KYODO News: Japanese wrestler using lockdown to lock in mental fortitude

By United World Wrestling Press

Wrestlers around the world are stuck in their homes hoping to do their part to flatten the curve. In an article today in the Kyodo News, defending Olympic champion Risako Kawai says she is taking this break from the mats to train her mind. 

"I can't do, but I can watch," she said, explaining how she has been spending time watching videos of her opponents, researching techniques and mentally rehearsing match scenarios.

The 25-year-old, who competes in the 57-kilogram weight class, says she has never spent so much time away from the sport.

Kawai has not been able to spar with her training partner since Shigakkan University, her alma mater and training base in the central Japan city of Obu, Aichi Prefecture, suspended all club activities in late March.

"All I do is take in one day at a time," she says.

Four years ago, Kawai wrestled the 63-kg event to avoid having to go up against 10-time world champion and four-time Olympic women's wrestling champion Kaori Icho at 58 kg, and claimed the gold medal in her Olympic debut in Rio.

But for Tokyo 2020, Kawai made the bold move of stepping down a weight division and coming face-to-face with Icho in order to leave the pathway open for her sister to make it to the Olympics with her.

Read more on the Kyodo News site ... here


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