Russia will officially miss the Freestyle World Cup next week due to a visa issue, USA Wrestling and the event organizing committee announced on Friday.
The annual international dual meet, held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City each April, features the top eight freestyle wrestling teams in the world each year.
Per a release, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley learned that the U.S. Embassy was unable to expedite the visa process for the Russian Wrestling Federation athletes, leading to their withdrawal from the event.
“Due to the staffing reduction forced on the U.S. Mission in Russia by the Russian Federation, there is very limited appointment availability for visa interviews at this time,” Grassley learned via the Consular Section of the Embassy of the United States of America in Moscow, Russia. “In the current situation, the Embassy is not able to provide expedited appointments for sporting events.”
In Russia’s absence, USA Wrestling invited Mongolia and India to participate in the World Cup instead — both of which are expected to attend.
“It is extremely unfortunate that Russia will not be able to compete at the Freestyle World Cup this year,” USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender said. “With the reality of this situation, USA Wrestling is pleased that the wrestling federations of Mongolia and India have responded to support the World Cup and are making plans to be here for the event.
“We will have an outstanding competition showcasing international wrestling in Iowa City next weekend, and we are excited to host those nations that will be attending.”
Along with the United States, Mongolia and India, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Japan, Cuba and Kazakhstan are expected to compete in the event.
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