Turkey hosts first UWW women's referee course

By United World Wrestling Press

ANTALYA, Turkey (May 14) --- On May 11, 2022 in beautiful Antalya Turkey, a precedent was set for all UWW Women referees. For the 1st time in United World Wrestling history, HIS-story became HER-story.  Women from 16 different countries have come together with 1 goal in mind; the advancement and recognition of Women officials within this heralded organization.

The Women's Referee Course, which consisted of two courses and three competition days, was preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, and the 2024 & 2028 Olympic Games. 28 women referees from around the world were selected to participate in this first-of-its-kind educational program. 

On the first day of the course, UWW Bureau member Lucio CANEVA attended the opening ceremony and spoke to attendance. He thanked the referees for their support. He also explained why women referees are important for wrestling and all bureau members support this program.

Instructors Antonio SILVESTRI, Ibrahim CICIOGLU and Edit DOZSA collectively contributed to ensuring a successful platform for each woman that took part. Their combined knowledge only helped to propel the confidence of all the participants whether it was about rules or team-building activities and exercises. 

Dozsa, a pioneer of women's refereeing, was fully aware and empathic of the unique struggles women face in a male-dominated sport. Having been selected for the 2008 Olympic Games, Dozsa was able to bring the women together and give them an open forum to voice their individual experiences and struggles, without contradiction or judgments. The idea was for the women to learn how to empower one another. She provided tools and support that have enabled the women to grow and learn with each other over the years.

Participants from Turkey's women's wrestling course join together for a photo. (Photo: United World Wrestling)

The group at the course was experienced and talented. While some referees had wrestled, others were carrying the family torch. Regardless of experience, each member agreed that wrestling is in their blood and has forever changed their lives, for the better.

"Being a female official has many obstacles and nothing is easy about this job," Dozsa said. "We continue to sacrifice to be a part of this wrestling culture we all love so much. This course has given us renewed hope and an optimistic outlook for the future of women referees all over the world. We came in as 28 individuals and left as 1 empowered sisterhood."

The first two days of the course were dedicated to the theoretical aspect of refereeing and important rules were discussed and explained by instructors. A practice session was organized on the second day. All the questions of the attendees were answered by the instructors who also showed critical situations like referee mechanism, out of bounds situations, takedown and control, illegal wrestling and fouls.

During the last three days of the course, referees attended the International Champions tournament for the age group in all styles. They had a chance to officiate throughout the competition in both styles which was an experience for them as well.

The course was the first step for the women referees toward their Olympic hopes. The instructors thanked UWW president Nenad LALOVIC and all the bureau members for their support. They also expressed their gratitude toward the Sports and Development Departments for their collaboration and the Turkish Wrestling Federation for their attributions.


Record number attend India's Introduction to Referee Course

By United World Wrestling Press

SONEPAT, India (November 30) -- The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) organized an Introduction to Referee course on November 18-20 in Sonepat. This was the largest-ever course with 96 participants (86 men and 10 women).

“The course was very useful for developing skills and knowledge of the Indian national referees. WFI organizes 25 domestic competitions in a year. After this course, we have enough national referees to conduct these competitions as this group will serve as referees at many of those events,” said Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, WFI President.

This course was led by Carlos GARCIA (ESP) and assisted by Ashok KUMAR (IND). Both are IS Referees and certified UWW Educators.

During the three-day course, the participants concentrated on several areas that are important to the development of referees. After an initial assessment, the main topics were focused on referee mechanics, positioning, referee team duties, and athlete safeguarding.

The morning sessions centered around the theory, mainly through videos or direct examples from their practical sessions. The afternoon sessions were dedicated to practicing on the mat by refereeing short matches. These practical sessions allowed participants to apply what they learned and improve their performance.

“I learned a lot from this course and even things that I did not know about including the latest rules and regulations of the competition. This course was very useful for me, and I really enjoyed this course," Shivaji, a referee, said.

“I would like to thank the Wrestling Federation of India for organizing the course and their hospitality. It is very motivating when you see so much interest and passion which may not be everything, but it gets you to your goals faster. The young Indian referees have a passion that could drive Formula 1 cars at maximum speed," Garcia said.