Several countries in Europe have recently been dealing with increases in COVID-19 cases, leading to new rounds of restrictions that directly affect participation in wrestling.
In Bulgaria, indoor sports are permitted to continue for athletes over the age of 18 who compete at a “professional” level, which would include full-time, World-level wrestlers. Younger athletes aren’t as fortunate, as the temporary halt in activity covers everyone else indoors and outdoors. On a side note, members of Bulgaria’s Greco-Roman National Team just completed a training camp on November 27. This latest wave of restrictions came down on November 25 and is expected to last until December 21.
The governments in Croatia and Norway have outlined similar precautionary measures, with both nations expressing leniency towards those considered “top athletes”. There is one difference, however. In Norway, updated restrictions are limited to Oslo, with athletes (of indoor sports) prohibited from practice and competition between the ages of 13 and 19; but youths who are of “primary school” age (elementary or grammar school in the US) are not encumbered by these protocols. Croatia’s measures, put into effect this past Saturday, are more aligned with Bulgaria’s.
In fact, Croatia’s language is even more precise. In their statement, the Croatian Wrestling Federation said, “As far as sports and recreation are concerned, i.e., the part that concerns our wrestlers, the suspension of sports competitions and trainings is in force, except for athletes (in) I., II. and III. categories in individual sports and senior teams competing in the highest level of competition.” These categories include Croatia wrestlers who compete at an international level on a full-time basis and are candidates for World and Olympic events.
It should be noted that the statements from Croatia and Bulgaria stipulate that scheduled events in their respective countries can still occur as long as proper epidemiological guidelines are observed (e.g., wearing masks, no spectators allowed, and various other protocols with regard to sanitation and athlete/staff safety).
Germany’s Team for December
Germany has declared their delegation for United World Wrestling’s Individual World Cup slated for next month in Belgrade, Serbia. Three-time World Champion Frank Staebler (67 kg, world #8) is sitting this one out after deciding to rest on the heels of what was an abbreviated Bundesliga season. 2017 World bronze Pascal Eisele highlights the roster along with heavyweight Eduard Popp (world #9). Staebler and Popp both qualified their weight categories at Nur-Sultan ’19 for the Tokyo Olympics by placing third and fifth, respectively.
55 kg: Fabian Schmitt — ’19 European Championships bronze
60 kg: Etienne Kinsinger — ’13 Cadet World Champion, ’16 Junior World silver
67 kg: Witalis Lazovski
72 kg: Idris Ibaev — ’20 Thor Masters gold
77 kg: Pascal Eisele — ’17 World bronze
82 kg: Roland Schwarz — ’19 European Championships silver
130 kg: Eduard Popp — ’16 Olympian