Women in Wrestling: Leaders Reflect on Experience in WSLA Program

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (March 1) -- Some of wrestling's up-and-coming leaders last week completed the Women's Sport Leadership Academy for High Performance Coaches Program. Clarissa CHUN (USA), Lotta ANDERSSON JOHANSSON (NOR), Diletta GIAMPICCOLO (HUN/ITA) and Jessica MEDINA (USA) were each successful at graduating from the groundbreaking leadership program.  

An assortment of IF's teamed up with the IOC's Olympic Solidarity program to offer the 14-month WSLA program for a limited number of high-performance coaches. The program was in direct support of Recommendation 6 of the IOC's Gender Equality Review Project, which seeks to increase the share of female coaches at the Olympic Games.  

United World Wrestling was the instigator among five other International Federations to drive this first initiative of its kind for the development of women in coaching.    

 The coaches developed skills in many areas through the program, including developing effective leadership skills to further their development as coaches and leaders in wrestling. They completed activities and projects on their own throughout the 14-month program and spent the final two months attending multiple online sessions. The coaches also worked with a leadership mentor from WSLA and a sport-specific mentor to help improve specific leadership and sport specific competencies. 

The women who participated in the program recently reflected on the experience.  

Clarissa Chun: "The Zulu word 'Ubuntu' means I am because of you, you are because of me. This philosophy helps describe my experience in the Women's Sports Leadership Academy High-Performance Coaches Program. The program brought global perspectives, which sparked creative ways of working together. We expanded our leadership and communication skills and laid the foundation of a support network that will continue to grow as we share ideas and experiences beyond the WSLA program. Mahalo to everyone involved in the WSLA HPC Program. I would also like to extend my appreciation to United World Wrestling, USA Wrestling, and Olympic Solidarity in supporting my development as a coach."  

 Lotta Andersson: "The greatest thing for me about being a part of the WSLA program is meeting all of these strong motivated and successful female coaches from different sports from different parts of the world. I have a greater understanding of how important it is to have a strong network around you for support, motivation, and cooperation. Getting more and more women as coaches and leaders involved in high-performance cultures is important for the future. I think this means that more athletes also see the opportunity to continue living with sports as a profession. I also think it is important to make women realize that you can be just as good whether you have a male or female coach."  

Diletta Giampiccolo: "The greatest gift the WSLA program gave me was the realization that I am not alone as a woman in the sports world. Since 25 women coaches in 6 Olympic sports from 5 continents participated in the program, I felt that I was a part of a great community. It made me realize that regardless of where you live and work as a woman, we all deal with the same problems. The WSLA program has taught me to reach out for help and if we work together nothing is impossible."  

Jessica Medina: "I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to join the WSLA program. The course focused on key leadership skills that translate directly into high performance coaching. I was able to build a network of 25 coaches from 23 countries in 6 sports. We had the same challenges and we were able to support one another in overcoming obstacles including the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm grateful to United World Wrestling and the IOC for the support they have extended in supporting female coaches. The future is bright!"  

The WSLA Leadership program was renewed for another year with dates to be defined in the coming months. Scholarship applications for interested individuals and NFs will be sent in due time.

For more information on the activities of the United World Wrestling development department check out www.unitedworldwrestling.org/development


Senegal hosts UWW African Seminar

By United World Wrestling Press

DAKAR, Senegal (March 13) --- United World Wrestling held its African Seminar in Dakar, Senegal, February 13-15, bringing together representatives from various African wrestling federations. The seminar aimed to provide administrative training ahead of upcoming championships, such as the African Beach Wrestling Championship, African Games, and African Championship. The event was meticulously overseen by experts including Mr. Vincent AKA, Mme. Deqa NIAMKEY, and Mr. Youssef BOUAZIZ, an IT Specialist.

The seminar also aimed to address the pressing need for capacity building within African wrestling federations, recognizing the shared goal of advancing the sport on the continent. By focusing on federation management, particularly in preparation for upcoming championships, the sessions underscored the collective commitment to enhancing organizational capabilities and operational efficiency.

Central to this initiative was the acknowledgment of challenges encountered by various federations in managing their information systems. This common obstacle served as a catalyst for collaboration and knowledge sharing among participants, fostering a sense of solidarity and mutual support.

Day 1: Technical and Technological Focus:

The first day of the seminar concentrated on technical and technological aspects crucial for effective federation management. Sessions included discussions on essential tools for federation offices, establishment of official email addresses, utilization of the Athena platform, and organizing Olympic sports. However, it was observed that some federations faced challenges due to the lack of technological resources such as laptops, printers, and physical infrastructure representing their federation back at their local country.

Day 2: Strategic Management Focus and Cultural Visit:

On the second day, the focus shifted to strategic management principles tailored to the needs of wrestling federations. Practical examples and national wrestling federation cases were employed to illustrate effective strategies for federation development. Additionally, a visit to the renowned wrestling arena in Dakar was organized, providing attendees with a deeper understanding of the sport's cultural significance in Senegal. The excitement and joy among the representatives during this visit were palpable, highlighting the shared passion for wrestling and its rich history.

The engagement and dedication of present UWW (United World Wrestling) experts played a pivotal role in driving the seminar's success. Their expertise and guidance provided invaluable insights, empowering attendees with practical strategies and best practices to overcome existing hurdles and optimize their federation operations.

Overall, the seminar served as a testament to the collaborative efforts and shared interests within the wrestling community, epitomizing a commitment to excellence and progress in the sport's development.