European Championships in wrestling have a long history and are considered to be one of the oldest international competitions.26-04-00_big

They originated exactly 120 years ago – in 1898 in Vienna and were conducted according to the rules of the Greco-Roman struggle, which at that time was called “French”, and then for a long time – “classical”.

In the Austrian capital and the next four championships, competitions were held in the same weight category, then each time they increased, and in 2013 the categories became the same as at the Olympic Games.

The second time the European classics gathered at their forum in 1902 in The Hague, after that they began to compete more often, and since 1925 – every year.

GeorgGeorg Gakkenshmidt – the first European champion

The first title of the champion of Europe was won by the Russified German from the Baltic region, nicknamed “The Russian Lion” Georg Gakkenshmidt (1898). Following him, the absolute winners were the German Hans-Heinrich Egeberg (1902), the Czechs Gustav Fristensky (1903) and Franz Bloner (1905) and the Dutch classic D. Pleuger (1904).

Freestyle wrestling, whose ancestors are considered to be Americans, was not immediately recognized in the Old World, and the first European Championship in this style was held only in 1929 in Paris. Since that time, the European have regularly gathered for their championships, and only when the Second World War began, competitions for both styles were suspended. After a pause, they resumed, but not for long. In the post-war years, only two European freestyle wrestling championships were held (Stockholm-1946, Istanbul-1949) and one in the classical (Prague-1947).


Alexander Karelin – the owner of many records in the fight.
One of them he established, speaking at European championships,
on which he won 12 gold medals

1966 was a new milestone in the history of the European struggle. Since that time, championships of the continent are held annually in two styles. Only in 1971 they did not take place, and in 2015 they were replaced by the first European games.

In the 1980s, women’s wrestling began to be cultivated in Europe. At the first continental championship of the representative of the beautiful half of humanity gathered in 1988 in French Dijon, and the second, held in the Russian Ivanov, only five years later. Formation and development of women’s struggle took place in favorable conditions, when the International Olympic Committee and other sports organizations, embarking on the idea of ​​gender equality in sports, strongly encouraged the involvement of the weaker sex in competitions in disciplines considered purely male. The third European Women’s Wrestling Championship was held in 1996 in Oslo and since then these competitions have been held every year.

YrdanovValentin Yordanov with the president of the European Committee UWW Price Tsenov.
The legendary Bulgarian collected the largest collection of championship medals
Continent in freestyle wrestling – seven gold, one silver and one bronze

In the question of how many European championships were held, there is no consensus, and this is due to different approaches in determining the status of European wrestling competitions held at the beginning of the last century. If you follow the official data that are found in the reference literature published by the United World of Wrestling (UWW), the championship of the continent-2018 in Kaspiysk will be 79th in Greco-Roman style, 60th in freestyle and 24th in women’s championship.

Official statistics also indicate that most often the right to host the continental championships was granted to Budapest, which hosted these competitions ten times, six of which took place in the pre-war years. Buvaysar Saitiev was the most successful in this city, in the capital of Hungary, the famous wolf won three of six European titles in 1996, 2000 and 2001, and in 2005 he won the World Championship.

Umin1976 Leningrad. The first European Championship in Russia. At the highest level
pedestal – Vladimir Yumin. Three months later the Dagestani Wolves
will go to the Olympics in Montreal and again he will not be equal

Dagestan Kaspiisk will become the fifth city of Russia, where the European wrestling summit will take place. And the first was Leningrad, where in 1976 the wolves and classics competed, then in Ivanovo in 1993, and Moscow twice, where in 2000 the awards were challenged by the classics, and in 2006 by representatives of all three styles of wrestling.

A record number of medals will be played in Kaspiisk, with 120 participants in 10 weight categories in each of the fighting styles. The upcoming championship will be a record for recent years and the number of spectators. Nowhere in Europe today, the struggle is not as popular as in the North Caucasus, especially it is revered in Dagestan, where wrestling competitions invariably evoke a heightened spectator interest. And what to expect from the European Championship, which will be held in the republic for the first time !? It will be a big sports festival, which will attract thousands and thousands of spectators, wishing to see first-hand fights of the best fighters of the European continent.

Murad KANAEV (



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