International wrestling to return in Belgrade with UWW Individual World Cup


More than 500 wrestlers from 51 countries are set to compete at the United World Wrestling (UWW) Individual World Cup in Serbian capital Belgrade.

The event serves as a replacement for the cancelled World Championships, which Belgrade had been due to host.

After countries including Japan and the United States pulled out over coronavirus concerns, UWW called off the World Championships as a threshold for entries had not been met.

The Individual World Cup will also be the first international competition since the beginning of the global health crisis.

With COVID-19 countermeasures in place, 505 competitors are set to battle it out across 30 freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s weight divisions over the next seven days.

The Greco-Roman competition will be headlined by four Rio 2016 Olympic champions in Armenian Artur Aleksanyan, Serbian Davor Štefanek and Russians Davit Chakvetadze and Roman Vlasov.

The 97-kilogram weight category is set to be one of the most intriguing as Aleksanyan could face Russian world champion Musa Evloev and multiple world medallist Mikheil Kajaia of Serbia.

Aleksanyan and Evloev have combined to win gold medals in every World Championship or Olympic Games since 2014, while Kajaia will be competing in his home country.


In the women’s competition, world champion Aisuluu Tynybekova is set to star in the 62kg division.

Tynybekova earned a place in Kyrgyzstan’s sporting history as the nation’s first wrestler to win a senior world title when she claimed gold at the 2019 World Championships.

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe of Canada is entered at 76kg, where she will compete in a field that includes 2017 world champion Yasemin Adar of Turkey, Germany’s Aline Focken and Russia’s Ekaterina Bukina.

Three world champions from Russia are set to contest the freestyle competition which begins on Wednesday (December 16) as Zaur Uguev, Gadzhimurad Rashidov and Abdulrashid Sadulaev bid for glory.

Sadulaev, a Rio 2016 gold medallist and four-time world champion, will face a 97kg field that features world bronze medallist Magomedgadji Nurov of North Macedonia and under-23 world champion Shamil Zubairov of Azerbaijan.

The World Cup starts tomorrow with Greco-Roman qualification rounds at 55 kg, 67kg, 72kg, 77kg and 87kg, and is due to conclude on December 18.