Women's Wrestling


The Irish Amateur Wrestling Association is committed to increasing women’s involvement in wrestling as athletes, coaches, referees and volunteers.

Men’s Freestyle wrestling and weight classes both made their first appearance in the Olympic Games in 1904. Women's wrestling competition was introduced in 2004. To date Ireland has not sent a female wrestler to compete at a high level in a European, World Championships or Olympic Games.

Will you be Irelands first?


In Ireland, Women’s wrestling is a minority sport but growing year on year. The IAWA is committed to growing women’s wrestling from the grassroots to the senior divisions. We are currently in the process of pursing grants to run specific women’s wrestling programmes to support women wrestlers, coaches and referees.

If you are unsure about how far you can go in women’s wrestling, have a listen to Erica Wiebe.

Erica is an Olympic champion wrestler from Canada. She experienced stigma and self-doubt for pursuing a sport that society does not always expect of a woman. She shares the importance of surrounding yourself with people that support your dreams, and not being afraid to ask for help. With the right community, Erica believes you can do anything - now dedicating her time to supporting young girls in Calgary to grow in confidence and purpose through wrestling. Click on the link to hear what Erica has to say.
https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/original-series/detail/what-moves-me/what-moves-me-season- season-1/episodes/erica-wiebe-finding-your-place/

Wrestling is one of a few sports that anyone can participate in regardless of gender, height, weight, socio economic status and most disabilities. You might be interested in knowing that in the United States in 2011, the NCAA Division One wrestling champion was Anthony Robles from Arizona State University. The amazing thing about his accomplishment is that he did it with only one leg. Don’t let anything hold you back.

We all know that regular physical exercise is good for a girl's body, mind, and spirit, you can get your daily dose of endorphins from a jog around the block.

So why wrestle?


Wrestling offers some extra benefits for girls in addition to having fun and getting fit.
Here are a few:

  • Girls who play sports do better in school. You might think that physical activity will take up all your study time. But research shows that girls who play sports do better in school and are more likely to do very well in exams than those who don't. Exercise improves learning, memory, and concentration, which can give active girls an advantage when it comes to the classroom.
  • Girls who play sports learn teamwork and goal-setting skills. Working with coaches, trainers and teammates to win matches and meet goals is great practice for success later in life. Being a team player can make it easier to work with others and solve problems, whether on the mat or in the workplace.
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  • Sports have hidden health benefits. Some benefits of sports are obvious — like improving fitness and maintaining a healthy weight. Girls who play sports are also less likely to smoke and have a reduced chance of getting breast cancer and osteoporosis later in life. Sure, you can get these benefits from any type of exercise. But if you have trouble getting to the gym, there may be more incentive to show up and wrestle if you know your coaches or teammates depend on you.
  • Playing sports builds self-confidence. Girls involved in wrestling feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming reality. Other esteem-boosting benefits of wrestling training include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy weight, and making new friends.
  • Exercise can cut the pressure. Pressure is a big part of life. Playing sports can help you deal with it, since exercise is a natural mood lifter and a great way to relieve stress and fight depression. Plus, when you are part of a club, you have friends who support you both on and off the mat.
  • Wrestling teaches accountability, delayed gratification, and humility. There are no substitutions once you are on the mat. A wrestler must think for herself/himself when on the mat. There is nobody out there to help them once the referee blows the whistle.
  • Wrestling is a great sport for teaching self defense but unlike many of the martial arts, wrestling is much safer because there are no submission or choke holds. In other words, wrestling is very safe.

Wrestling is a contact sport but when some simple safety protocol is routinely followed, the risk of injury is substantially reduced. This protocol includes but is not limited to the following:

  • ✓ Warm up properly before physical training
  • ✓ Headgear can be worn in both training and competition. This will prevent one of the most common wrestling injuries cauliflower ear.
  • ✓ Every wrestler should shower and thoroughly wash with soap and water immediately following practice and competition. This will significantly reduce the chances of skin infection.

Wrestling is the ultimate physical fitness sport. It also has a relatively low-cost outlay.

Wrestling will help you become better at other sports. Wrestlers learn how to hand grapple, improve strength, maintain balance and agility.

In summary, wrestling is a great sport for “battle testing” young people for later in life. There are few things you will ever do that are tougher. As the legendary USA Olympic wrestler and coach Dan Gable once said, “once you have wrestled, everything else is easy.”

Girls Wrestling FAQ

Q: What is Freestyle Wrestling
A: Freestyle Wrestling is an Olympic sport participated in throughout the world. Taking someone down and getting in behind in the control position is worth the same amount of points (2), but going from feet to back is worth 4 points. In freestyle, there are also points awarded simply for exposing your opponent’s back to the mat (i.e. rolling them or tipping their back past 90 degrees). In Freestyle Wrestling the bottom opponent only needs to prevent being turned for about 15 seconds. If so, the wrestling returns to the feet.

Q: Do the girls wrestle with the boys?
A: Some clubs may now be starting to offer girls only training, it is important for girls (especially when younger) to also wrestle the boys. This enables them to improve their reaction time and strength. As they get older, depending on their size, this may change and girls will be matched up with partners appropriate to their size and skill level. As the numbers of girls wrestling grows, more girl partners will become available.

Q: Are their girls only competitions?
A: Yes, internationally. At a local level in Ireland, not currently but this is improving. As a result, we will seek out opportunities to travel and improve

Q: Is wrestling dangerous for girls?
A: As with any sport, there is always an element of risk of injury. Soccer, Hurling, Rugby, etc. all have these same risks. However, the close contact nature and rules are set up to help prevent injuries. In addition, wrestling teaches you how to control your body and become more athletic.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with the IAWA in the areas of refereeing, coaching, officiating or as a volunteer, we would love to hear from you. Email us on irishwrestling@outlook.ie


Useful Links

Membership Page - www.irishwrestling.ie/membership/

Guide to Women’s Wrestling Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch/A8YoFZg_NGM

Benefits of becoming an IAWA Member - www.irishwrestling.ie/membership/benefits

Wrestling Insurance - www.irishwrestling.ie/membership/insurance

Anti-Doping - www.irishwrestling.ie/governance/anti-doping

Covid 19 Protocols - www.irishwrestling.ie/returning-to-wrestling-protocol

IAWA Events Calendar - www.irishwrestling.ie/events

United World Wrestling Online Academy - academy.unitedworldwrestling.org/

Wrestling Gear - www.irishwrestling.ie/shop