The 2013 FILA Wrestling World Championships: A Complete Guide, Part One

Matthew Stockman

This Monday signals the start of the 2013 FILA Wrestling World Championships. Bloody Elbow is here with a two part guide for those who want as much information on this event as could be possibly processed by any human being.

Next week Budapest becomes host to the world's very best wrestlers as FILA holds its 2013 World Championships of Wrestling. This year's world championships hold special significance as they provide the biggest showcase for the newly repackaged sport of wrestling since losing and regaining its status as an Olympic event. This post is designed to impart all the knowledge you need to view and appreciate the next week of wrestling action. I'll conveniently use lots of headings and bullet points for ease of reading. This is part 1 of 2; part 2 will feature weight class previews.

Styles, Weights and Schedule

Next week's world championships will crown world champions in men's freestyle wrestling, women's freestyle wrestling, and men's Greco-Roman wrestling, and in that order. The daily schedule appears as follows:

Monday, September 16 - Men's Freestyle, 55 kg, 66 kg, 96 kg
Tuesday, September 17 - Men's Freestyle, 60 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
Wednesday, September 18 - Men's Freestyle 74 kg, Women's Freestyle 48 kg, 51 kg
Thursday, September 19 - Women's Freestyle 55 kg, 59 kg, 63 kg
Friday, September 20 - Women's Freestyle 67 kg, 72 kg, Greco-Roman 55 kg
Saturday, September 21 - Greco-Roman 60 kg, 84 kg, 96 kg
Sunday, September 22 - Greco-Roman 66 kg, 74 kg, 120 kg

Yes, Greco goes last, I suppose that FILA wants to feature this style of wrestling to show how exciting it can be under the new rules, and to counter some intense criticism leveled at it. Under the old rules, Greco was oppressively boring to the point of being unwatchable. Early returns on the benefits of the new rules have been promising, so hopefully the "new" Greco can provide for some fun results.

How Do You Watch

Check out the home page for these championships.

I saw this page and my jaw hit the floor. FILA appears to have gotten the message and put together a professional looking web page and media portal for their world championships. This seems like a no-brainer in most sports, but in the past, international wrestling's governing body has shown no regard for the fans of its sport, and this sort of internet presence would have been unthinkable.

Good for FILA.

This home page will provide live video coverage as well as photos, results, and highlights. There will be no need to find a pirated stream of Azerbaijani state television.

Administration

  • The tournaments pass at a lightning pace, every weight is wrestled in one day.
  • One gold, one silver, and two bronze medals are awarded in each weight.
  • Unlike the Olympics, there are no international qualification procedures for The World Championships. This means that you will see a bunch of wrestlers from a wide array of unexpected nations, this is pretty cool, particularly when one of these unexpected wrestlers makes a deep run. This also means the early rounds feature some big-time mismatches. For these reasons, I think the World Championships are more fun than the Olympics.
  • FILA now administers a world ranking system, the system is flawed, but at least it's there. I am unsure at this time as to whether the ranking system will lead to some sort of seeding in the bracketing.
  • Team scores are given, and a team championship is awarded. Wrestlers earn points for their nation by placing first through tenth, obviously with first place earning the most points.
  • I was going to write something about how the United States usually performs better at world championships held immediately after Olympics as the fields seem a bit more depleted, but I did the research and no correlation exists.

Match Rules (and my opinion on each one)

  • Each match consists of two three-minute periods, scoring is cumulative (Huge change from old rules, and a good one).
  • Two points are awarded for offensive takedowns, one point for counter takedowns (I hate this rule, I know it awards offensive wrestling, but it also breeds confusion).
  • One point for pushouts, pushouts on the knees are not scored, and the entire foot must step out of bounds (good rule).
  • Whether on the feet, or the mat, any move which results in the exposure of an opponent's back to the mat (past 90 degrees) results in two points, one point is no longer awarded for hand to hand turns, and holding a wrestler on his back for five seconds earns an additional point. (the only change is the hand to hand turns).
  • Taking and opponent from feet to back earns three points.
  • Taking an opponent from feet to back, and lifting him above the lifters hips in the process, earns five points.
  • One five point move, or two thee point moves end the match, so long at the wrestler performing the move is winning afterward (this is an awful rule, trying to turn wrestling into judo).
  • If at any time a wrestler has 7 or more points than his opponent, then that wrestler wins the match by technical fall (this rule stinks, it should be at least 10 points, probably more).
  • Pinning an opponent's upper back to the mat for a second results in a fall and ends the match. While touch falls (instant pins) do not exist, refs call falls very quickly.
  • Appreciation points still exist, I'm not going into those.
  • In situations which involve takedowns and multiple forms of counter exposure, the scoring relies on a bunch of subtle and confusing distinctions. You will often see video replay in these situations, the results of video reviews are usually cause for more confusion (wrestling needs to fix this, this is where 90% of ambiguity arises in the scoring, the process is totally impenetrable to the average viewer, and the results often make no sense even to experts)
  • Refs make calls, but these calls are not final as there is a process of approval from the mat judge and chairman. When the challenge sponge is thrown, and video review is instituted, final say on the scoring rests in the hands of the jury. Yep, there's a jury.
  • If a corner loses a video challenge, the opposing wrestler is awarded a point. As said before, challenges are issued by throwing the sponge, the throwers cannot indicate what they are specifically challenging. The officials review an indeterminate portion of the preceding match on video, and they can change the score in anyway they see fit. Video reviews are a crap shoot, but I guess that's part of the fun. You just have to go with the flow.
  • Ties are broken by the following criteria: if one wrestler has scored a higher value technique than any scored by the other, then he wins, if all values are equal, then last to score wins.
  • There is a bunch of additional nuance I'm leaving out.
  • Join me for part 2 of Bloody Elbows complete guide to the 2013 FILA Wrestling World Championships which will feature weight class previews.

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