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Japan joins United States in opting out of World Wrestling Championships


Japan joins United States in opting out of World Wrestling Championships

The Japan Wrestling Federation has announced it will not send athletes to next month’s World Championships in Serbia.

Belgrade is set to host the Senior World Championships from December 12 to 20.

The Senior World Championships, United World Wrestling’s flagship event outside of the Olympic Games, had initially been due to take place in Oslo in Norway.

The event was moved to Belgrade as part of a restructure to the sport’s calendar amid the coronavirus pandemic.

USA Wrestling last month announced it would not send a team to the event.

The organisation said it would not put its athletes in “harm’s way”, with the Executive Committee concluding that it would not be in the best interests of all involved to participate.

The Japan Wrestling Federation has now followed the United States in opting out of the event.

“Japan Wrestling Federation has decided not to send players to the World Championships scheduled for December in Belgrade, Serbia,” a statement read.

“Information has been confirmed that the new coronavirus infection is re-expanding in Europe, and the arena where the tournament was scheduled has become a temporary hospital for accommodating infected people.

“For the safety of the players, the dispatch was cancelled.”

Japan has proved to be the dominant nation in women's wrestling ©Getty Images
Japan has proved to be the dominant nation in women’s wrestling ©Getty Images

The US and Japan finished second and fourth respectively in the medals table at last year’s World Championships.

The US secured five gold and two bronze medals, while Japan earned three gold, silver and bronze medals.

Japan was crowned as the overall winner of the women’s team classification.

Russia topped the medals table last year with nine gold, five silver and five bronze medals.

The Russian Wrestling Federation has confirmed it will make the trip to Serbia for the World Championships, with its President Mikhail Mamiashvili saying he understood why Japan and the US have withdrawn.

“The Americans miss the World Cup, based on their difficulties,” Mamiashvili told Russian state news agency TASS.

“Everyone treats this decision with understanding.

“Of course, the presence of some of the leaders of the world wrestling is interesting, especially in certain weight categories.

“We will do our best to participate in it, and I think this is the right position, our participation is mandatory.

“Observing all security measures, we are able, by combining efforts, to ensure everyone will have a comfortable stay at the tournament.

“To date – this morning we spoke with the head of United World Wrestling Nenad Lalovic – more than 70 countries have expressed a desire to participate in the championship.”