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What are the rules of wrestling? Score, Categories Dimensions, History at the Olympics

All you need to know about Rules, Scoring, dimensions and Indians at Olympics Tokyo 2021.

Bajrang Punia tokyo 2020 wrestling

Bajrang Punia


Yuvraj Kandathil

Updated: 30 March 2021 7:16 PM GMT

Diversified to two disciplines, Freestyle and Greco-Roman, Wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics shall provide opportunities for 18 gold medals with around 288 wrestlers expected to compete.

The wrestling federation of India (WFI) has got its minds set on bringing home four medals. With the likes of highly aspirant candidature from India's, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Deepak Punia, the team's expectations go further than parallels of the prior adventures.

Close to losing a place at the Tokyo Olympics is the former bronze medalist Sakshi Malik. Upon reorganisation, the dates for commencement have been set to August 1, 2021. Each Nation is let to have a maximum of 18 contestants for all the events.

The two disciplines for men as mentioned above are divided into weight differential categories including athletes of 57kg, 65kg, 86kg, 97kg and 125kg in the freestyle format. And as for men's Greco-Roman event weight categories are 60kg, 67kg, 77kg, 87kg, 97kg, and 130kg. Only simple variant differs the two disciplines.

In Greco-Roman, one is only let use the upper body and in freestyle, any part of the body can be used to subdue the opponent. Whereas in women's freestyle event, weight categories are asserted to, 50kg, 53kg, 57kg, 62kg, 68kg and 76kgs.

The wrestling events at the Tokyo Olympics are destined to be at the Makuhari Messe Hall.

Freestyle Wrestling

Making an official debut at the 1904 Olympics, freestyle wrestling is the most popularly practised discipline in wrestling.

Wrestling Mat


In a wrestling court, key things to know about are the Central Wrestling Area, the Passivity Zone and the Protection area. The inner circle, being the main wrestling area, is ought to have a diameter of 7m. The outer circle being the passivity zone is supposed to be thinned to a meter each in length at both sides. Total play area would thus total 9 meters in diameter.

The whole dojo is laid out on a 12m by 12m square mat. The rest of the area on the court is usually blued in colour and has a border at 1.5m exactly from the playing field as a protected area.

A bout lasts for two periods of three minutes each divided by a 30-second interval.


Like any other sport, victory is claimed by scoring points. Points scored are accounted by moves such as, legal holds, throws, takedowns, manoeuvring the opponent to expose his back to the mat over a period of time or through execution of reversals (grabbing control of the situation from a disadvantageous defensive position).

Like how move execution difficulty matters in Gymnastics, points are awarded to athletes by the degree of difficulty in wrestling as well. Points for this can vary from 1 to 5.

A player can lose points to the opponent if one causes infractions like illegal holds, fleeing from a hold rather than defending, or by being too passive to engage.

A tally with total points gained in a match eventually determines the winner.

In case of a tie, the player who claimed a maximum number of points over a single move, or one who got the least number of cautions, or securer of the last point, is declared the winner.

Freestyle Wrestling


  • Times the players are cautioned, the accumulation of three such faults can result in disqualification.
  • Wrestlers are allowed to use all parts of their body in this format, unlike Greco-Roman where contact below the waist or usage of legs are prohibited.
  • The wrestler is allowed to let go and re-establish contact making the sport more fluid.
  • If a person remains passive, firstly a verbal warning is issued and on the continuation of so, a thirty-second mandatory scoring window is issued.
  • Relating to the above-mentioned point, if neither of the players is able to capitalise a point, a technical point is awarded to the opponent of the designated passive wrestler.
  • In case the clock shows the time remaining to be 30 second or less, no player is allowed to show passivity, and faulting so shall result in a point being awarded to the active wrestler.
  • All participants should comply to UWW uniform guidelines.
  • A 10 point difference between two opponents can result in declaring a winner by technical superiority.
  • Upon recommencement of bouts, aspirants must attribute to a "parterre" position.

Greco-Roman Wrestling

Greco-Roman claims the spot as one of the nine original sports to feature in the 1896 Athens Olympics and became regular since the 1908 London Olympics. Holding the opponent below the waist or using the legs for any defensive or offensive purpose is strictly prohibited.

Like other formats of wrestling in the world, Greco-Roman wrestling follows the same pattern of pinning down the opponent's shoulders to the mat in order to gain points, and accumulate as much as possible over a designated time-frame to win.


Dimensions for the event remains the same as the one in freestyle and women's wrestling formats.


  • Similar to Freestyle, Greco-Roman has a time frame of two halves consisting of three minutes each.
  • Even though most of the rules are similar to freestyle wrestling, key technical differences separate them both. One of them is, any contact qualifying as a hold below the waist is not allowed.
  • Secondly, any intended use of leg for offensive or defensive moves are prohibited.
  • Leg fouls are warned at first, and then a point is awarded to the opposition upon repetition.
  • For a hold to be valid, a follow-through, maintaining primary contact is necessary.
  • Passivity penalties apply here as well.
Greco Roman Wrestling


With very similar scoring styles to Freestyle, the point is awarded on basis of difficulty and execution. From a single move, the maximum points awarded can be five points through a grand amplitude throw. The move involves, picking up and throwing the opponent to the ground and remaining in control.

Points are also earned through reversals. Meaning, regaining control from a defensive position or through faulty actions from the opponent.

If a wrestler is able to pin the opponent's shoulders down for a substantial period of time touching the mat, the player shall be rewarded with an instant victory.

An 8 point lead/advantage, compared to the 10 in Freestyle can effect a win by technical superiority.

With ample time from covid halts, wrestlers have come twice prepared and fiercely. With anticipations from the whole world, it'll be a sport where a lot of eyes are set at.

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