An offer by St. Mary’s International School of Tokyo to host the 2005 Far East high school wrestling tournament to enable international school wrestlers to compete has been turned down by Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific.

In an e-mail dated Sunday and sent to St. Mary’s athletics director David Ducharme, DODDS-Pacific’s Far East Activities Council chair Don Hobbs cited the distance between the host venue and the base where DODDS wrestlers would be billeted as the major reason.

“Having participants billeted a considerable distance from the tournament site is asking too much of the wrestlers,” Hobbs said in the e-mail.

Citing concerns about billeting and the availability of athletics facilities, DODDS-Pacific decided on Sept. 22 to limit the Far East wrestling, cross country and tennis tournaments to DODDS schools only.

The decision left open the possibility that DODDS teams could participate in Far East tournaments hosted by international schools.

Ducharme’s offer was made Sept. 29 in an e-mail to Hobbs. It included plans for St. Mary’s to host the tournament at a Japanese venue and to home-stay international schools participants, and for DODDS-Pacific wrestlers to stay on a military base and be bused to and from the venue.

“Participants, I have been informed, would be on buses up to four hours daily traveling to and from billeting on Yokota [Air Base] and/or other locations,” Hobbs’s e-mail stated.

Hobbs could not be reached for comment.

The DODDS-Pacific Far East wrestling tournament is scheduled for Feb. 17-19 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. It originally was scheduled for Feb. 21-23 but moved to the previous week so Yokota could “better accommodate” wrestlers, DODDS officials said earlier this month.

Ducharme said he would move forward with plans for an alternative wrestling tournament for international schools, either at Faith Academy in the Philippines, which has expressed interest in hosting one, or at St. Mary’s, “should Faith hosting it fall through.”

Plans are proceeding for an alternative Asia Pacific Invitational cross country meet on Guam Nov. 8-10, the same dates as the 2004 DODDS Far East meet at Misawa Air Base, Japan. An alternative tennis tournament for international schools in November somewhere in Tokyo has “fallen through,” Ducharme said.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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