North Macedonia hosts Referee and Coaches course, implements women's program

By United World Wrestling Press

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (May 9) -- United World Wrestling hosted the Referees and Coaches Course in North Macedonia from May 2 to 9, 2022. The course was conducted under UWW's Development department and educators Davor PETANJEK (CRO) and Georgi SREDIKOV (BUL) in Kochani, a city east of the capital Skopje.

North Macedonia will now implement a dedicated program for women's wrestling which is a significant part of UWW's 2022-2026 strategy. The program will contribute to the next stage of national training camps dedicated to women's wrestling in Macedonia.

A competition was also held for U17 wrestlers after the course to assess the referees and coaches and the educators noticed significant improvement.

macedoniaThe Referee and Coaches course was held from May 2 to 9.

"This course was a big project for us," Dragana Saveva, secretary of the North Macedonia Wrestling Federation, said. "We had a chance to learn from the best, I can't describe the changes that they made with our coaches and referees in a positive way. They learned something new, and improved their knowledge and skills."

The course was used to demonstrate the latest rules and systems to the referees while coaches were shown positive ways to motivate wrestlers, better communication and understand wrestling easily.

"I would like to thank the educators, UWW and Olympic Solidarity for helping us to improve in many ways with this project," Savena said.

The national federation submitted an official proposal for increasing the participation of girls in wrestling along with the active promotion of women's wrestling in the country. The other focus of the federation will be to improve the training conditions for women wrestlers for the 2022 season.

The wrestling federation, under the guidance of UWW, will also educate female wrestlers with information on available scholarships, benefits, tournaments and camps. UWW will develop the wrestlers' skills and focus on positive health, team spirit and self-confidence.

MKDUWW educators Davor PETANJEK (CRO), left, and Georgi SREDIKOV (BUL).

The program will target 22 local clubs and a few schools to encourage more girls to participate in wrestling. The federation will organize five camps for the clubs in five different cities namely Prilep, Kochani, Shtip, Skopje and Radovish. Singlets for the wrestlers, sports equipment, and other sports kits will be funded by the federation.

The aim of the federation is to have a team of experienced trainers for women's wrestling and a team of 100 wrestlers for national-level competition and ultimately have success at the European and Balkan Championships.

Off the mat, the national federation is keen on framing successful and supportive policies and legal frameworks for the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights.

Macedonia is one of the fastest-growing nations in women's wrestling since last year as the sports took roots around a decade back. In 2022, women's wrestling demonstrated its seventh consecutive year of growth nationally with over 100 participants from eight local wrestling clubs. The country already hosted 15 wrestling camps, and national and local championships in all age groups and has won medals in women's wrestling at the European and Balkan Championships.


The increased participation of girls in wrestling can positively impact on attendance, engagement, opportunities for girls and camps. The sport will also provide opportunities for girls and help the wrestlers establish in the local community, ensure that girls can wrestle girls, reduce the risk of injury and increase support for various clubs and have more active student-athletes.

Increasing the number of girls in wrestling will allow girls to wrestle girls instead of being forced to compete against boys. This is important in terms of the ideals of fair play as well as from a safety perspective. This also builds the idea that wrestling can be supported by the country and attract more sponsors.


Turkey hosts first UWW women's referee course

By United World Wrestling Press

ANTALYA, Turkey (May 14) --- On May 11, 2022 in beautiful Antalya Turkey, a precedent was set for all UWW Women referees. For the 1st time in United World Wrestling history, HIS-story became HER-story.  Women from 16 different countries have come together with 1 goal in mind; the advancement and recognition of Women officials within this heralded organization.

The Women's Referee Course, which consisted of two courses and three competition days, was preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, and the 2024 & 2028 Olympic Games. 28 women referees from around the world were selected to participate in this first-of-its-kind educational program. 

On the first day of the course, UWW Bureau member Lucio CANEVA attended the opening ceremony and spoke to attendance. He thanked the referees for their support. He also explained why women referees are important for wrestling and all bureau members support this program.

Instructors Antonio SILVESTRI, Ibrahim CICIOGLU and Edit DOZSA collectively contributed to ensuring a successful platform for each woman that took part. Their combined knowledge only helped to propel the confidence of all the participants whether it was about rules or team-building activities and exercises. 

Dozsa, a pioneer of women's refereeing, was fully aware and empathic of the unique struggles women face in a male-dominated sport. Having been selected for the 2008 Olympic Games, Dozsa was able to bring the women together and give them an open forum to voice their individual experiences and struggles, without contradiction or judgments. The idea was for the women to learn how to empower one another. She provided tools and support that have enabled the women to grow and learn with each other over the years.

Participants from Turkey's women's wrestling course join together for a photo. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

The group at the course was experienced and talented. While some referees had wrestled, others were carrying the family torch. Regardless of experience, each member agreed that wrestling is in their blood and has forever changed their lives, for the better.

"Being a female official has many obstacles and nothing is easy about this job," Dozsa said. "We continue to sacrifice to be a part of this wrestling culture we all love so much. This course has given us renewed hope and an optimistic outlook for the future of women referees all over the world. We came in as 28 individuals and left as 1 empowered sisterhood."

The first two days of the course were dedicated to the theoretical aspect of refereeing and important rules were discussed and explained by instructors. A practice session was organized on the second day. All the questions of the attendees were answered by the instructors who also showed critical situations like referee mechanism, out of bounds situations, takedown and control, illegal wrestling and fouls.

During the last three days of the course, referees attended the International Champions tournament for the age group in all styles. They had a chance to officiate throughout the competition in both styles which was an experience for them as well.

The course was the first step for the women referees toward their Olympic hopes. The instructors thanked UWW president Nenad LALOVIC and all the bureau members for their support. They also expressed their gratitude toward the Sports and Development Departments for their collaboration and the Turkish Wrestling Federation for their attributions.