Bulgaria Hosts Successful 'More Than Medals' Wrestling Development Camp

By Tim Foley

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (August 13) -- The United World Wrestling development department, along with the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation, last week hosted the annual 'More than Medals' World Camp (MTM) with more than 30 athletes and a half dozen coaches from several nations in attendance. The camp followed the 2019 Cadet Wrestling World Championships also held in Sofia.

MTM is a full athlete developmental clinic focusing on both techniques and education for athletes ages 14-17. Clinicians covered how to plan for training, Olympic values, and proper nutrition. There was also an anti-doping seminar led by Mrs. Elka GALEVA of the Bulgarian National Anti-Doping Organization.

"The atmosphere in Sofia was great! Everyone shifted very quickly from being opponents to friends," said UWW Development Director Deqa NIAMKEY. "Despite coming from different countries and languages the wrestlers found ways to unify. Wrestling is a universal language and our programs aim to enhance the knowledge and capacities of our athletes."

For the first time ever, the MTM camp included athletes and coaches from Spain and Estonia.

"This was my first More Than Medals camp and I thought that the UWW educators were very good and that the services were excellent," said Martin PLASER (EST). "They adapt the training to each individual and bring out the best from each participant. They give chance to learn to each athlete while respecting everyone’s background and culture."

Local athletes also joined in the learning with five local wrestlers attending the camp and taking in lessons from a variety of UWW instructors.

"We are very happy to be here and we made some great friends," said wrestler Sofia TENEVA (BUL). "It is good to learn the working and training methods of others. To learn from each other and we will gladly participate in future camps"

In fulfilling their mission to provide wrestling opportunities to all wrestlers around the world, the UWW Development Department will next host an acclimation camp for the 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships this September in Nur-Sultan.

United World Wrestling Joins World Taekwondo for Historic Event at Azraq Refugee Camp

By Tim Foley

AMMAN, Jordan (July 20, 2019) – United World Wrestling (UWW), World Taekwondo (WT), and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) hosted the first-ever joint Olympic-sport training event, named Aspire 2gether for Peace, in the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan.

The joint event is a tangible outcome of the landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between UWW, WT, and THF on 22 October 2018 to promote humanitarian, peace and social-development through sport. The Aspire 2gether for Peace event, sees UWW unite with WT and THF to deliver wrestling training to refugees at the existing Humanitarian Taekwondo Center.

The event was attended by a senior delegation from all three organizations and included WT President and  THF Chairman Chungwon Choue, Olympic gold medallists and THF/WT Ambassadors, Wu Jingyu and Ahmed Abu Ghaush; UWW Development Director Deqa Niamkey and Olympic medallists and UWW Ambassadors, Arsen Julfalakyan and Clarissa Chun. IOC Executive Board Member HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein attended on behalf of the IOC and UNHCR delegates attended the event on Filippo Grandi’s behalf.

THF/WT President Choue delivered an opening address, and UWW Development Director Deqa Niamkey also gave a speech on behalf of UWW President Nenad Lalovic, ‘Playing sport helps children building mental strength, resilience and fundamental skills. Thanks to the Jordanian Royal family and WT and THF to have invited United World Wrestling to this historic joint-event. We are delighted to have joined forces with World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation to show that our MoU was not just words, but the start of a real and tangible partnership which will benefit refugee children around the world.’

A wrestling demonstration with the refugee children was carried out following the Azraq taekwondo team demonstration. Wrestling and Taekwondo lessons were also given to the refugee children later of the day.

Arsen Julfalakyan (ARM) UWW ambassador and Athletes Commission Member said: “It is great to contribute to the lives of the refugees through sport and thanks to the opportunity given by the WT and THF, wrestling is in the Azraq sporting programme. The refugees need sport in their lives which will enhance their current difficult situation with the hope that peace will reach their country. UWW is very proud to inspire the future generations."

United World Wrestling is committed to making a long-term contribution to improve the lives of the refugee children in Azraq. Together with Jordanian Olympic Committee and Jordanian Wrestling Federation, 4 local coaches will be running a 6- day a week schedule to provide wrestling lessons to children currently living in the camp.