IRVINGTON – In the mid 1990s, Asnage Castelly make his mark as a standout football player and wrestler at Irvington High School.
Now, the 37-year-old is getting ready to compete on the biggest stage at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Castelly will compete in wrestling for the country of Haiti in the freestyle 74 kg division Friday, Aug. 19.
Castelly, in fact, served as the flag bearer for Haiti during the Opening Ceremonies Aug. 5.
Castelly lives in Massachusetts and is an assistant wrestliing coach at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) in Springfield, Mass.
When he was 9 years old, Castelly and his family moved to New Jersey. Castelly attended IHS and excelled as as football player and wrestler.
After he was graduated from IHS in 1998, Castelly attended American International College in Springfield, Mass. where he continued his wrestling career on the Division 2 level.
Castelly founded the Haitian Wrestling Foundation in which he is the lone member for more than a decade.
Castelly tried to make the Olympics in 2008 and 2012 for the Beijing and London Games, but fell short both times. It appeared he didn’t make it again this year. But when he came home from a last-chance qualifier in Turkey, he received an e-mail from the United World Wrestling about being invited to the Rio Olympics as a wild card.
At the Olympics, Castelly is being coached by Albert Nieves, who is the head wrestling coach at STCC, and Nieves’ brother, Anibal, a two-time Olympian for Puerto Rico and the women’s coach at STCC.
Castelly will try to become Haiti’s first Olympic medalist in any sport since 1928. Camden native Jordan Burroughs, of the U.S., is the defending champion.