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|U.S. team to compete at Beach World Championships in Albania, Sept. 20|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
A team of four Beach wrestlers from the United States will participate in the Beach Wrestling competition at the World Wrestling Games in Albania.
The Beach World Championships will be held on Sunday, September 20 in Durres, Albania.
Leading the U.S. team will be 2007 Beach World bronze medalists Jeff Funicello, Gilbert, Ariz. (American Pankration) and Carlos Dolmo (Bronx, N.Y./Blast Double NY).
Funicello competes in the Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs. division. Funicello was second in the 2008 U.S. Beach World Team Trials, and was a 2008 U.S. Beach national champion. Funicello will be attending the World Wrestling Games for the second straight year.
Dolmo will be competing in his third straight Beach World Championships, also placing fifth at the 2006 Beach World Championships. Dolmo competes in the Over 85 kg/187.5 lbs. division. Dolmo won gold medals at the 2008 U.S. Beach National Championships, as well as the 2008 U.S. Beach World Team Trials.
"I remember last year," said Dolmo. "I want to win the gold and bring it back to the USA. We've never had a Beach World champion. I want to be the first to accomplish that."
The U.S. will have two other athletes on the Beach World Team competing at the Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs. division, Mike Proulx (Bath, Maine/unattached) and Neil Cook (Rochester, N.Y./Team Titan). Both are entering their first World Wrestling Games.
The World Wrestling Games will also feature competition in Grappling, Belt Wrestling Alysh and Pangration Athlima, all which will be held in the city of Tirana. A traditional wrestling festival is also scheduled in the city of Durres. Athletes at the World Wrestling Games are permitted to participate in all of the styles.
The U.S. delegation does not include a team in any of these styles, although some of the U.S. Beach wrestling athletes may enter the Grappling and the Belt Wrestling Alysh competitions.
Leading the delegation will be USA Wrestling Manager of Developing Styles Jason Townsend of Colorado Springs, Colo.
The United States won seven World medals in Beach wrestling during the first two years of the World Wrestling Games, but has yet to win its first Beach World gold medal.
2008 U.S. Beach World Team
Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs. - Jeff Funicello, Gilbert, Ariz. (American Pankration)
Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs. - Mike Proulx, Bath, Maine (unattached)
Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs. - Neil Cook, Rochester, N.Y. (Team Titan)
Over 85 kg/187.5 lbs. - Carlos Dolmo, Bronx, N.Y. (Blast Double NY)
Team Leader/Coach - Jason Townsend, Colorado Springs, Colo.