Kyle Snyder at the 2018 World Championships (Photo/Larry Slater)
NEW YORK -- Kyle Snyder, who won gold at 97 kg the 2016 Olympics in Rio, will battle Canada's Nishan Randhawa at the "Grapple at the Garden" Beat the Streets (BTS) benefit, May 6 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The addition of the superstar and longtime BTS supporter plus a matchup between two-time national champion Yianni Diakomahlis (Rochester, N.Y.) and Bajrang Punia (India) increases the current number of scheduled matches to eight.
Snyder, of Woodbine, Md., a three-time NCAA champion at Ohio State, will battle Randhawa at 97 kg. The youngest Olympic gold medalist and youngest world champion in U.S. wrestling history (he was 20 at the time of the Rio victory), Snyder also took gold at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships and silver last year in Budapest. Last month he continued his dominance with a clean sweep at the Dave Kolov International to win gold. Randhawa, from Abbotsford, British Columbia, competes for Simon Fraser Univ. in B.C. and is a Canadian junior and senior freestyle champion.
Diakomahlis completed his second season at Cornell with his second straight national championship at 141 lbs., and now owns a mark of 66-1 with the Big Red, including 47 straight victories. A four-time N.Y. state high school champion at Hilton H.S., Diakomahlis is a two-time Ivy League and EIWA Wrestler of the Year and a unanimous All-Ivy pick.
Bajrang, a frequent medalist in the World Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and other international championships since 2013, last November achieved the No. 1 ranking in the world at 65kg. Bajrang won five medals in all in 2018, including the historic first gold medal for India in the Asian Games, besting Daichi Takatani of Japan in the final.
"We're excited to have our most recent Olympic gold medalist and one of our greatest ambassadors back this year," said Brendan Buckley, Beat the Streets Inc Executive Director. "Kyle Snyder adds to a night that fans have buzzing about for weeks. We can't wait until May 6 to showcase all this outstanding wrestling talent on the big stage of the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden."
The added matchups boost an already impressive slate that is highlighted by featured bouts between 2012 gold medalist Jordan Burroughs and 2008 Olympian Ben Askren; a match between current NCAA champion Nick Suriano (Paramus, N.J. / Rutgers Univ.) and 2018 World bronze medalist Joe Colon (Clear Lake, Iowa / Univ. of Northern Iowa); women's bouts between 2018 World Silver Medalist Sarah Hildebrandt (Granger, Ind.) and Canada's Dana Weicker, and 2018 Senior World Championships Bronze Medalist Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif.) vs. Linda Morais, also of Canada; and several other intriguing bouts.
The updated list of matches and weight classes is available below; the order is still to be determined, as are additional matchups. "Grapple at the Garden" supports Beat the Streets (www.btsny.org), the largest grassroots inner city wrestling program in the United States, serving as both a fundraiser for the organization and to celebrate its athletes as they compete on the biggest stage in the center of the world.
Tickets for the evening's action are available now via TicketMaster, priced starting at $30 at https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/3B005668AA091B69. A variety of donation packages which include "Grapple in the Garden" tickets are also available at https://www.btsny.org/bts-events or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, beginning at $1000. Doors open on May 6 at 5:30 p.m., with the main event starting at 6 p.m.
For the fifth straight year, FloSports will provide live and on-demand coverage on FloWrestling.com.
Beat the Streets Benefit competitions, which began in 2010, have since become a major showcase of the best of international wrestling. This unique and electrifying annual event has helped Beat the Streets raise millions of dollars to support local youth wrestling programs which empower young people in New York City.
The first Beat the Streets Benefit was held on the U.S.S. Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. Since then, the benefit has taken place at other notable New York City spots like Grand Central Station and Times Square. Team USA has faced off against teams from around the world including Japan, Cuba, Russia and Iran. Last year, the competition was hosted at the new Pier 17 in the Seaport District and included the highly anticipated Burroughs vs. Frank Chamizo match.
New York City's Madison Square Garden is one of the most famous sporting and entertainment venues in the world. The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden is an impressive venue with the capacity to seat over 5,000. The theater has hosted notable wrestling events including the 1998 Goodwill Games wrestling competition and the 2017 Grapple at the Garden college wrestling event.
About Beat the Streets
The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTS works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to bring the life changing sport of wrestling to over 3,000 New York City student-athletes to help them achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTS and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life lessons of grit, personal responsibility and teamwork, physical fitness and nutrition, and life-long learning. The goal of fostering strong, well-rounded student-athletes is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, life skills workshops, and summer camps. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. It has over 230,000 members across the nation, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, representing all levels of the sport. Its president is Bruce Baumgartner, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender. More information can be found at TheMat.com.
Sarah Hildebrandt vs. Diana Weicker, 53 kg (W)
Mallory Velte vs. Linda Morais, 62 kg (W)
Jo Jo Aragona vs. Adam Busiello, 138 lbs.
Nick Suriano vs. Joe Colon, 61 kg
Bajrang Punia (IND) vs. Yianni Diakomihalis, 65 kg
James Green vs. Anthony Ashnault, 70 kg
Jordan Burroughs vs Ben Askren, 74 kg
Kyle Snyder vs. Nishan Randhawa (CAN), 97 kg