Wrestling Pan-American Championships: Preview, schedule, stars to watch

Mexico will host the best wrestlers in the Americas from 5-8 May, as the Pan-American Championships arrive in Acapulco. Find out everything you need to know below. 

By Sean McAlister
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Wrestling's Pan-American Championships will take place this weekend in Acapulco, Mexico with 285 athletes from 20 different nations travelling to the coastal town with one thing on their minds - to challenge for the region's highest honours.

From London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Jordan Burroughs and Rio 2016 champion Ismael Borrero, to the USA's first-ever Olympic champion Helen Maroulis and Mexico's first female Olympic wrestler, Jane Valencia, discover the stars to watch from 5-8 May.

Wrestlers to watch out for at the Pan-American Championships

In the women’s competition, Maroulis will be one of the headline acts at the championships. The Rio 2016 57kg champion added bronze to her Olympic medal collection at the Tokyo 2020 Games and comes into the competition as the reigning world champion having grappled to gold at last year’s Worlds in Oslo.

Maroulis will face stiff competition from the likes of Brazil's Giullia Penalber, who won gold at the last two Pan-American Championships, including the 2020 edition in Otowa and the 2021 edition in Guatemala City.

Sarah Hildebrandt will also be among the favourites in the 50kg category, having won the competition at the last Pan-American Championships. The 28-year-old from the USA comes into the competition on the back of winning bronze at last year's Olympics, albeit in the 53kg category.

Keep an eye on Jane Valencia, who became Mexico's first-ever female Olympic wrestler when she competed at Tokyo 2020. The athlete, who is a doctor by profession, will be cheered on by a home crowd as she aims for gold in the 57kg category.

Also look out for the new breed of wrestling stars, including Ecuador's Lucia Yepez who won 53kg gold at the U23 World Championships and will move up to 55kg for these Pan-Am Championships.

Jordan Burroughs 
Picture by 2012 Getty Images

The men's freestyle competition sees some of the sport's biggest names return to the mat, including Burroughs, who will battle for victory in the 79kg category having previously won Olympic gold at London 2012 and a total of five World Championships golds at 74kg. Burroughs is also a four-time Pan-American Championships gold medallist, with his latest victory coming at the 2020 edition in Ottowa.

Kyle Snyder will also compete in Acapulco, having won silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to add to his Rio 2016 gold at 97kg. Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist and three-time world champion Kyle Dake will be hoping to defend the gold he won at the Pan-American Championships in Guatemala.

In the Greco-Roman competition, Cuba will send a number of champions to the arena, with Borrero - winner of the Rio 2016 gold medal at 59kg - competing in the 67kg category and three-time Pan-Am champion Oscar Pino Hinds competing in the highest weight category, 130kg.

Reigning 82kg Pan-American champion Ben Provisor from the USA will be battling for victory in Mexico, as will 97kg champion Kevin Mejia Castillo - Honduras' first-ever Pan-American wrestling champion - and Dominican Republic's 130kg champ Leo Santana.

Full schedule

Thursday, 5 May

  • 10:00-13:00h: GR Qualification rounds & repechage: 55, 60, 63, 67, 72, 97,130 kg
  • 17:00-19:30h: Finals GR: 55, 60, 63, 67, 72, 97, 130 kg

Friday, 6 May

  • 10-12:30h: Qualification rounds & repechage: GR – 77, 82, 87 kg & WW – 55, 59, 65, 72 kg
  • 17-19:30h: Finals GR – 77, 82, 87 kg & WW – 55, 59, 65, 72 kg

Saturday, 7 May

  • 10-13:30h: Qualification rounds & repechage: WW – 50, 53, 57, 62, 68, 76 kg & FS – 79, 92 kg
  • 17-19:30h: Finals WW – 50, 53, 57, 62, 68, 76 kg & FS – 79, 92 kg

Sunday, 8 May

  • 10-14:00h: Qualification rounds & repechage: FS – 57, 61, 65, 70, 74, 86, 97, 125 kg
  • 17-19:30h: Finals: FS – 57, 61, 65, 70, 74, 86, 97, 125 kg

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