The 2018 World Wrestling Championships was held in Budapest, Hungary from October 20-27, 2018. The team comprising of Florian Temengil, Cristian Nicolescu, Blesam Tarkong, Guy Delumeau and coach John Tarkong Jr. spent 2 weeks training in the United World Wrestling Training Camp in preparation for this event. All 4 wrestlers were the gold medalist during the recent Micronesian Games in Yap, FSM.

Temengil was the first to attack and score on his opponent Cartiel P. Muriel of Argentina. Temengil scored 2 points for a takedown and another 2 points for rolling his opponent to his back during the first period of the match. Temengil got another 2 point takedown on Muriel to lead the match 6-0, but Muriel came back to roll Temengil twice earning 4 points with a score of 6-4 in favor of Temengil. After the first period of the match, Temengil later scored another point to lead 7-4 but it was Muriel who came back with a throw and upset to win the match by fall with only 48 seconds left in the match. Temengil ranked 18 out of 22 wrestlers.

Other wrestlers that competed included Blesam Tarkong who went against Pankaj R of India but lost by 10-0. Blesam also wrestled in the Greco Roman Style against J. De Brito Ram (Brazil) but lost 10-0. Guy Delumeau wrestled in the freestle 74kg weight division against Mostafa M. Hseeinkhani of Iran. Unfortunately, Cristian Nicolscu was unable to compete in the mens freestyle 65kg division. Although Cristian was able to show up the next day for the weigh-in on the day of the competition, he was not able to do so because the changes and new rules in place required that the coach be present during the draw the day before to pick from the draw. According to UWW, only those teams without coaches were allowed to do so and the official would then draw on their behalf but since Palau’s team had a coach and was not present during the draw the day before the weigh-in, our athlete was taken out of the freestyle 65kg bracket and could not compete the next day. According to Coach Tarkong, this was a huge blow to our team especially for our athlete who trained hard over the past 2 weeks. Tarkong mentioned that he realized that it was his fault and made a mistake thinking the official would select the draw as it was done the day before when he was present and during the Oceania Championships earlier this year. However, this was not the case and Tarkong deeply apologized for his mistake and mentioned that without a doubt if Cristian had competed I’m sure he would have given his best performance at this event.

Overall, the World Championships had the best athletes in the world competing at this event and it was really tough and challenging for our athletes to compete at this level, but they gave it their best. What’s next, well according to Coach Tarkong, we need to do more and train even harder in order to achieve our goals and to get there, it’s no secret that if we want to be successful, this requires a great deal of work and time. In doing so, our athletes need to train harder, take part in more competitions and make those sacrifices and commitments in order to improve and experience success. I’m hoping that we can return home, set our goal to aim high for next years’ qualification at the World Championships (1st Olympic Qualifier), but in order to do so, we need to focus on the smaller goals in order to improve. If we can challenge ourselves by putting more time and effort into our training to include strength, conditioning and more quality wrestling and give it our best especially if our athletes can stay focused on their training, they can get the most out of all the time and effort they put in, then and only then can we can then think about competing at other tournaments leading up to the next World Championships. However, realizing what needs to be done and planning is easy, but the other cost in being successful means more funding to do just that.

On behalf of Palau’s wrestling team, we would like to thank our sponsors to include the Palau Natlonal Olympic Committee (PNOC), WCTC, Palau Pacific Resort, the Etpison Foundation, the Office of the President, Kaleb Udui & Associates, our families, friends and everyone else that helped support our athletes and team to compete in this major event. In line with the upcoming qualifications and training preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games, our wrestling team will focus on returning back home and then see how we can best prepare, train and prepare for next year.