Puerto Rico debuts as host of U.S. Collegiate Nat’l Wrestling Championship
The Puerto Rico Convention Center will be transformed into the stage where the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) will hold its main championship of 2023, an event that will bring together more than 600 athletes from stateside and Puerto Rico universities.
The championship runs through Saturday, with an anticipated audience of 2,500 to 3,000 people. It is the first time that this event will be held on the island. The selection of Puerto Rico as host was part of Discover Puerto Rico’s efforts to promote the island as a destination for sporting events, the agency stated.
“This championship helps promote this sport in Puerto Rico and the United States, as well as portray the Island as an ideal destination for sporting events throughout the year. We have the facilities, the experience, and the will to make Puerto Rico a reference for the sports event’s community,” said Carlos Deliz, sports sales manager of Discover Puerto Rico.
Although Puerto Rico has wrestling programs, they have not been fully integrated into the U.S. universities’ competitive circuits. This competition, however, is changing this panorama since, as part of the event, Puerto Rican universities qualified their athletes and have a delegation representing their wrestling programs in the National Championship.
“The NCWA is excited to bring the National Championships to Puerto Rico. Over 600 athletes from 94 colleges across the country will converge at the Convention Center to be a part of the largest college championship event in the history of Puerto Rico. San Juan’s leadership, including Discover Puerto Rico’s Carlos Deliz, University of Puerto Rico’s José Betancourt and Orsini Productions have worked together to make it happen,” said Jim Giunta, president of the NCWA
“Our athletes are ready to leave it all on the mat to be crowned a National Champion, and for the first time ever, Puerto Rico colleges will have qualified athletes in the competition. National pride is on the line, and I’m sure our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters will make everyone proud,” said Giunta.
The event is estimated to generate some $2 million for the local economy.
“My main motivation is to give Puerto Rican athletes the sports scenario for maximum technical development through training and competitions with U.S. universities, without the need to migrate from Puerto Rico. This sports incursion will put Puerto Rican universities on the same mat as the American universities, academically and athletically,” Betancourt said.
“It’s an unprecedented event. The 2023 National Wrestling Championship will make history by bringing together, for the first time, the biggest number of wrestlers on the same stage. Puerto Rico is celebrating,” said Jerry Orsini, producer of the event.