As the COVID pandemic swept the globe and impacted lives and economies worldwide, United World Wrestling – led by president Nenad Lalovic and the UWW bureau – worked to create financial opportunities for small, heavily affected nations keen to continue in their Olympic journey even as financial opportunities dwindled.
In addition to existing programming, Lalovic and the bureau settled on direct assistance to support athletes and coaches in their quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Utilizing its established Technical Assistance program, UWW supported 121 athletes and coaches from 43 nations.
Of the recipients, five athletes successfully qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games via the program:
Augusto Midana (GBS) — FS 74, African Olympic Qualifier
Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) — GR 60, Asian Olympic Qualifier
BAT-OCHIR Bolortuya (MGL) — WW 53, World Olympic Qualifier
Georgios PILIDIS (GRE) — FS 65, World Olympic Qualifier
Karen ASLANYAN (ARM) — GR 67, World Olympic Qualifier
In addition to funds provided directly from UWW, the IOC also entered as a collaborator, under its ‘Youth Athlete Development, International Federation Training Opportunities’, which was built to support smaller NOCs in sending their teams to Continental Qualifications.
The total cost for the training assistance was EUR 180’000, with 40’000 to be reimbursed by Olympic Solidarity.