Wrestling Leaders Learn Lessons, Ways to Impact Community During First Stop of WSLA-HPC

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (November 15) – The Women’s Sport Leadership Academy held its first event of the 2019-2020 High Performance Coach program last week at the University of Hertfordshire in Hartfield, England. The academy welcomed sport leaders from around the world, including five trailblazing women from the sport of wrestling.

Clarissa Chun (USA), Lotta Andersson Johansson (NOR), Diletta Giampiccolo (HUN/ITA), Esta Van Zyl (RSA) and Jessica Medina (USA) each attended the weeklong event and described the influence it was having on their individual outlooks on leadership in sports.

“I’m already thinking differently about ways I can lead and the impact I can make,” said Chun, a 2008 world champion in women’s wrestling. “The exercises and lectures really taught me about how to take initiative and get involved in our sport in a new way.”

The first event was held at the University of Hertfordshire in Hartfield, England

The 14-month course is in partnership with the International Summer Sports Federations of Cycling, Rowing, Rugby, Tennis, Triathlon. The IF’s have teamed up with the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity program to offer and is in direct support of Recommendation 6 of the IOC’s Gender Equality Review Project, 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the program and the positive reaction of our female leaders in the program,” said UWW Development Director Deqa Niamkey. “Our future and adherence to Agenda 2020 requires strong female leadership and these women will be at the forefront of positive change. I can’t wait to hear and see more throughout the year.”

Clarissa Chun, Lotta Andersson Johansson, Diletta Giampiccolo and Jessica Medina 

The WSLA-HPC leadership program will continue throughout next year with a follow-up residency planned for the fall. 

“The WSLA did a fantastic job in organizing this event, added Chun. “You can tell there was a lot of work, planning, and effort that went into organizing an event with over 20 women from around the world!

Chun and others will be in Narita, Japan this weekend for the 2019 Women’s Wrestling World Cup, featuring the United States, China, Mongolia, Ukraine, Russia and Japan. Head over to UnitedWorldWrestling.org to follow the action which starts Saturday, November 16 and wraps up on November 17.

United World Wrestling’s commitment to the development of women in the sport continues November 24-29 at the organization’s annual “Women in Wrestling Global Forum” which supports the development of women in leadership positions. The forum will cover a wide variety of topics and will include a number of keynote speakers, workshops and seminars. 

For more information on the development of women’s opportunities in the sport of wrestling please reach out the UWW development department at [email protected]


Lotta Andersson Johansson (NOR): The best part of the WSLA program was getting to meet all these incredible leaders. The facilitator, the participants, the guest speakers – they were all very helpful.

Esta Van Zyl (RSA) – For specific learning topics I took away a lot on how to be more confident in my presentations and how I approach other people. The staff really instilled that if I believe more in myself then everything is possible, including growth as a coach and leader.

Clarissa Chun in a WSLA course

Diletta Giampiccolo (HUN/ITA)- The classes will help me within my national federation as I think it’ll help me better analyze situations to improve and creating strategies to solve them using the techniques taught in the course.

Clarissa Chun (USA) - I think the WSLA courses are giving me the information and techniques I need to improve my leadership. As a coach I will try to communicate more effectively and provide real, honest transparency while keeping the GROW model and my values in mind. Also, I need to work on building more connections to extend my reach.

Diletta Giampiccolo (HUN/ITA) - My goal has always been to be a better coach than I had in my sport career and to win an Olympic medal as a trainer. At the same time, I also want to make my athletes feel passionate about the wrestling so that at the end of their career they can give the wrestling what they received. After this session, the desire to create a women’s wrestling coaches association who share their experience and difficulties at nation and global level was strengthened.

Esta Van Zyl (RSA) – I think that these courses are accelerating me towards my goal to start my own academy for youth wrestlers and improve their skills. And to create more opportunities for woman in wrestling.
Lotta Andersson Johansson (NOR) - I hope that with the assistance of the WSLA and UWW I can continue to have an impact on the people around me by being a good role model. I also need to continue to attend forums like the Women’s Forum this month in Istanbul where I can encourage more coaches.

Esta Van Zyl (RSA) – I’d love to continue this work within UWW to help get more woman involved in coaching wrestling to give them the same exposure I had this week. I want to provide a vision for women in South Africa to implement and to do so by giving them short courses like this one, but also through inspiring them through personal journeys.