Known for developing world champion wrestlers, the club also will offer community-use hours
(COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA) – An Olympic-caliber wrestling club will join Fast Break Sports Iowa (Omaha Sports Academy) and the Council Bluffs Pickleball Club at the Iowa West Field House later this summer. The addition of The Best Wrestler will fill the remaining unleased space, which will now feature three growing sports and recreational organizations. The Iowa West Foundation will convert the space for mat-based sports and lease it to The Best Wrestler for use by their wrestlers and other qualified non-profit organizations.
Iowa West Foundation is thrilled to be able to bring this offering to southwest Iowa.
“The Best Wrestler’s track record of success is remarkable,” said Foundation CEO Brenda Mainwaring, noting wrestling teams have come from as far away as Alaska to train with their coaches. “Not only will this partnership provide a Council Bluffs home for world-class wrestlers, but it also offers the opportunity for the community to take advantage of previously unutilized space and to draw more visitors to the Mid-America Center corridor.”
The three-mat facility with space for a coach’s office and a parent waiting area will be operated by the father-son duo of Ivan Delchev Ivanov and Georgi Ivanov.
Georgi Ivanov is a 2008 Lewis Central High School alum and a top wrestling recruit in the country for that year. He wrestled for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, winning three team championships and two individual NCAA All-American honors before completing his eligibility and bachelor’s degree at Boise State University. Georgi earned his master’s degree at Maryville University in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he was an Associate Head Coach for the wrestling team. He then qualified for the Bulgarian World Team in 2015 and Olympic team in 2016. He earned his citizenship in 2018 and is now hoping to help local athletes qualify to wrestle for Team USA.
Some of the big-name athletes the Ivanovs have coached include Riverside, Iowa sophomore, Molly Allen, a two-time state champion and a Fargo National Champion in the growing sport of girls’ wrestling and the three-time state champion from Omaha’s Millard South, 17-year-old Joel Adams, who is also a Team USA World Champion and a two-time Fargo National Champion. Adams received a scholarship to wrestle at Michigan University next fall but was given the greenlight for a gap year to train with The Best Wrestler for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
“We’re able to offer both extremely technically skilled training as well as a focus on strength and endurance and sports psychology,” Georgi Ivanov said of their reputation for success. Referencing the community use hours, he added, “We want new kids to come in and experience all wrestling has to offer and get hooked on the sport. This is an incredible opportunity for our club and for the greater community.”
Ivanov was looking to expand to a larger facility after outgrowing his current building in McClelland, Iowa. He also operates a location in Elkhorn, Neb. With 170 wrestlers, ages 5-18, enrolled, the new space will allow for continued growth and development of the club. He indicated opportunities for community use could include fitness classes, gymnastics, martial arts, boxing, or other activities that require a mat.
The new location is expected to be open in late summer.
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