U.S. Grapplers Cross, Kelly earn No-Gi spots in World Combat Games in St. Petersburg, Russia in October 2013

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Dec. 12, 2012, 11:27 a.m. (ET)
FILA, the international wrestling federation, announced that two Grapplers from the United States have earned a spot in the respected 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games, October 18-26 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The recently completed 2012 FILA Grappling World Championships in Krakow, Poland served as a qualifying event for the World Combat Games in some selected weight classes. An athlete had to win either a gold medal or a silver medal to earn the trip to Russia in those weight classes.

The two Americans qualified are 2012 World silver medalists Shane Cross of Colorado and Mike Kelly of Illinois, both who compete in No-Gi Grappling.

Cross won his first FILA World medal this year in No-Gi with a second place performance in Poland at 77 kg/169 lbs. He competes for the Grappler's Edge club. Cross won three of his four matches at the Worlds this year.

Kelly won his third career FILA World medal this year, taking second at 84 kg/185 lbs. in No-Gi at the Worlds in Poland. Kelly competes for Old School Wrestling. He had an impressive 3-1 record in the meet.

Kelly had previously won FILA World bronze medals in both 2009 and 2010.

Overall, the USA had a strong team performance in No-Gi Grappling at the World Championships in Poland, winning the third place team trophy led by six medalists. Coaching the U.S. team at the Grappling Worlds were Sheldon Marr and Ricardo Liborio.

The World Combat Games are a prestigious international event which includes numerous combat sports, including aikido, boxing, fencing, judo, jiu-jitsu, karate, kendo, kickboxing, muy thai, sambo, savate, sumo, taekwondo and wrestling. The expenses for athletes to participate are covered by the event hosts, which makes this a very competitive event.

The 2010 World Combat Games were held in Beijing, China. In No-Gi Grappling, Tom LeCuyer of the United States won a bronze medal at Men's 70 kg/154 lbs., while Tara LaRosa placed fourth at Women's 60 kg/132 lbs. USA Wrestling also had women's freestyle wrestlers in the event, with Amberle Montgomery winning a silver medal at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Michaela Hutchison placing fifth at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Congratulations go to these talented U.S. Grapplers who will represent our nation next year at the Sportaccord World Combat Games.