The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the competition schedules of the sporting world, including wrestling.
The changes to competitions and myriad travel restrictions have meant that United World Wrestling has been asked to adapt with changes to the 2021 schedule and competition arrangement.
The 2021 season will be unlike any in recent memory. While athletes gear up for the Olympic Games by competing in qualification events and tournaments that will impact their seeding, they will also be wrestling in tournaments that help determine the 2021 Ranking Series champion.
Those two trajectories will mean two sets of points for athletes, fans, and coaches to track in 2021.
The Tokyo 202One seeding is almost complete, but there are two tournaments left where athletes can gain points. The Poland Open (June 8-13) will be like the 2020 Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event and impact seeding for the 2021 Olympic Games.
Additionally, athletes from China, Turkmenistan, and North Korea competing at the 2021 Asian Continental Championships will earn seeding points for the 2021 Games based on their finishes. These nations were withheld from the 2020 continental championships due to COVID-based travel restrictions.
The 2021 Ranking Series will include the 2021 Continental Championships, 2021 Matteo Pellicone (March 10-15), Poland Open Ranking Series Event (June 2021), 2021 Olympic Games (August 1-8) and the 2021 World Championships (Oct 2-10).
Point distributions will be unchanged for all events except the Olympic Games, where athletes (1st – 2nd – 3rd – 3rd) will earn 20% more than they will for performances at the 2021 World Championships, as noted in the updated rules for the Ranking Series events:
If the Olympic Games and the Senior World Championships are organized the same year, an increase of 20% of the points will be given to the Olympic Medalists.
1st place at the Olympic Games 10 additional points
2nd place at the Olympic Games 06 additional points
3rd places at the Olympic Games 03 additional points
Fans, athletes and coaches can follow Tokyo Seeding on the Olympic Games section of the UWW website, HERE. The Ranking Series points, which are currently at zero for all athletes, will be kept on the front page of the website. Those points will start to accumulate in March with the Matteo Pellicone tournament.
Additionally, the UWW bureau recently approved a generous $600,000 prize package for the 2021 Ranking Series, with money distributed to each of the 30 weight classes.
Previously the Ranking Series award allocation went to the top three overall point-getters in each style. The 2021 money will be distributed to the top three athletes per weight in the following amounts.
First Place: $10,000
Second Place: $7,000
Third Place: $3,000
The 2021 prize money combines the amount that was reserved for 2020 but was not distributed due to the impact COVID-19 had on competition.
The 2021 Competition Calendar as it impacts Olympic Qualifications, Tokyo seeding, and Ranking Series 2021:
March 4-7 (Rome, ITA) — Ranking Series Matteo Pellicone (2021 Ranking Series)
March 18-21 (Budapest, HUN) — European Qualifier (Tokyo Qualifier)
April 2-4 (El Jadida, MAR) — African & Oceania Qualifier (Tokyo Qualifier)
April 6-11 (El Jadida, MAR) — African Championships (2021 Ranking Series)
April 9-11 (Almaty, KAZ) — Asian Qualifier (Tokyo Qualifier)
April 13-18 (Almaty, KAZ) — Asian Championships (2021 RS; Tokyo Seeding for CHN, TKM, PRK)
April 19-25 (Warsaw, POL) — European Championships (2021 RS)
May 6-9 (Sofia, BUL) — World Qualifier (Tokyo Qualifier)
May 27-30 (Brasilia, BRA) — Pan-American Championships (2021 Ranking Series)
June 8-13 (Warsaw, POL) — Ranking Series Poland Open – (Tokyo Seeding and 2021 Ranking Series)
August 1-7 (Tokyo, JPN) – Olympic Games (2021 Ranking Series)
October 02-10 (Oslo, NOR) – 2021 World Championships (2021 Ranking Series)
Tzeno Tzenov has been made an Honorary Vice-President who passed away in 2020, following his long-term dedication to the sport.