Senior Welsh official, Ian Wiggett, refereed his final international competition at the GB Grand Prix on 2nd December. Ian, who hails from near Abergavenny, has been an international referee for over 20 years. During that time he has travelled around the world representing Great Britain as an official. After officiating at the Manchester and Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Ian was the Welsh referee at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the technical manager for Wrestling at the Birmingham Games last year. After refereeing the final match of the competition at the weekend, Ian left his whistle and armbands in the centre of the mat. He was presented with a golden whistle, and left the field of play to applause and referees blowing their whistles.
I’m hugely grateful for the opportunities wrestling has given me,” said Ian. “I loved the sport since I was first introduced to it. I became a referee to stay involved in wrestling and keep active. I’ve travelled across Europe and as far afield as South Africa, Singapore and Australia – I’ve refereed some top Olympic athletes and worked with some of the best referees in the world.”
Prior to becoming a referee, Ian was a wrestler himself, and represented Wales in the 1998 GB Challenge Cup. He started wrestling after joining the police, where he trained with several international athletes. “The rules of wrestling have changed a lot since I started,” said Ian. “It was always a physically demanding sport, but it is now much faster and dynamic. Matches are exciting, especially with the younger age groups we had in the Grand Prix last weekend. The referee’s job is challenging, but it’s also very rewarding when you know you’ve done a good job on the mat.”
Although United World Wrestling have an upper age limit for international referees, Ian will continue to officiate at the national level within Britain. Ian will also remain closely involved with the sport in Wales. He is currently the Secretary of the Welsh Wrestling Association, a member of the Commonwealth Wrestling committee, and a director of the British Wrestling Association.