Talented Cuba team features three World Champions for World Cup Wrestling Championship in Boise Ida

By Gary Abbott | March 17, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
Wrestling power Cuba will send a strong team of veteran stars to participate in the 2003 World Cup Wrestling Championship, set for the Bank of America Centre in Boise, Idaho, April 5-6. Cuba is among five World powers participating in this annual international dual meet championships, along with host United States, Russia, Ukraine and Germany. The Cuban team will feature three star athletes who have won World titles in the past: Rene Montero at 55 kg/121 lbs., Yoel Romero at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Alexis Rodriguez at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. As a team, Cuba is one of the world's top powers in freestyle wrestling. Montero won a gold medal at the 2002 World Championships, and has two Junior World titles to his credit. Romero was a World Champion in 1999, and captured a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games as well as the 2002 World Championships. He won World bronze medals in 1998 and 2001. Rodriguez claimed his World title in 1998. He won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Games. Rodriguez also boasts World silver medals in 1997 and 2002, and a World bronze medal in 2001. All three of these Cuban World Champions were members of the winning team at the recent Titan Games, held in San Jose, Calif. in February. A combined team of freestyle, Greco-Roman and women wrestlers participated in the event. Montero and Romero won their bout against the American opponent at the Titan Games, while Rodriguez was defeated. Romero was named the event's Male "Ultimate Titan," sharing honors with American weightlifter Shane Hamman. All three will have rematches during the World Cup. Montero will face Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif./Sunkist Kids), Romero will battle Cael Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) and Rodriguez will square off with Kerry McCoy (Bethlehem, Pa./New York AC). The rest of the seven-athlete Cuban is experienced and talented, giving the squad a strong competitor in each weight class. Two of the team's most experienced stars are Carlos Ortiz at 66 kg/145. 5 lbs. and Wilfredo Morales at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Both have been competing on the international scene for more than a dozen years. Ortiz has won the Pan American Championships four times, and was sixth at the 2000 Olympic Games. He has won medals at major events including the Goodwill Games, the Pan American Games and the World Cup. Morales competed for Cuba at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. He was a 1995 Pan American Games champion and was second at the 1999 Pan American Games. He has competed in six World Championships for Cuba, placing as high as seventh on two occasions. The other two competitors on the Cuban team are Yandro Quintana at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Daniel Gonzalez at 74 kg/163 lbs. Quintana has wrestled in the last two World Championships for Cuba, placing seventh and 12th in the standings. He won the Pan American Championships three straight years (2000-2002). He also captured a World Cup silver medal in 2000. Gonzalez placed third in the 1996 World Cup and fifth at the 1998 World Cup. He was also a silver medalist at the 1998 Pan American Championships, and won a 1991 Cadet World title. Individual session tickets are on sale for the 2003 World Cup Wrestling Championship. Tickets can be purchased at all Select-A-Seat locations, by phone at 208-331-TIXS, or on the internet www.idahotickets.com. For more information go to www.worldcupwrestling.com. There will be four sessions of action, featuring the best international freestyle wrestling teams in the world. For Sessions I and III, the session prices are $16 for adults and $13 for youth (2-18 years). For Session II, which includes Opening Ceremonies, the session prices are $19 for adults and $16 for youth. For Session IV, which includes the final bouts and the Closing Ceremonies, the session prices are $26 for adults and $24 for youth. The weekend will begin with a major youth wrestling competition, the World Cup Kids Open, set for Friday, April 4. Young wrestlers will be able compete in the tournament, then watch the world's best athletes at the World Cup. Medals from the World Cup Kids Open will be presented during the World Cup of Freestyle Wrestling. Participants must be USA Wrestling members. For information on the youth tournament, contact R.J. Scott by phone at (208) 587-9720 or via e-mail at rjscott64@cs.com. Fans will find the best combined competition / hotel facility in the US. The Luxurious Grove Hotel is attached to The Bank of America Centre. Stay at a Four Diamond hotel, take the elevator to the lobby, and walk into the Bank of America Centre without ever going outside. Stay where the teams stay, the Grove Hotel for only $95 per night double occupancy, or groups of 10 or more $84 per night quad occupancy. Call 208-333-8000 and ask reservations for the World Cup rate. 2003 World Cup Wrestling Championship Cuba Team at Boise, Idaho, April 5-6, 2003 55 kg/121 lbs. - Rene Montero 60 kg/132 lbs. - Yandro Quintana 66 kg /145.5 lbs. - Carlos Ortiz 74 kg/163 lbs. - Daniel Gonzalez 84 kg/185 lbs. - Yoel Romero 96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Wilfredo Morales 120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Alexis Rodriguez Coaches - Filiberto Delgado and Barbaro Morgan Medical staff - Arvelio Recio and Hilario Sanchez Referee - Luis Castillo Click here for Cuba World Cup team biographies