UWW development reaches beyond borders in landmark year

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 22) -- A programme that provides more opportunities for women to progress into leadership roles, courses designed to educate coaches and referees, opening the doors to world-class training facilities to wrestlers from across the globe by partnering with INSEP keeping in mind the Paris Olympics, a multitude of anti-doping initiatives and restarting the refugee camp projects.

As 2022 draws to a close, the United World Wrestling looks back at a series of initiatives undertaken all through the years with an aim to consolidate the present and leap into a better tomorrow. These programmes ranged from humanitarian to technical, governance to education.

One of the highlights of the year is the re-starting of the refugee camp project in Jordan. As a part of the International Olympic Committee’s Refugee Athletes’ promotion since the Rio 2016 Olympics, UWW President Nenad LALOVIC decided to promote wrestling in United Nations refugee camps across the world. The Refugee Camp in Jordan is in continuation of this programme.

MedalsMore Than Medals camp in Rome. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

The UWW closely collaborated with all the organisations involved in the development of sport, especially the Olympic Solidarity and the IOC. The UWW delivered technical courses in 19 countries and financially supported national competitions attached to the course. Technical support was also provided to host the continental as well as the senior world championships this year along with training camps for the U17 wrestlers.

Another successful programme of the UWW Development Department was holding the Regional Educational Development Tournament (REDT). The regional course and tournament centred on training and educating the coaches and referees were held in Mauritius – marking the first time the REDT was held in the Indian Ocean – followed by Vietnam and Cambodia. This program has contributed to upgrading the teaching skills of coaches and referees.

BudapestParticipants during coaching course in Budapest. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Martin Gabor)

With the support of Olympic Solidarity, the first-ever high-performance regional coaching course was also held in Budapest, Hungary. The participation of 32 coaches from seven countries in this course was a major milestone, more so as it was held at one of the powerhouses of world wrestling. A Technical Course for Coaches Level 1 combined with the Introduction to Refereeing course will also be held in Palestine in December.

The UWW also donated mats and training equipment to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Albania, Australia, Jordan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Laying emphasis on education to prevent doping, the UWW held anti-doping education drives during the Senior World Championships as well as in collaboration with National Federations. The wrestlers were also educated about the consequences of doping, the testing protocols, the risks associated with nutritional supplements and therapeutic use exemptions.

Safeguarding the athletes and ensuring safe sport has been set as one of the key areas the UWW will invest in starting this Olympic cycle in order to have a healthy sporting environment for the athletes.

Keeping athletes at the heart, the UWW also continued to jointly collaborate with the Olympic Council of Asia and the Panam Sports which contributed to reinforcing the organisation’s professionalism and sharing the experience.

womenWomen Referee course held in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

This was also an important year in the steps taken in educating the coaches and referees.

Nearly 50 UWW Coach/Referee educators were certified through two courses that were held in Guatemala and Turkey. In addition to Olympic Solidarity courses, the educators held nine National Coach Courses and Introduction to Referee Courses, which were funded by National Federations or partially funded by the UWW.

The first-ever High-Performance Regional Course in Budapest, Hungary, was another landmark moment apart from the three new online courses that were introduced: Rules Modifications for 2022, Evaluation of Takedown and Control, Understanding and Developing the Whole Wrestler.

Other than these, additional coaching programmes were also created which allowed the UWW to have five different levels to the modules:

Level 1 – Introduction to Coaching and Safety
Level 2 – Introduction to Practice Planning
Level 3 – Periodization and Coaching Philosophy
Level 4 – Athlete and Programme Development
Level 5 – High-Performance Course

WISHCoahes who are selected for the WISH Program. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

For promoting the participation of women in the sport, the UWW supported six women coaches in the Women in Sport High-Performance (WISH) programme. Six current and/or future coaches were selected for the 21-month programme, which has been developed in coordination with a team of specialists at the UK-based University of Hertfordshire. The programme aims to help women coaches, who have the potential and ambition, to progress into high-performance coaching roles at national and international levels. This is the largest number of participants the UWW has supported in this programme.

Under the Referee Scholarship Programme, the UWW sponsored more referees than ever before. Fourteen referees were provided both the flight and accommodation for a promotion event while there were seven additional referees who were provided accommodations at the event. This is a record participation number for this programme.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia holds series of UWW activities

By United World Wrestling Press

MAKKAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (4 March, 2023)  - A series of UWW activities were organized in Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from February 26 to 02 March, 2023 prior to the 2023 U17-U23 Arab Championships. The activities included an Introduction to Refereeing Course, a Coaching Course Level 2, and a Training Camp for Athletes. A total of 94 participants, including athletes, coaches and referees took part in the events. The educators were Ibrahim Ciciouglu (TUR), Hadi Hasan Ismael (IRQ), Juan Luis Maren Delis (CUB), Ahmed Khedhri (TUN), Hassan Madany (EGY) and Sherif Halawa (EGY).

These courses were held with the support of the Olympic Solidarity, Saudi Olympic Committee, United World Wrestling and Saudi Wrestling Federation. “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the UWW Development Team and Saudi Wrestling Federation for their outstanding work in organizing the Olympic Solidarity Courses," said Kamel Bouaziz, President of the Arab Wrestling Federation and Vice-President of UWW Refereeing Commission. "The success of these activities has been crucial to the development of wrestling in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I commend the educators who have worked tirelessly to provide the participants with a world-class education. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Development Department in the future, as we work together to advance the sport of wrestling in KSA and across the region."

RefParticipants for the Introduction to Refereeing Course pose for a photo after the competition of the course.(Photo: United World Wrestling)

Introduction to Refereeing Course, 26-28 February 2023
The course was conducted by UWW Educators Ibrahim Ciciouglu (TUR) and Hadi Hasan Ismael (IRQ) and was designed to introduce participants to the fundamentals of refereeing in wrestling. The course covered the rules and regulations of wrestling, scoring and timing, and the role of referees in maintaining fairness and safety in the sport. They also studied evaluation of holds, referee mechanics, the start and end of matches, and referee positioning during the bout. The course was attended by 14 participants who participated in both theoretical and practical sessions on the mat. “One of the nice things about the course was that participants were very eager to learn. Interactive participation was at a high level for both theoretical and the practical parts. The questions they asked and their willingness to participate actively made the course very productive. They were trying to add to the improvement of wrestling in their country with their efforts in refereeing,” said UWW Educator Mr. Ibrahim Cicioglu.

CoachA group of coaches work together to plan a practice during the Level 2 Coaching Course. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

Coaching Course Level 2, 26 February – 02 March 2023
The coaching course was conducted by Juan Maren (CUB) and Ahmed Khedhri (TUN). The Level 2 Course focused on the Introduction to Practice Planning. The coach participants worked together in groups and individually to learn many aspects of practice planning. These included: how to plan practices for the week, determine the number of practice and the appropriate time for each age group, determine the type and number of training days, determine the objectives, and how to determine the drills for each practice. The course was attended by 44 coaches from different parts of Saudi Arabia. “ I wanted to emphasize the importance of practice planning. Throughout the course, we encouraged participants to engage in reflective learning methods and emphasized the value of teamwork to help them develop practical skills while receiving feedback. The course included both theory sessions and practical sessions on the mat, where participants learned Long-Term Athlete Development, technical performance analysis, risk management strategies, strength and conditioning planning, weight management, nutrition, athlete mindset, athlete safety, athlete safeguarding, anti-doping, and environmental impact. Overall, I believe that the course was highly informative and provided participants with a comprehensive understanding of coaching principles,” – said UWW Educator Ahmed Khedhri (TUN).

KSATwo athletes spar during the four-day training camp in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

Training Camp for Athletes
The Training Camp for Athletes was also held from February 26 to March 2, 2023. Training sessions were also led by UWW Educators Juan Maren (CUB), Ahmed Khedhri (TUN), with assistance of Hassan Madany (EGY). The camp covered technique, conditioning, and mental preparation. The camp was attended by 36 athletes. “Throughout the camp, we focused on developing the fundamentals of wrestling, including technique, strength, and conditioning. We also emphasized the importance of mental toughness, discipline, and sportsmanship, " said UWW Educator Juan Maren (CUB). "As a coach, I have a strong passion for the development and growth of wrestling in KSA, and I am excited to see the progress that these athletes will continue to make in the future.”

Words of participants
“Introduction to refereeing course was very useful for me. This course provides us with an overview of the wrestling rules, scoring system, and basic officiating techniques. Also we have learned referee mechanics, the start and end of the match, as well as respect and cooperation. I’m grateful for this opportunity to become an international referee,” – said Salem Mohammed Salem. 

“A distinguished course through which I was able to deepen my knowledge and acquire new knowledge and skills, theoretically and practically, in a pleasant atmosphere and teamwork. Thanks for Saudi Wrestling Federation and UWW for  giving this opportunity, and I hope for future participation in such courses,” - Magdy Rashad, Saudi national team coach.

“It was a good camp before the competition. The focus of the course was on the technical and tactical performance of each athlete.  This was done by training that was suitable for the pre-competition stage. Athletes also benefited from the presence of the Cuban coach Juan Maren.  I would like to thank United World Wrestling and Saudi wrestling federation,” – said U17 Saudi team athlete Manaf Mohamed Briek Elrashidy.