By Markos Tsegaye
Patrick Smith, wrestler for the Minnesota Storm, was in Croatia in February to compete in the Zagreb Open Ranking Tournament.
Smith says the experience in Croatia was a good test to see where he was at in terms of his preparation for the World Championships this September in Serbia.
He came into the Zagreb Open at 159 pounds or 72 kilograms.
“It’s always one of the better tournaments in the world,” Smith said. “I had three really good matches and saw a lot of different looks.”
Smith won his opening match against Krisztofer Klanyi (Hungary) before losing his next two matches to Saijad Ali (Iran) and Jamol Jumabaev (Uzbekistan). After competing, Smith participated in a training camp in Croatia which was of value to him.
Before the tournament, he understood that his performance had to be good considering it
was a ranking event. Results from United World Wrestling’s (UWW) four Ranking Series events give wrestlings ranking points for seeding at the 2023 World Championships. Smith, currently ranked 33rd in the World in UWW’s most recent rankings, said he’ll now use the experience in Croatia as a ‘catapult’ to build toward the World Championships.
“I know where I have to be at if I want to be on the podium next September,” Smith said. “I have to increase the capacity to go harder.”
Smith’s focus is clear as he believes his time in Croatia can be the experience he needed for his next phase of preparation.