St. Mary's offers to host Far East wrestling tournament
St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo has offered to host the 2005 Far East High School Wrestling Tournament in February so that international school athletes would be able to participate.
St. Mary’s athletics director Dave Ducharme made the offer in an e-mail sent last week to Don Hobbs, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific’s Far East Activities Council chair.
Two weeks ago, DODDS-Pacific announced that future Far East tournaments in wrestling, cross country and tennis would include only DODDS teams, citing budget, facilities and billeting concerns as the reasons.
In the letter to international schools announcing DODDS-Pacific’s decision, Hobbs wrote “if an international school is willing to host and invite all DODDS-Pacific schools to a Far East tournament in tennis, cross country or wrestling, we would seriously consider participating.”
“We took that line, and we just decided to let’s give it a run,” Ducharme said Tuesday. “This thing is for our kids. A chance for them. A chance to fight for all international schools for continued access to these historic tournaments.”
Hobbs said on Tuesday that he had seen Ducharme’s proposal but had not had a chance to discuss it with DODDS-Pacific director Dr. Nancy Bresell. He said he hopes to make a decision “by the end of the week.”
DODDS-Pacific’s decision to limit the Far East tennis, cross country and wrestling tournament fields “came out of nowhere” in the middle of the fall tennis and cross country seasons, Ducharme said.
“When you get thrown a curve like that, at the start of the year, in the middle of the tennis and cross-country season, you look to find a way,” he said.
To lose the chance to take part in a Far East tournament would be a “big blow” to all international schools, Ducharme said.
“We’re looking for closure for our kids, and Far East is a good way to provide that,” he said. “Bottom line, this is solely for the kids.”
It’s too late, Ducharme said, to make similar offers to host the Far East cross country and tennis tournaments. Cross country is scheduled for Nov. 8-10 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, and tennis is Nov. 10-12 at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
This year’s DODDS-Pacific Far East wrestling tournament is scheduled for Feb. 21-23 at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
St. Mary’s gym can accommodate just two wrestling mats, so Ducharme said he would look into renting a gym in Tokyo once he gets an answer to his proposal.
Brian Kitts of Yokota High, the Far East wrestling tournament director, said that transporting DODDS teams from a host base back and forth from a downtown venue could add up to four hours onto a full day of wrestling.
“It’s great that the international schools want to stay involved,” he said. “But transportation would be the biggest problem.”