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FILA finalizes new weight classes, new rules for international wrestling

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For wrestlers and fans wondering what the new weight classes would be for international competition -- including the 2016 Olympics -- the wait is over.

FILA -- the international governing body for wrestling -- revealed on Tuesday the revised weight classes for men and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman competition, along with changes to rules and competition format, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

The new weight classes -- six each for women's freestyle, men's freestyle, and Greco -- were implemented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in early August at the recommendation of FILA, which had proposed the changes to create greater equality as it was seeking wrestling's return to the Olympics. (The IOC had eliminated wrestling in Feb., but reinstated the sport in Sept.)

According to FILA's press statement, the organization's Technical Commission worked with the federation’s Medical, Scientific, Referee and Athlete’s Commissions to form the basis of changes for the sport of wrestling that will be in effect through the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The new weight classes for the Olympic Games, which go into effect in 2014, are:

  • Men’s Freestyle: 57, 65, 74, 86, 97, 125 kilograms
  • Greco-Roman: 59, 66, 75, 85, 98, 130 kilos
  • Women’s Freestyle: 48, 53, 58, 63, 69, 75 kilos

For FILA competitions, including world and continental championships, world cups and Golden Grand Prix championships, FILA will add 61 and 70 kilogram classes to the men’s freestyle, 71 and 80 kilos to the Greco-Roman field and 55 and 60 kg to the women’s freestyle competition.

The weight classes for Juniors and Cadets were not changed.

In addition to new weight classes, FILA has amended rules for competition in the new year. Among the high points affecting both freestyle and Greco include changes in determining technical superiority (a 10-point advantage in freestyle; 8 points in Greco)... and point values for throws, with four points for all throws in freestyle; in Greco, four points for controlled throws, and five for grand amplitude throws.

Some aspects will not change. For instance, FILA has retained its one-day competition format for each style, with modifications to start times, and a compulsory 30-minute minimum time between matches.

“We believe we have set the foundation for both the Olympic Games and the FILA championships with these weight classes, rule changes and competition format” said FILA President Nenad Lalovic. “We thank the members of the Technical Commission for their guidance in this important decision. We used the knowledge and ideas of various commissions in FILA to reach these decisions. It was a total organizational effort.

“We want to make changes that make the sport better,” he added. “If we need to change, we will. Our goal is to be excellent in everything we do.”

One signficant question hangs over these changes: What will the impact of these new weight classes be on specific individual wrestlers? Count on athletes and coaches to weigh in with their opinions in the coming days and weeks.

Want to know more? For more detailed information on specific changes to rules, read the FILA press statement at their official website.

Learn more about the developments affecting international and Olympic wrestling in 2013... by checking out College Wrestling Examiner's Olympic wrestling stories this past year.

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