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Monday Roundup: DEN Going Outside; SWE Temporary Lay-Offs; Koguashvili

denmark, fredrik bjerrehuus
Fredrik Bjerrehuus -- Photo: Kadir Caliskan

Restrictions due to the coronavirus are beginning to ease in most of Scandinavia, though one nation that stayed away from the stringent measures observed elsewhere sees its national federation temporarily laying off employees.

First up is Denmark, where last week the country’s wrestlers were given the green light to participate in outdoor training activities. Similar to the majority of the planet, Denmark implemented lockdown protocols in March to curtail the infectiousness of the virus. As confirmed cases have continued to drop, the Danish Federation is able to loosen the reins enough to allow its network of wrestling clubs to begin holding practices in the open air — with a few guidelines attached. Below is their statement.

“One of the greatest strengths of association life is the community – a physical community where you meet and train, laugh and have fun together. It is with great pleasure that we can now encourage all the wrestling clubs to gather members in the outdoor sports community. Thus, together can be trained again if some simple precautions are observed.

“Among other things, you must inform yourself in relation to the rules in force at all times:

– Maximum number of participants.

– Keeping indoor sports facilities closed – min. until May 10.

– To avoid body contact and keep distance in general.

– Maintain good hand hygiene.

– You have to stay home with mild disease symptoms.

– Dressing and bathing in communal facilities must take place at home so far.”

On the other hand there is Sweden, which has been the subject of much discussion in the United States recently.

Sweden has operated as an outlier during the pandemic. Though the nation has encouraged “social distancing”, it has managed to avoid shuttering vital economic infrastructure. By and large, the government has left it up to the citizenry to police themselves, lack of a better term. But despite Sweden’s seeming ability to retain a sense of normalcy, its national federation has decided to put staff on hiatus in an effort to conserve finances (statement below).

“The decision is valid from April 20 to May 31. Then a new decision is made as to whether or not to continue the layoff.

“‘We are affected just like everyone else by the corona eruption – also financially. We have a responsibility to do what we can, and do it on time, to protect our business in the long term. We do not actually know how long it will last. By introducing short-term work, we can reduce the financial burden on the organization – and thus also the risk that the business will be adversely affected’, says Samuel Lund, secretary general of the Swedish Wrestling Association.”

Sweden and Denmark have both qualified one weight category for the Tokyo Olympics. At the 2019 World Championships, Alex Kessidis (SWE, world #2) earned silver at 77 kilograms, while Fredrik Bjerrehuus (DEN, world #11) placed fifth at 67. The European Olympic Games Qualifier set for March in Budapest was postponed and is yet to receive a new date.

Birthday Boy

Russia’s National Team head coach Gogi Koguashvili turned 51 on Sunday. Aside from being the leader of the world’s #1 program, Georgian-born Koguashvili was also one of the premier uuper-weight athletes of his era. Throughout a career that spanned nearly a decade and a half, Koguashvili won five Senior World titles, an Olympic bronze (’92), and three European Championship golds.

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