Tokyo Olympics: difference between freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling

What is the difference between freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling? India does not have a Greco-Roman representative in Tokyo, but the country’s hopes rest on freestyle wrestling.

One of the main differences between the two styles is that in Greco-Roman wrestling, a competitor cannot hold his opponent below the waist. He can use his torso and body to take down the opponent and cannot use his legs for defensive or offensive purposes. Thus, the emphasis is more on the throws.

In freestyle wrestling, which is also followed in the women’s division, a competitor can hold a rival below the waist and use leg attacks.

Freestyle and Greco-Roman techniques and strategies vary because of this fundamental difference.

The scoring also varies in the two styles. Here is an example: a free wrestler leading at least 10-0 is declared the winner by technical superiority, while in Greco-Roman, a margin of 8-0 is sufficient for such a victory. There are other variations in the scoring pattern of the two styles.

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Both styles at the Olympics

From 1904, the freestyle and Greco-Roman styles were included in all editions of the Olympics. There was no stipulation on wrestlers competing in either style until the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where competitions were held on the basis of quota places allocated in the free and Greco-Roman styles during qualifying events for the first time. Women’s freestyle wrestling made its debut at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers at the Olympics

The success of Indian wrestlers at the Olympics has been limited to the freestyle. No Indian Greco-Roman wrestler has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Pappu Yadav represented India in the Greco-Roman style at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

So far, six Greco-Roman wrestlers – Pappu Yadav, Kaka Pawar, Ravinder Singh, Rajender Kumar, Dharmender Dalal and Sunil Rana – have received Arjuna awards. Malwa Singh, who competed in freestyle and Greco-Roman at the 1964 Olympics, was one of the early exponents of this style.

Sandeep Yadav is the only Indian Greco-Roman wrestler to have won a world championship medal. He then tested positive for a prohibited substance.

Sunil Kumar, the first Indian to win an Asian title in Greco-Roman wrestling after 27 years in 2020, is currently a big name.


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Robert J. King