One of the oldest sports in the World University Championship programme, Wrestling debuted in 1968 in Türkiye, and on occasions, it has been an optional sport at the Summer Games. It’s a popular sport in FISU, being organized on several continents. In 2022, Wrestling became part of the FISU University World Cup Combat Sports in Samsun, Türkiye. Combat Sports will return to the Championship format in 2024.
FISU Technical Committee Chairs
The History of Wrestling in FISU
Today, there are many discussions concerning appropriate sports programmes for major events. There are sports that are automatically included into the programme for one simple reason: they have been practised for centuries. Wrestling is one of those. Like Athletics, Wrestling dates back to Greek and Roman antiquity and things haven’t evolved according to materials or fashion. There is one rule engraved on a stone: “Take your opponent down and glue him to the mat”.
Wrestling was first part of the World University Championship programme 1968 in Istanbul (TUR). Though there was a hiatus as a Championship for many years, it did appear on the programme of the 1973, 1977, and 1981 Summer Universiades. A return to more traditional values gave wrestling a new lease of life and it was Iran which put the sport back in the limelight and included it into the FISU agenda by organising the second Wrestling World University Championshpi in Teheran in 1996. It was a magnificent success with 171 wrestlers from 18 countries, among whom were such great champions as Serguey Liehtrvan and Alexander Zanko from Belarus. In 1998 Türkiye organised the third edition, echoing the first one that it had organised 30 years earlier in 1968. Obviously, the sport was definitely back, because many member associations had expressed a lively interest in hosting a Wrestling championship. In the year 2000, the championship was held in Japan and that was a great delight for all university wrestlers. Women participated for the first time in the World University Wrestling Championship in Edmonton in 2002.
At the Summer Universiade 2005 in Izmir, Türkiye, wrestling competition for both men and women took place. It was a great success with the participation of 40 countries and more than 340 wrestlers. With an increasing number of participants, wrestling became one of the FISU star championships. In 2022, for the first time, it was part of the FISU University World Cup Combat Sports where six sports, including wrestling, featured in Samsun, Türkiye.