Stadnik, Chasing Olympic Gold, Confirms Run for '24 Paris Games

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (January 10) – Mariya STADNIK (AZE) officially put an end to the rumors that she’s hanging up her wrestling shoes, as she told United World Wrestling she's committed to competing through the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. 

There was a slew of retirement announcements following the Tokyo Olympics, and it was heavily speculated that the 33-year-old mother-of-two would call an end to her career after she won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games – her fourth Olympic medal in as many tries. But the nine-time European champion (seven European Championships and two European Games) squashed the rumors, saying she still believes in her potential and has a burning passion for the sport.

“I think that as long as I have the desire to wrestle, I should fulfill all my potential,” Stadnik said. “I made this decision to continue wrestling as soon as I came back home [from Tokyo]. All my relatives and friends believe in me very much.  My son wants me to go on wrestling because he says I am very strong.”

Stadnik, who has a combined ten Worlds and Olympic medals and only ten losses since she made her senior-level debut at the 2008 Golden Grand Prix in Baku, sits alongside Kaori ICHO (JPN) and Saori YOSHIDA (JPN) as the only women in the Games history to claim a quartet of Olympic medals.

If she reaches the podium in Paris, she’d become the first-ever wrestler – male or female – to win five Olympic medals in one style. Furthermore, if Stadnik wins that long-awaited Olympic gold, she’d become the oldest Olympic champion in women’s wrestling by a long shot.

Icho, who won her Rio Olympic title at 32-years-and-2-months-old, holds the current record. Stadnik will be 35-years-and-8-months-old during the ’24 Paris Games.

“I would really love to have five Olympic medals. Each medal is a part of my life story; it’s a part of my way. There are five Olympic Rings, so having five Olympic medals would make history," she said.

But Stadnik, who won a bronze in Beijing and silver in London and Rio, understands that to sustain greatness at her age, she has to listen to her body and can’t compete as often as she once did.

“Competing four or five tournaments a year is perfect for me,” Stadnik explained. “The only problem I might have before going to Paris is I don’t know how my body would react to training. I have some experience that I need to use in the right way in order to compensate for that energy I had when I was 20 years old.”

Owing to a similar reason, the 2019 world champion has limited her participation in tournaments in past. In 2019 and 2021, she participated only in two competitions each year, perhaps to keep her body healthy and reduce the burden of cutting weight before competitions. Although she didn’t say when she plans on lacing up her shoes next, Stadnik is expected to compete at the ’22 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary (March 28 – April 3).

Stadnik's Resume:
Olympic Games: 🥈🥈🥉🥉
World Championships:🥇🥇🥈🥈🥈🥉
Euro Championships: 🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇
European Games: 🥇🥇

11th Island Games: 24 disciplines on The Program

By United World Wrestling Press

Madagascar is gearing up to host the '23 Island Games. Today, the International Games Committee (ICJ) announced wrestling as one of the 24 disciplines that'll be featured on next year's Island Games event calendar.

Since the beginning of 2020, UWW wrote to the NOCs of Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and France for the Reunion Island to include wrestling at these Games.

As part of the UWW Regional Development Educational Tournaments for smaller wrestling nations, these Games would create a pathway for these nations to attend major competitions and create a pathway for their participation at our international championships. These Games, among others, are fully funded by the governments and Sports Ministry, therefore, it is important for wrestling to be part of such events.

United World Wrestling's President, Mr. Lalovic, stated, “As beach wrestling is in the Youth Olympic Games 2026, we need to provide opportunities and competitions that reflect the needs of our smaller wrestling nations with the guidance and assistance of the various development programmes provided by the UWW Technical Assistance and Development Commission.

Après plusieurs reports, la réunion du Comité International des Jeux (CIJ) a finalement eu lieu depuis hier et ce, jusqu’à ce jour au Novotel. La préparation des 11è Jeux des îles de l’Océan Indien en 2023 à Madagascar est au programme de cette réunion. Cinq îles sont présentes à Ivandry à savoir les représentants de l’île Maurice, les Seychelles, les Maldives, les Comores et Madagascar. La Réunion et Mayotte participent par visioconférence.

A un an et demi de l’événement, Madagascar affiche sa volonté d’organiser ce plus grand rendez-vous des sportifs des îles de l’Océan indien. « La question ne devrait plus se poser. La compétition aura bel et bien lieu au pays et l’Etat fera tout le nécessaire pour que la fête soit belle. C’était depuis la première réunion avortée en novembre 2020 causée par la pandémie de Covid-19 que Madagascar a affiché son engagement. Ce seront les 3es jeux organisés au pays après 1990 et 2007. De nombreuses infrastructures ont été construites ou en cours de construction comme les piscines olympiques, les gymnases qui seront achevés d’ici le mois de décembre 2022 », a fait savoir, Hawel Mamod’Ali, ministre de la Jeunesse et des sports. Le comité d’organisation des Jeux des îles a été officialisé, hier, présidé par le numéro un du sport malgache. Les différentes commissions seront mises en place et seront opérationnelles pour le bon déroulement des jeux.

Jeux décentralisés. 24 disciplines de compétition et 4 de démonstration seront au programme de ces 11è jeux des îles. Toutes les disciplines collectives à savoir le handball, le football, le rugby, le basketball et le volley-ball seront toutes au rendez-vous, une grande première. La lutte, la pétanque, le taekwondo et le karaté font leur retour. Le surf, le sport équestre, le beach-soccer, le basket 3×3, le kick-boxing et le tir à l’arc font leur entrée comme disciplines des jeux. Mais pour que la discipline soit réellement au programme, il faut l’engagement d’au moins trois pays. Ces jeux seront décentralisés et les autres régions ne seront pas en reste lors de cet évènement. « La compétition des disciplines collectives pourra se disputer dans les régions », a expliqué Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, président du comité olympique malgache. Les représentants des différentes îles sont satisfaits de l’engagement de Madagascar en particulier pour l’organisation de cette réunion malgré le contexte sanitaire.

To see the full list of the 24 disciplines that'll be featured on the Island Games event plan, visit Midi Madagasikara's site ... here