An increase in the number of weight categories and the implementation of a two-day competition format are among the changes to have been announced by wrestling’s world governing body in an attempt to improve the sport.
The changes were brought forward by the United World Wrestling (UWW) Technical Commission and voted on by members of the UWW Bureau at a meeting in Corsier-sur-Vevey in Switzerland.
The two-day competition format, which requires athletes to weigh-in on the morning of their competition, with a two-kilogram allowance for the second day, will undergo testing at the Cadet European Championships in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo in July and the Cadet World Championships in Greece’s capital Athens in September.
If the tests are successful, the format will become effective on January 1, 2018.
Wrestlers currently weigh-in the day before they compete and finish their wrestling in one day.
It is hoped the new format will limit extreme weight loss and allow for improved promotion of the tournament finals.
A plan has also been approved to increase the number of weight categories per style - men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman - from eight to 10.
The UWW Bureau will vote on the new weight categories for senior, under-23 and junior-level wrestling during their meeting at the 2017 World Championships, scheduled to take place in Paris in August.
The new weights will be in effect from January 1, 2018.
"These improvements made are incredible for the sport of wrestling," UWW President Nenad Lalović said.
"Our sport has never been stronger, and I believe that with the new categories and the improved competition format we will see continued growth in participation, support and viewership.
"I also believe these new rules will also encourage healthier wrestlers."
In a bid to help separate leading competitors at World Championships, the UWW Bureau also voted to create an objective year-long ranking system.
The system will also provide the basis for the top four seeds at senior-level World Championships.
For the 2017 World Championships, the seedings will be determined from a combination of a wrestler’s performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games or 2016 World Championships, and the 2017 Continental Championships.
Additional point-scoring tournaments may be added in the coming year, according to the UWW.
The point-scoring by individual wrestlers at international events has also been adjusted in an effort to better reflect a nation’s performance at Continental and World Championships.
Furthermore, the UWW Bureau passed several minor rule adjustments across styles, aimed at more effectively penalising passive wrestlers and encouraging active wrestling.
The rule adjustments will be in place for next week’s Under-23 European Championships in Hungarian city Szombathely.
It was announced as well that starting in 2018, any athlete who tests positive for a doping violation during a team competition, such as a World Cup, will invalidate their entire team’s result for the event.
Requests for more mat-side cameras during major events was approved too, giving referees a better platform for reviewing challenges and providing an enhanced viewing experience for fans.