UWW Academy

UWW Academy Launches Three New Programmes

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (September 22) – United World Wrestling’s IT and Development Departments launched three new programmes on UWW Academy, the official educational learning platform for coaches, referees and athletes. 

The United World Wrestling Academy is an integrated online learning portal designed to provide information, tools and resources in order to support and enhance the knowledge and value of the discipline of wrestling. 

Periodization in Planning, Coaching Philosophy and Programme Development are the three programmes that launched in English on Wednesday morning.

“The IT and Development Departments of UWW are very excited to launch these additional programmes on the UWW Academy” said UWW’s Development Director, Deqa Niamkey. “The wrestling community worldwide has shown great interest for the platform, and therefore, we must continue to pursue these developments to further expand wrestling knowledge worldwide.”

‘Periodization in Planning’ looks at the basics of implementing periodization into training. It covers the benefits of periodization, different methods for periodization, and covers key points and questions regarding the implementation of this planning. 

‘Coaching Philosophy’ will help coaches develop their coaching philosophy.  It is an interactive course where coaches will learn and answer questions regarding their philosophy.  The coaches will learn about three areas: self-awareness, their purpose, and the different types of leaders.  Then, they will use their answers to draft their coaching philosophy statement. 

‘The Programme Development' course focuses on the key concepts on how a coach would develop their program or team. The course begins by helping them develop a plan and set goals.  It then extensively covers how to develop and implement a training plan.  The course also helps coaches develop a vision statement, budget and financial strategies, use social media for promotion, and create a risk management plan. 

Outside of the newly-released Periodization in Planning, Coaching Philosophy and Programme Development programmes, other helpful UWW Academy resources and courses included: 

- Ready to Wrestle
- UWW Online Rules Test 
- Introduction to Coaching and Safety   
- Introduction to Practice Planning  
- Introduction to Refereeing 

- Wrestle4Fun
- United World Wrestling Coaching Pathway
- United World Wrestling Referee Pathway 
- Anti-doping and WADA Programs 
- IOC Programs 
- E-Journals and Performance Analysis for UWW Competitions 

For more details on the educational courses and resources that the UWW Academy has to offer, please visit www.uwwacademy.org.


Vinesh makes successful drop to 50kg, earns shot at 3rd Olympics

By Ken Marantz

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (April 20) -- Two-time Olympian VINESH (IND) took the best remaining path available to her to the Paris Olympics and did her best impression of the storming of the Bastille.

Vinesh dropped down to 50kg for the first time since 2018 and rolled to three consecutive technical falls, the last over Laura GANIKYZY (KAZ), to secure one of India's three tickets to Paris in women's wrestling at the Asian Olympic Qualifier on Saturday in Bishkek.

"It was difficult," said Vinesh, a two-time world bronze medalist at 53kg who will be looking to make up for past disappointments at the 2016 Rio and 2021 Tokyo Olympics. "But when you win, everything becomes worth it. I will say that I will be at peace for four to five days, but my main target is the Olympics. I will try to do what I couldn’t do in the last two Olympics. I can do better at this Olympics."

It was also a good night for China and the DPR Korea, which secured three Paris berths each, as well as Uzbekistan, which earned the first-ever Olympic quota in women's wrestling in its history. Host Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia captured one each as the teams did not have to contend with the powerful Japanese, who had already gained spots in all six weight classes.

"Competition is competition," the 29-year-old Vinesh said. "It is not that only if China and Japan are competing alongside you that it becomes a competition. Everyone becomes strong on the mat."

Combined with the quotas won at the World Championships last year in Belgrade, China and India have four each, and Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and DPR Korea have three apiece.

Two medalists from Tokyo, 53kg silver medalist Qianyu PANG (CHN) and 68kg bronze medalist Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ), were among the victors, as those who came up short will have a final chance at the World Olympic Qualifier in Istanbul on May 9-12.

Vinesh PHOGAT (IND)VINESH (IND) controls Laura GANIKYZY (KAZ) in their 53kg Paris Olympic qualification bout. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

Vinesh, long one of the top wrestlers in the world at 53kg, put principles ahead of personal gain when she skipped the Indian trials for last year's World Championships to join in protests against the nation's wrestling federation, which had been suspended by the UWW (since lifted) for failing to address harassment allegations against a top official.

In her place, ANTIM (IND) won the bronze medal at 53kg to earn one of the five Paris quotas in the weight class. For Vinesh to ensure a trip to a third Olympics, she needed to either go up to 57kg or drop to 50kg. She briefly considered the former before opting for the latter. In her last appearance at 50kg, she won the 2018 Asian Games gold, then made the jump up to 53kg.

"I did the weight switch because I didn’t have any option, not out of happiness," said Vinesh, who underwent surgery last August on her left knee. "But I won a quota for my country in the 50kg category. I am happy that I can go to the Olympics. Whether I go in the 50kg category or in the 53kg category, that will be decided in the trials but whatever it is, I won a quota for my country."

Her accomplishments are remarkable and put her among the greats in the sport -- in addition to world bronzes from 2019 and 2022, she has seven Asian medals, including a gold from 2021. All that is missing is a medal from the Olympics, where she has experienced much pain, both physical and emotional.

In 2016, she left the mat in Rio on a stretcher after suffering a broken knee in the quarterfinals against Sun YANAN (CHN). At Tokyo, she was ranked No. 1 but was ousted in the quarterfinals by Vanessa KALADZINSKAYA (AIN). "My body is not broken, but truly I am," she told the Indian Express of her mental fatigue.

Vinesh competed sparingly after that, winning the gold at the Commonwealth Games and bronze at the World Championships in 2022.

"It’s taken so much hard work and struggle," Vinesh said. "I have been away from the mat for 1 1/2 years. I have come back after an operation. Many people have suggested that I should not go in the 50kg category because I could get re-injured.

"But I did not have any option. It was a do-or-die situation. I chose the die option."

On Sunday, she looked like she had never been away from the mat. Against Ganikyzy, who was making her senior international debut, Vinesh opened the scoring with a 2-point counter lift while on the activity clock, then added a double-leg takedown for a 4-0 lead at the break.

In the second period, Vinesh spun behind on a takedown attempt, then reeled off a pair of gut wrenches to end the match at 4:18.

Looking ahead to Paris, Vinesh knows what she needs to do to be prepared and avoid the pitfalls of the previous Olympics.

"Firstly, I will have to manage my weight a lot better," she said. "I have brought myself down to 50kg after so long so I will try and maintain this as much as I can. It’s not easy for me not to put on weight because my muscle mass is very high. Because of that, I gain weight easily. It doesn’t matter how fit I am, I still gain weight because I have a lot of muscle mass. I just want to control my weight. I have four months left, and every day is very important.

"I just want to try my best. It's been 20 years since I've been wrestling. I just want an Olympic medal. Everyone is working for that."

Aktenge KEUNIMJAEVA (UZB)Aktenge KEUNIMJAEVA (UZB) celebrates after making history by becoming the first woman from Uzbekistan to clinch a spot in the Olympics. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Amirreza Aliasgari)

Historic win for Uzbekistan

In the preceding 50kg bout, Aktenge KEUNIMJAEVA (UZB) made history by becoming the first woman from Uzbekistan to clinch a spot in the Olympics when she hung on desperately for a 4-2 victory over Meng Hsuan HSIEH (TPE). Keunimjaeva said she knew she was on the precipice of history going into the match.

"I knew that and I tried hard to achieve it," she said. "We’ve been training hard for three years now, we never had an Olympic spot and we wanted it so much. We worked so hard together with the coaches, together with the whole wrestling federation of Uzbekistan."

Keunimjaeva took a 3-0 lead with a single-leg takedown while Hsieh was on the activity clock. But her late shot for another was countered, and Hsieh slipped behind for 2 with five seconds left in the first period.

Keunimjaeva, who took a timeout for treatment on her knee, kept shooting in the second period, and although she could not finish one off, she ate away at the clock. In the final seconds, Keumjaeva clung onto Hsieh's toes for dear life to keep her from getting behind on a counter.

A challenge was unsuccessful, and Keunimjaeva reversed their meeting at the 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier at 53kg which was won 16-8 by Hsieh, although neither wrestler ended up qualifying.

Like Vinesh, Keunimjaeva had moved down from 53kg and found success at the lower weight.

"I used to wrestle at 53kg," she said. "However, I wanted to compete at this Olympics so much, so I went down to 50kg. I know that this weight class is very competitive. There are many good wrestlers: the world and Olympic champion from Japan, there is a very strong Mongolian wrestler, also a Chinese one. I think they are the toughest opponents."

Hyogyong CHOE (PRK)Hyogyong CHOE (PRK) and Qianyu PANG (CHN) qualified the DPR Korea and China for the Paris Olympics at 53kg. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

The DPR Korea will be back in the Olympics for the first time since 2016, having opted not to participate in the qualifying for the Tokyo Games. The country returned to the post-pandemic international stage for the first time in four years at last October's Asian Games in China, and its three victors on Saturday had all won medals there.

Hyogyong CHOE (PRK) got the ball rolling at 53kg with a 4-0 victory over ageless Zhuldyz ESHIMOVA (KAZ), an eight-time Asian medalist dating back to 2007 who was attempting to qualify for her third Olympics and first since 2016.

Choe, an Asian Games bronze medalist, gained an activity point in the first period, then scored a stepout in the second period while she was on the clock. She clinched the victory with a single-leg takedown.

In the other bout at 53kg, China's Pang cruised to a 10-0 victory over Shokhida AKHMEDOVA (UZB) to deny Uzbekistan a second berth on its historic night.

Pang, the Zagreb Open champion and Asian Games silver medalist, forced her way behind for an opening takedown, then got a 2-point tilt and a pair of gut wrenches for an 8-0 lead. In the second period, Pang eluded a single-leg attempt and spun behind for the clinching takedown.

"I feel like my performance was much better than in previous tournaments," Pang said. "My goal never changed, I still want to be an Olympic champion. I still need to work hard enough. Every step is difficult, and I hope I can improve step by step."

Asked about the 53kg division, topped by current world champion Akari FUJINAMI (JPN), Pang replied, "They [opponents] are very good, but I think the charm of competitive sports lies in this -- no matter how good they are, you still have a chance to win. I must believe that I can succeed."

Kexin HONG (CHN)Kexin HONG (CHN) pins In Sun JONG (PRK) to win at 57kg. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

Pang's compatriot and fellow Zagreb Open champion Kexin HONG (CHN) followed by securing a Paris ticket at 57kg, but she needed a miracle victory over In Sun JONG (PRK) which also avenged a loss at the Asian Games. Hong managed to not only come back from an eight-point deficit to tie the match, but she secured a fall.

Jong opened the match with a single-leg takedown, then put on a fine display of counter wrestling with back-to-back counter-lifts to make it 6-0, then added another to take an 8-0 lead into the break.

But when Jong shot right off the whistle in the second period, Hong got behind for a takedown and added a lace-lock roll to cut the gap to 8-4. Hong then worked out of a deep single for a takedown, flipped Jong onto her back and secured the fall at 4:36, getting payback for a 4-2 loss to Hong in the Asian Games semifinals.

ANSHU (IND)ANSHU (IND) confirmed a Paris Olympic quota for India at 57kg. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Amirreza Aliasgari)

Tokyo Olympian ANSHU (IND), the 2021 world silver medalist at 57kg, earned a likely trip back to the Olympics with an 11-0 rout of Laylokhon SOBIROVA (UZB).

The three-time Asian medalist gained an opening takedown and added a pair of gut wrenches for a quick 6-0 lead. After that, she spun behind for a takedown, and just barely gained a 2-point tilt at the edge to end the match. An unsuccessful challenge of the exposure added the final point.

Anshu downplayed the fact that she was in the opposite bracket from Jong and Hong. "It feels great to have qualified for the Olympics," she said. "How the brackets are is not in my hands. My mindset was only that I have to qualify irrespective of who my opponent is. My bouts were good. If the wrestlers from China and the DPR Korea were on my side, I would have gone with the same mindset that I have to qualify."

Anshu prepared for the competition by traveling to Japan, where she trained with Fujinami and the rest of the team at the powerful Nippon Sports Science University.

"I did benefit by training there [with Fujinami at NSSU]," Anshu said. "I worked a lot on the mistakes I was making. There is always a mindset about Japanese wrestlers about how to wrestle them or tackle them. So if you are training with the top wrestlers and legends there and competing well, then you get a lot of confidence for your competitions."

Orkhon PUREVDORJ (MGL)Orkhon PUREVDORJ (MGL), right, and Hyon Gyong MUN (PRK) after winning the 62kg quotas for Mongolia and the DPR Korea. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

At 62kg, former world champion Orkhon PUREVDORJ (MGL) proved too much for unheralded Hanbit LEE (KOR), scoring a fall to earn a ticket to the Olympics for the first time since 2016.

Purevdorj, who won her lone Asian gold in Bishkek in 2018, used a single for a takedown, then applied an arm bar and plied her opponent over for the fall in 1:56.

Asian Games champion Hyon Gyong MUN (PRK) captured the other 62kg ticket by scraping out a 6-0 victory over 2022 world bronze medalist MANSI (IND).

Mun used a 2-on-1 arm drag for a takedown and a 2-0 first-period lead. In the second period, she got creative in countering a single-leg attempt, spinning over the back and getting behind before clinching the win with a spin-behind takedown.

Mun had advanced to the qualifying match with an impressive win over Tokyo Olympian Jia LONG (CHN), the 2023 Asian gold medalist at 65kg, taking a 4-0 lead before sending Long to her back with a headlock and winning by fall.

At the Asian Games, Mun famously defeated 2022 world champion Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) in the final to establish her credentials after placing fifth at the 2019 Asian Championships.

Both the 68kg and 76kg divisions had just seven entries, meaning the wrestlers were split into round-robin groups and some had to get through three matches before the final.

Sol Gum PAK (PRK)Sol Gum PAK (PRK) stopped this last-ditch attempt from Feng ZHOU (CHN) to win at 68kg. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

At 68kg, Sol Gum PAK (PRK) gave the DPR Korea its third win in four matches with a thrilling 7-4 victory over three-time Asian Games champion and two-time Olympian Feng ZHOU (CHN).

Pak, who needed to beat Zhumanazarova in her final round-robin group match to pip NISHA (IND) for second place, opened with a takedown, but the lanky Zhou came back with a counter lift from a front body lock to lead 2-2 on criteria at the break.

In the second period, Pak went ahead with a single-leg takedown from an underhook. As the clock was ticking down, Zhou secured a front headlock and tried to muscle Pak over. Pak stopped the throw long enough to get a 2-point exposure before Zhou completed the roll, putting Pak up 6-4. An unsuccessful challenge upheld Pak's exposure.

Zhumanazarova, the 2021 world champion who is somewhat overshadowed by the exploits of popular compatriots Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) and Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ), lived up to the expectations of the home crowd, scoring five quick points late in the final seconds of the first period and easing to a 7-2 win over two-time Asian medalist Nabira ESENBAEVA (UZB).

REETIKA (IND)REETIKA (IND) gave India its third Paris 2024 quota with an untroubled 7-0 victory over Hui Tsz CHANG (TPE). (Photo: United World Wrestling / Amirreza Aliasgari)

At 76kg, world U23 champion REETIKA (IND) gave India its third win of the night with an untroubled 7-0 victory over Hui Tsz CHANG (TPE).

Reetika scored a pair of takedowns by spinning to the side off a front headlock, then added a stepout for a 5-0 lead. She used the same tactic to add another takedown in the second period, then kept Chang at bay to run out the clock in her fourth match of the day.

Asian Games bronze medalist Juan WANG (CHN) became the third Chinese winner with a 6-1 victory over Zhamila BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ), the losing finalist at the Asian Games where both lost to Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ).

Wang went ahead 1-1 on criteria with an activity point in the second period, then put the match away in the final seconds when she got behind Bakbergenova in the standing position, and fell backwards to roll her over her for 4. An unsuccessful challenge added the final point.



Paris 2024 Qualification Matches

Women's Wrestling

Aktenge KEUNIMJAEVA (UZB) df. Meng Hsuan HSIEH (TPE), 4-2
VINESH (IND) df. Laura GANIKYZY (KAZ) by TF, 10-0, 4:18

Qianyu PANG (CHN) df. Shokhida AKHMEDOVA (UZB) by TF, 10-0, 4:03
Hyogyong CHOE (PRK) df. Zhuldyz ESHIMOVA (KAZ), 4-0

Kexin HONG (CHN) df. In Sun JONG (PRK) by Fall, 4:35 (8-6)
ANSHU (IND) df. Laylokhon SOBIROVA (UZB) by TF, 11-0, 2:48

Orkhon PUREVDORJ (MGL) df. Hanbit LEE (KOR) by Fall, 1:56 (4-0)
Hyon Gyong MUN (PRK) df. MANSI (IND), 6-0

Sol Gum PAK (PRK) df. Feng ZHOU (CHN), 7-4

REETIKA (IND) df. Hui Tsz CHANG (TPE), 7-0
Juan WANG (CHN) df. Zhamila BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ), 6-1