Last week, it was reported here that the Danish Wrestling Federation permitted its wrestlers to begin conducting training sessions outdoors with certain restrictions in place, namely social physical distancing. One week later, another European nation is starting to do the same
Retroactive to May 1, Austria is allowing athletes (not just wrestlers) to train outdoors under similar guidelines and protocols observed in Denmark. The parameters involved are virtually equal. According to the Republic of Austria’s official Covid-19 Relaxation Ordinance, “When entering public places outdoors, a distance of at least one meter must be kept from people who do not live in the same household.” As is the case with Denmark and elsewhere, Austria is observing this development as a hopeful and gradual step towards a return to normalcy going by the language used by its wrestling federation’s statement.
“The last few weeks have demanded a lot from officials, trainers and athletes. The clubs in the Austrian Ringsport Association live on the basis of social contacts. These should be started up again slowly in the coming weeks and an adapted training, under the corresponding recommendations, can take place again. The positive aspects of exercise and sport have led to the fact that selected outdoor sports venues have also been open to mass athletes since May 1st. Of course, the hygiene measures and distance rules still apply. In compliance with the safety rules, however, sports can be performed there again.”
Neighboring country Germany has yet to publicly commit to sanctioning outdoor training for wrestling the way Austria or Denmark have. But — the German Wrestling Federation has completed a comprehensive proposal featuring a long list of qualifying factors aimed at resuming actual contact practices in the presumptive near-future. This proposal is tiered in chronological phases which end with a full return to not only club/national practice schedules, but competition, as well.
Several key factors set for potential launch outlined by the German Wrestling Federation are:
- Training would initially begin in small groups, with partners separated by a minimum of six square meters.
- Clothing and shoes allowed only in the training area.
- Coaches/supervisors wearing masks.
- Regular health checks before each training session.
- Parents/spectators would not be permitted in the training center.
- Weekly PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.
- Sanitizing of the training center and facilities before and after each practice.
It is also noted that Germany still intends on starting the forthcoming Bundesliga season in October.
Austria will have to wait until the European Olympic Games Qualifier is rescheduled for their next attempt at securing weight categories for the Tokyo Olympics. At the 2019 World Championships, Germany qualified three weight classes: multi-time World Champion Frank Staebler (67 kg, world #6) and ’16 Olympic bronze/’17 World silver Denis Kudla (87 kg, world #8) both placed third, while Eduard Popp (130 kg, world #9) came in fifth (for the third time in his career at a Worlds, and fourth time overall counting the ’16 Olympics).
Bulgaria Outside, Too?
Two-time Cadet World bronze Edmond Nazaryan (55 kg, BUL, world #9) — son of legendary multi-time World/Olympic champ Armen — lit up the sport by winning the European Championships this past winter despite being just a teenager. This achievement has provided the wunderkind with a massive following on Facebook, which he took to earlier today to share a few photos depicting an outdoor practice on a soccer field. No further description would appear to be necessary.
Nazaryan, 18, took out ’18 World Champion Eldaniz Azizli (AZE, world #4) in the semifinals of the European Championships before disposing of Vitali Kabaloev (RUS, world #5) in the gold-medal match. To catch a peek how Nazaryan is practicing while locked away in quarantine, head over to here.
USA — Not Yet
As of now, there is no word from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, nor USA Wrestling, regarding when American athletes will be given the green light to hold organized activities outdoors or otherwise. A call involving coaches and various officials is scheduled for Tuesday (May 5). In the meantime, the edict is and has been for wrestlers to follow federal and state guidelines when considering training. Which is to say, remain static and near their residences.