US wrestlers pull out of Venezuela tournament over safety

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) The U.S. junior wrestling team has withdrawn from a regional championship this month in crisis-wracked Venezuela over security concerns.

Gary Abbott, a spokesman for USA Wrestling, said there was uncertainty about transport from the capital Caracas to the tournament venue in the central city of Barinas.

He didn't elaborate but it is possible that Venezuela's recent descent into chaos could've given second thoughts.

Like many cities in the depressed interior Barinas has been ravaged in recent months by daily blackouts, food riots and clashes between police and anti-government protesters. Venezuela also has one of the world's highest murder rates and its socialist government is hostile to the U.S.

Organizers of the Junior Pan-American Championship said they regretted the Americans' decision. The tournament is expected to draw 300 wrestlers from 15 countries.

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