Wrestling world championships substituted after not meeting participation criteria

Wrestling World Championships
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The world wrestling championships did not meet a participation benchmark to be held in December, so the event will be modified into an individual World Cup.

“We want to see our athletes compete again on the mat. It’s important to our organization and we are committed to providing them an opportunity,” United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic said in a press release. “There are real challenges to overcome, but we are working together to find a safe and acceptable format where our top athletes can compete in a world class event.”

Worlds, which were added to the schedule after the Olympics were postponed to 2021, were due to be held in Belgrade only if at least eight of the top 10 nations from the 2019 Worlds and 70 percent of total athletes planned to participate.

“With many nations reinstating travel restrictions in response to COVID-19 the participation hurdles were not met,” according to United World Wrestling.

The U.S. and Japan, two world powers, announced last month they would not send teams to worlds.

Wrestling worlds have been held annually dating to 2005 and go back decades in non-Olympic years. This year’s worlds, had they been held, would have had no bearing on Olympic qualification.

The U.S. Olympic Trials were rescheduled from April 2020 to April 2021 at Penn State University.

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