Wrestling's Medical Professionals on Front Lines of Pandemic

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (April 22) -- The wrestling community has always been larger than just its wrestlers on the mat. Today, as the sports fans, coaches, and administrators each "Stay Strong, and Stay at Home!" our sport's medical professionals are on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

From all over the world wrestling's brave medical professionals are doing anything and everything they can to protect the lives of those in need during these unprecedented times.

"We are always grateful for our medical personnel, but I want us all to take an extra moment and celebrate their contribution and sacrifice," said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic. "We are very proud of their efforts."

Dr. Babak Shadgan reviews his research project aimed at improving early diagnosis of COVID-19.

Dr. Babak Shadgan, the head of UWW Medical Commission and an Assistant Professor of orthopaedics at the University of British Columbia in Canada is leading a multi-center research project on development of a novel biosensor for screening and monitoring COVID-19 patients. Successful achievement by Dr. Shadgan and his research team will improve early diagnosis and treatment of patients affected by COVID-19.

Dr. Loukas Konstantinou, a trauma and sports orthopaedic surgeon in Greece and a member of the UWW Medical Commission is helping patients, including those infected by coronavirus.

“Our everyday work brings a high degree of vulnerability, concerning the contact with patients and citizens who are infected with the virus," said Konstantinou. "We take all the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our patients,” he said.

Dr. Szabolcs Molnar in surgery this month in Budapest.

Medical commission member Dr. Szabolcs Molnar exemplifies the dedication of medical professionals around the world. As an Assistant Professor of the orthopedics trauma for the largest hospital in Budapest, Molnar is working in the triage units and in the operating room. "I'm honored to do what I can to help my countrymen," he said.

The dangers of the virus are very real for front line workers. Medical commission member Dr. Sadegh Mahboubi had been treating patients in Iran throughout February and March before contracting COVID-19 himself. Most of the medical offices were closed so he stayed open and worked 18-hour days, but eventually had to rest after the disease affected his breathing.

"I didn't want a hospital bed occupied by me, so I was quarantined by my wife who is a doctor," he said. "If a wrestling match, I guess I lost to COVID, but I am back at work now to help."

Mahboubi says he lost 15 kilograms during his ordeal.

A recovered Dr. Sadegh Mahboubi in his office.

In the United States, a task force of former wrestlers, physicians and political leaders has been formed in an effort to create solutions for the sport's return to competition. The group is coming up with solutions for how to move into the next phase of life with the coronavirus still very much a concern. The working task force includes longtime wrestling physician Dr. Bernard Feldman and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Other members of UWW Medical Commission including Dr. Stevan Sikimic, a respirologist in Serbia; Dr. Stefan Strugarov, a surgeon in Bulgaria; Dr Klaus Johann, an orthopaedic surgeon in Germany; Dr. Abdelghani Chahi, a cardiologist in Morocco; Dr. Jose Padilha, a surgeon in Brazil; Dr. Kohei Nakajima, an orthopaedic surgeon in Japan; Dr. Mika Lehto, a cardiologist in Finland; Dr. Carol Maitre in France; Dr. Irina Dulepova in Russia; and Dr. Elena Abaeva in Uzbekistan are all helping patients at the high-risk front line.

"I've said before that our sport knows struggle and we know how to fight," said Lalovic. "I'm very proud of our medical professionals and look forward to seeing them again on the field of play."


Bureau Announces Change of Dates and Locations for 2021 Championships and Qualifiers

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 22) – The United World Wrestling bureau held a virtual meeting Tuesday to discuss several topics, including an update to the dates and locations of competitions in 2021.

Citing limited interest in a January competition, the bureau voted to move the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series tournament from mid-January to March 4-7.

To help with costs and coordination the bureau also voted to combine the Asian Championships and Olympic Qualifier to Almaty, Kazakhstan with the tournaments set to run back-to-back April 9-17. Similarly, the African & Oceania Qualifier and African Championships are scheduled to be held back-to-back in El Jadida, Morocco from April 2-11. Due to travel concerns surrounding COVID-19 the Oceania continental championships have been cancelled.

Given the large number of expected participants, the European Championships and European Olympic Qualifier will remain at separate locations with the Qualifier scheduled March 18-21 in Budapest and the Championships April 19-25 in Poland.

The World Olympic Qualifier will remain in Sofia but has been moved one week later to May 6-9. The Pan Am Championships in Rio de Janeiro and the Poland Ranking Series events will remain unchanged.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic all competition dates and locations will be subject to change based on the conditions in host countries as well as their ability to meet United World Wrestling’s strict sanitary guidelines for events

Ranking Series Matteo Pellicone
March 4-7 (Rome, ITA)

*European Olympic Games Qualifier
March 18-21 (Budapest, HUN)

*African & Oceania Olympic Games Qualifier
April 2-4 (El Jadida, MAR)

African Championships
April 6-11 (El Jadida, MAR)

*Asian Olympic Games Qualifier
April 9-11 (Almaty, KAZ)

Asian Championships
April 12-17 (Almaty, KAZ)

European Championships
April 19-25 (Warsaw, POL)

*World Olympic Games Qualifier
May 6-9 (Sofia, BUL)

Pan-American Championships
May 27-30 (Rio de Janeiro, BRA)

Ranking Series Poland Open
June 8-13 (Warsaw, POL)

* Denotes Olympic Games Qualifier