NYAC tournament renamed the Bill Farrell International, and set for Hofstra Univ., November 8-9

By NYAC wrestling | Aug. 14, 2014, 10:29 a.m. (ET)
One of the longest running international tournament hosted in the United States, the New York Athletic Club International, will change its name and move to a new venue this fall as part a plan to grow the event.

This year’s event will be held at Hofstra University’s Mack Arena in Hempstead, N.Y., which seats over 5,000 spectators. The tournament will be renamed the “Bill Farrell International” to honor the late NYAC Wrestling Chairman & 1972 Olympic Head Coach Bill Farrell. Farrell coached the 1972 freestyle team to one of the best performances in U.S. history, led by Olympic champions Dan Gable, Ben Peterson and Wayne Wells. Farrell was a true visionary and leader who made a major impact on wrestling at all levels.

For more than 50 years, the New York Athletic Club has hosted an annual NYAC Holiday International Wrestling Championship. The event is now a FILA-sanctioned tournament with the participation of countries from around the world. November has always been a great time to be in New York with some of the best wrestlers in the world as its competitors. Many years, the event has been the first major international event in the United States after the Senior World championships.

Former NYAC Wrestling Chairman and USAW Hall of Famer Sonny Greenhalgh managed the event for 40 years and brought it to its current level. He was a bit unsure and saddened by the move out of the NYAC facility in Manhattan. There were so many great memories at the club it makes it very hard to leave. Sonny was responsible for growing the event from a mostly domestic men's freestyle-only tournament to one of the most outstanding wrestling tournaments in the world, now including all three styles.

With his retirement and passing on the duties to Mo Tavakolian, Vice President of NYAC Wrestling Club, Sonny feels the tournament has a bright future. The venue that Hofstra offers and the support from the LI wrestling community will only make the event that much better.

“We feel this tournament is the best tournament in the states and we must do all we can to ensure that the tournament goes on forever. It is a perfect opportunity for everyone to see World elite athletes compete,” said Sonny Greenhalgh.

The new venue will offer an arena setting with four mats, an increase from three mats in the past. The format will remain the same with men’s Greco Roman and women’s freestyle will be on Saturday, November 8 and the men’s freestyle on Sunday, November 9th. The new venue will offer the same benefits as other international FILA sanctioned tournaments, including a host hotel.

“We are so excited with the new venue and to be partnering up with Hofstra University, the place where I started my collegiate wrestling career. Being a Long Island native and having such an international tournament in one of the country’s wrestling hotspots is amazing. Long Island is wrestling country in my opinion. This event is a precursor to the start of the high school season and we are hoping all Long Island high schools and middle schools attend to watch the world’s greatest wrestlers compete,” says Mo Tavakolian.

The two-day event will offer a free clinic for all high school students in attendance. More details will be provided in the coming weeks.

“USA Wrestling is excited to work with the wrestling leadership in New York City and on Long Island to make the Bill Farrell International an even better elite international competition. Athletes from around the world enjoy coming to the New York area, and we believe the changes will help the tournament to grow and prosper,” said USA Wrestling Events Director Pete Isais.

“We are very thankful to have support from Andy Barth and Titan Mercury Wrestling Club along with Beat the Streets New York. It is great to see everyone come together for the improvement of the sport. A good deal of time has been put into securing this new venue and we are very excited. Long Island has always been a wrestling powerhouse and we have a tremendous amount of support from the Long Island wrestling community,” said Dave Foxen, NYAC Wrestling Chairman.

“Having this event in Bill Farrell’s honor means a great deal to us. Bill has done so much for the sport of wrestling locally and internationally. We are excited for the new venue and hope everyone shares this vision and continues their support,” says Jon Tush, President of the NYAC Wrestling Club.

“We started planning this event last December and sat with USA Wrestling to see how we can improve this event. Having traveled internationally and attended tournaments in Iran, Budapest and other locations, it only made sense to elevate the event in line with such events. We couldn’t do this without the help and support of many people and organizations. Everyone seemed receptive in stepping up and helping, from our wrestling club members to our partners Jim Fallis and Ken Bigley of Beat the Streets New York, and Andy Barth and Titan Mercury, to local Long Island organizations such as Friends of Long Island, our FILA referee friends, and more. We are very excited and look forward to everyone’s help and support to make this event an unforgettable one,” said Tavakolian.