Wrestling Holds Bi-Annual Congress, Discusses Two-Day Competition Format

By United World Wrestling Press

MÂCON, France (September 4) – United World Wrestling held its bi-annual congress Sunday during the final day of competition of the 2016 Junior Wrestling World Championships in Mâcon, France.

The Congress is an opportunity for national federations from around the world to meet and discuss ideas for the improvement of the sport, vote on particular items of interest and elect new members to the sport’s executive committee – known as the bureau.

President Nenad LALOVIC (SRB) and Secretary General Michel DUSSON (FRA) addressed representatives from more than 120 nations for several hours, highlighting the federation’s finances and discussing a variety of organizational gains made over the past two years. Lalovic used his time at the podium to also discuss the possibility of moving over to a two-day competition format. The president said that a change to a two-day format would help promote athletes going for gold medals and suggested the second weigh-in could dissuade unhealthy weight-cutting.

No final decisions were made, but Lalovic said that any adjustments would need to “be done swiftly so that we can adjust to the changes by Tokyo 2020.”

In addressing some of the controversy surrounding RIO 2016, Congress also accepted the bureau’s suggestion to provide financial support for a new program focused on the development and education of referees. The group also adopted the IOC Code of Ethics and moved referee oversight to the federation’s Sport department.

Lalovic also announced the creation of a second United World Wrestling office, located in Istanbul, which will oversee the development and promotion of a variety of traditional and non-Olympic styles of wrestling. Details will be released in the coming weeks.

The Congress also voted to elect six members to the United World Wrestling bureau, each for six-year terms. Before voting began Turkey’s Ahmet AYIK announced his retirement and was awarded the United World Wrestling golden necklace – the organization’s highest award. Ayik had served on the bureau for more than 20 years and is an Olympci gold medalist.

Incumbent bureau members Namig ALIEV of Azerbaijan (75), Michel DUSSON of France (69), Karl-Martin DITTMAN of Germany (62), Rodica YAKSI of Turkey (60) and Theodore HAMAKOS of Greece (59) were each re-elected in the first-round of voting, securing more than 50-percent of the congressional votes needed (59 votes).

The bureau also welcomed new member Rasoul KHADEM (IRI) who gained the most votes of the congress with 76. Khadem is a 1996 Olympic champion and is president of the Iran Wrestling Federation. Lalovic praised Khadem's election after the congress, “Mr. Khadem brings incredible expertise to the bureau and has always been a fair and honest man. He will be very valuable to the bureau and the sport of wrestling.”

The congress ended with a spirited discussion of the fees associated with hosting continental championships. The bureau and congress agreed to limit the proposed increase to between 15 and 20-percent the current amounts. The World championship organizational fees will remain at the proposed levels.

The next Congress will be held in 2018, likely during that year’s senior world championships, whose location has yet to be determined.