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


Cambodia hosts educational activities in lead up to Southeast Asian Championships

By United World Wrestling Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (December 20) -- In a move to strengthen wrestling in Southeast Asia, United World Wrestling (UWW) organized a series of educational activities in Phnom Penh, December 8-15 before the 2022 Southeast Asian Championships.

These activities included: a Training Camp, a Level 1 Coaches Course, an Introduction to Refereeing Course, Level 1 UWW Referee Course (obtain category III referee license), and a UWW Event Organization – IT course.

A total of 80 participants including athletes, coaches, referees and IT specialists took part in the events. The educators were Zach Errett (USA), Igor Ligay (KAZ), Vincent Aka (CIV/FRA) and Youssef Bouaziz (TUN). 

These courses were held with the support of the Olympic Solidarity, the Cambodia Olympic Committee and the Cambodian Wrestling Federation. “The 2022 Southeast Asian Wrestling Championship is the largest ever international senior wrestling tournament in Southeast Asia. The participating countries’ participation and preparation for this competition will help grow wrestling in the region for years to come," said Casey Barnett, VP of the Cambodian Wrestling Federation and SEA President. "It has been successful with the support of the amazing United World Wrestling development team and technical officials who conducted training to Southeast Asian federations prior to the competition. Before the competition, UWW trained dozens of referees, coaches, athletes and IT officials to provide critical human resources to grow the sport in our region.

CAMParticipants from five nations attended the seven-day training camp. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

Training Camp – 8-15 December 2022
A total of 40 participants from 5 countries took part in this training camp. Training sessions were led by UWW Educator, Vincent Aka (CIV/FRA). Training included learning new and different techniques, games, match conditioning, and discussions on the preparation for competitions. Also, during the camp, Komeil GHASEMI (IRI), a 2012 London Olympic champion, was able to show techniques and serve as a role model for the athletes. “It was a good camp!  The wrestlers were committed and willing to learn to improve their level.” said Mr. Vincent Aka.

CAM1Two Coaching Courses took place in Cambodia over three days. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

Coaching Course – Level 1, 12-15 December 2022
This course is part of UWW’s educational program that paves the way towards improving coaching skillsets and facilitating delegates with tools to strengthen their professional work.

The Coaching Course Level 1 was divided into two sessions: theoretical and practical. The structure of this course was designed in a way that any lesson learned in the classroom was applied on the mat.  The main topics covered in the course were the implementation of discovery games, introducing new techniques, improving coaching skills, giving feedback, age group characteristics, Anti-Doping and athlete safeguarding. The course was conducted by UWW Education Manager, Zach Errett (USA).  “It was great working with coaches from the Southeast Asian region.  They worked very hard, and we saw them grow during the course.  It is exciting to see the direction they are headed in this region.” said Mr. Zach Errett

Introduction to Refereeing, 12-15 December 2022
The course was conducted by UWW Educator Igor Ligay (KAZ). Referees had theoretical sessions and practical sessions on the mat. They studied the evaluation of actions, referee mechanics, the start and end of matches, and referee positioning during the match. The participants also had an opportunity to practice their skills with simulation matches prior to the start of the competition. After the Introduction to Refereeing Course, all attendees took part in the 2022 SEA Championships and participated in the Level 1 UWW Referee Certification Course. This will allow them to become licensed UWW referees. “It was a very good course. In this group, all the participants were young and inexperienced.  However, they were eager to learn and improve.  This was a good course to have before the competition started,” said Mr. Igor Ligay.

CAM2Participants of the IT Course gather for a photo. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

Event Organization – IT Course, 14-15 December 2022.
The IT course was conducted by UWW’s IT Specialist Youssef Bouaziz (TUN). A total of 8 participants from 6 countries participated in the course. The participants were provided a hands-on experience using different tools - Arena, UWW timing and LGTV software. The course consisted of theoretical and practical parts and had 3 main chapters.  First, how to create and manage competitions. Next, how to manage UWW timing. Lastly, how to stream and record an event. “I am very happy that this region has a good young generation that wants to improve the event level in their country. They were excited and asked many questions on how to improve. It was great to see them look to the future and how they will improve wrestling for their federations.” said Mr. Youssef Bouaziz

CAM3Wrestlers drill during one of the training session. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

Words of Participants
“Training camp was a great opportunity to learn new techniques, and exchange experience between different athletes. We had a great time and hope to participate in such events in the future. I want to thank the Cambodian Wrestling Federation and United World Wrestling for this great opportunity to grow,” said Dorn Srors, a Cambodian female athlete.

"Learning is a lifelong process. Therefore, I am thrilled to be part of the United World Wrestling course on coaching. It was a great opportunity for me to learn and unlock new skills with other coaches from Southeast Asian regions," said Komeil Ghasemi, the Head Coach for Cambodia.

“I take this opportunity to share my big thanks with the organizing committee and all involved in this course for giving me a chance to witness the value/gratefulness of the Introduction to Refereeing course in Cambodia from December 12-19, which was conducted with the support of Olympic Solidarity and United World Wrestling. Without any doubts, this course helped me to enlighten my knowledge in referee duties which come in any forum and to face them with much more confidence than yesterday,” – said Piyumi Lakshika, a women's referee from Sri Lanka.

“The UWW IT Training Course by Mr Youssef Bouaziz was incredibly informative and interactive. This training has equipped me with lots of tangible and professional tools to leverage on and use in achieving excellent desired results. With the help of the practical sessions during the training, now I know how to utilize available resources to get ahead of any issues that may arise,” - Chen Weiming, Wrestling Federation of Singapore.

Cambodian Wrestling Federation is working very hard to develop wrestling in its country and the region.  UWW is committed to working alongside them in this journey to help them grow and strengthen the whole Southeast Asian region. This event had a record number of participants, and UWW is excited about the growth of wrestling in Southeast Asia.