
"This is an incredible honor," Robles said of his nomination. "Not only have so many great wrestlers been nominated for these awards before, but so many great athletes are nominated every year. The ESPY Awards are for the best of the best, and for them to include me in that category with athletes that I see as an inspiration is just an amazing feeling for me."
"So many people have helped me to be successful in all areas of my life, including in wrestling. My family, friends, coaches and teammates have all been supportive of me and my career and without them by my side every day, this nomination may not have been possible," Robles added.
Also nominated in the "Best Male Athlete With A Disability" category are high school football player Bobby Martin, who was born with a condition called "congenital amputation" which left him with no legs and nordic skier Steve Cook, who won three medals at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games.
Last year, a record three wrestlers were nominated for ESPY Awards. Cael Sanderson was nominated for "Best Male Olympic Performance," Rulon Gardner was nominated for "Best Comeback" and Steve Mocco was nominated for "Best Male College Athlete."
Born with just one leg, 17 year-old Robles capped off an amazing career on March 26 by winning the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) national title at 112 lbs. with a 9-1 victory in the finals in Pittsburgh, Pa. The NHSCA invites only seniors in high school who won state titles to its national meet. Robles became the first disabled wrestler to win a title at the NHSCA national championships.
As a junior, Robles placed second in the NHSCA national championships for juniors.
The win also finished off a perfect 53-0 senior season for him. For his four-year career, Robles posted a record of 131-15 and won two Arizona high school state titles for Mesa High School. He was also undefeated as a junior. Amazingly, Anthony never wrestled until his family moved from just outside of Los Angeles to Mesa before his freshman year.
"I think God gave me a gift by only giving me one leg," Robles said after winning his national title. "Other people may not see it that way, but I do."
His high school coach, Bob Williams, calls him "the most inspirational athlete I've ever seen."
Last weekend, Robles signed a National Letter of Intent to wrestle at Arizona State Univ., a college wrestling powerhouse, where he plans to study Business. In high school, he posted a 3.5 GPA. He aspires to someday become a sports agent and also compete in mixed martial arts.
The ESPY Awards, created by ESPN in 1993, will be held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. on July 12. The show will be televised by ESPN on Sunday, July 16.
Past wrestling ESPY winners include Kyle Maynard in 2004 for "Best Athlete with a Disability," Cael Sanderson in 2002 for "Best Male College Athlete" and Rulon Gardner in 2001 for "Male USA Olympic Athlete." In 2003, Eric Larkin, also an Arizona State wrestler, was nominated for "Best Male College Athlete."