Olympic women wrestlers from USA and China to hold feature matches at Arnold Wrestling Challenge in Columbus Ohio March 4

By Gary Abbott | Feb. 24, 2006, 10:28 a.m. (ET)
In addition to top youth wrestling competitions already announced, there will be special exhibition matches between world-class women wrestlers from the United States and China as part of the first annual Arnold Wrestling Challenge, set for March 3-5 in Columbus, Ohio.

Two U.S. women wrestlers who won medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, silver medalist Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) and bronze medalist Patricia Miranda (New Haven, Conn./Sunkist Kids), will take part in the series of exhibition matches.

McMann will compete against Xu Haiyan, the 2002 Asian Games champion. Xu, who is 21 years old, was fourth at the 2002 World Championships, and a bronze medalist at the 2002 World University Championships. These athletes compete at 62 kg/138.75 lbs.

In addition to her Olympic medal, McMann was a 2003 World silver medalist and a 2005 World bronze medalist. McMann, who is 25 years old, won a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games, and boasts four U.S. Nationals titles during her career.

Miranda.will battle Ren Xuecheng, the 2005 World Champion at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Ren, who is 20 years old, was also a 2005 Asian Championships gold medalist.

In addition to her Olympic medal, Miranda was a 2000 World silver medalist and a 2003 World silver medalist. Miranda, who is 26 years old, also won a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Championships, and has captured three U.S. Nationals titles during her career. She is currently attending Yale Law School, and returned to the mats this year after over a year away from the sport.

There will be a number of matches between the women wrestlers, all scheduled during the day on Saturday, March 4. Approximate times for the exhibition matches are 11:00 am, 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm (exact times subject to change).

The two Chinese athletes in the special matches are part of a team of top Chinese women wrestlers who are coming to the United States for joint training with the U.S. women's national team. These are among the most powerful women's wrestling nations in the world, as China placed second and the United States placed third at the 2005 World Wrestling Championships in women's freestyle wrestling.

The First Annual Arnold Wrestling Challenge is part of the multi-sport Arnold Sports Festival, held March 3-5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The wrestling event will feature the USA Wrestling Ultimate Challenge Series for wrestlers between 9 and 15 years of age and the USGWA Wrestling Challenge for females, elementary school through college age.

In addition, a series of other special wrestling opportunities will be presented during the weekend.

Clinics will highlight the Arnold Wrestling Challenge. They will include technique clinics by Olympic Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner. Gardner won a gold medal in Greco-Roman at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and added a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Motivational clinics will be presented by Dr. Chris Stankovich, champion athletic consultant, and Kyle Maynard, author of "No Excuses." Maynard has received tremendous national publicity for the sport of wrestling based upon his ability to compete in wrestling in spite of having congenital amputation, a rare condition where he was born with no limbs below the elbows and knees.

On Sunday morning, from approximately 11:00 to 11:30 am, Miranda, McMann and several of the Chinese women's wrestlers will give a short technique clinic prior to the start of the women's competition.

The Rotary Club of Columbus will award two $1,000 college scholarships, one each to the top boy and girl wrestler. The top six wrestlers in each weight class will also win awards.

To Register & Volunteer

Forms are available online at www.arnoldsportsfestival.com, click on "wrestling".

Wrestlers competing in the Arnold Wrestling Challenge will have access to all Arnold Fitness EXPO events with their paid event entry fee. Parents and wrestling fans will be charged $10 for EXPO tickets, which also includes access to all Arnold Fitness EXPO events. Tickets are available at the Columbus Convention Center the day of the event or at Ticketmaster at (614) 431-3600.

For more information visit the following websites: