* European Olympic qualifications postponed until next year

By Angel Krasimirov

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SOFIA, April 6 (Reuters) - The international wrestling governing body, United World Wresting (UWW), plans to keep the world championship in its 2021 calendar as it would be the first time the event to be staged in an Olympic year, UWW's vice-president said on Monday.

"We're keen to organise the world championship in Norway next year," UWW-Europe President Tzeno Tzenov told Reuters.

"We know that the Olympic Games will take place only a couple of months before that but we want to give much more wrestlers to compete at top level following the unexpected pause because of the coronavirus crisis.

"Such move will be entirely in favour of the athletes as you can see how many events had been cancelled. There are six weight categories at the Olympics and 10 categories at the world championship, so you can see the difference.

"The wrestlers deserve their big tournament and we'll most probably see the first world championship in an Olympic year for the very first time," added Tzenov, also a long-standing general secretary, vice-president and president of the Bulgarian wrestling federation.

The world championship in Oslo is scheduled to take place in early October next year, only two months after the Tokyo Games but Tzenov said the competition in Norway could be postponed by several weeks.

"The hosts - the Norwegian federation, said it was ready to postpone the championship by several weeks but to organise it in 2021," he said. "The final decision will be taken later this year."

Tzenov said that UWW has decided to postpone the European Olympic qualification and the world "last chance" Olympic qualification until next year due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The European qualifier in Budapest will be staged in March 2021 while the world "last chance" qualifier in Sofia will take place in early May next year.

Tzenov said that UWW can also change the dates of other events, depending on the situation around the globe, adding the world's governing body will most probably take a decision in August.

Wrestling was one of the original nine sports included in the first modern Olympics programme in 1896. The women's competition was added in 2004. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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