Japan Advances Susaki, Okuno, Kawai to Finals

By Andrew Hipps

BUDAPEST, Hungary (October 24) -- A day after crowning two world champions in women's wrestling, Japan has a chance to add three more gold medalists on Thursday. 

Yui SUSAKI (50kg), Haruna OKUNO (53kg) and Yukako KAWAI (62kg) advanced to the finals with victories in the semifinals of the World Championships on Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary. 

Susaki, a 2017 senior world champion and three-time cadet world champion, needed just a minute and a half to earn a 10-0 technical fall in the semifinals over Oksana LIVACH (UKR) at 50kg. Susaki scored a takedown and used a leg lace to go up 6-0 a minute into the match. A short time later she added another takedown and ended the match with her leg lace.

She will face 30-year-old Mariya STADNIK (AZE) in the finals at 50kg. Stadnik, a past world champion and multiple-time world medalist, reached the gold-medal match with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Sonhyang KIM (PRK). Kim attempted to score a takedown in the closing seconds, but Stadnik fought it off and gave up just a step out to preserve the lead and take the victory. 

Okuno, a returning world champion, rolled to an 8-1 semifinal victory over Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) at 53kg. Okuno scored first with a takedown and led 2-0 at the break. Krawczyk inched closer in the second period with a step out to make the score 2-1. But Okuno quickly pulled away, picking up three more takedowns to win by seven. Okuno's finals opponent will be Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA).

Hildebrandt proved to be too much for Diana WEICKER (CAN) in the semifinals at 53kg. Hildebrandt dominated from the start, using a takedown and two turns to race out to a 6-0 lead. She built her lead to 8-0 at the break and closed out the technical fall in the second period. 

Kawai came back to defeat past world champion Yuliia TKACH OSTAPCHUK (UKR). Tkach jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the break after a step out and takedown in the first period. The score remained 3-0 until just over a minute remaining in the match when Kawai scored a takedown to cut the deficit to 3-2 before adding a gut wrench turn to grab a 4-3 lead. Tkach took a shot with just over 20 seconds remaining and was able to get Kawai's leg, but couldn't finish. 

Kawai, who secured her first world medal, will meet four-time world medalist Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) in the gold-medal match at 62kg. Yusein reached the finals with a fall over Mallory VELTE (USA). After a scoreless first two minutes, Yusein locked up a cradle and pinned the American.

At 57kg, Ningning RONG (CHN) used a strong second period to dominate Grace BULLEN (NOR) and claim her spot in the gold-medal match. Bullen led 2-0 at the break. But the second belonged to Rong. After getting a takedown in the first minute of the second period, Rong used a gut wrench to turn Bullen five times for the technical fall. 

Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) defeated two-time world bronze medalist Emese BARKA (HUN) 6-2 in the other semifinal match at 57kg. 

Semifinal Results

Women's Wrestling

Yui SUSAKI (JPN) df. Oksana LIVACH (UKR) by VSU, 10-0
Mariya STADNIK (AZE) df. Sonhyang KIM (PRK) by VPO1, 4-2

Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) df. Diana WEICKER (CAN) by VSU, 10-0
Haruna OKUNO (JPN) df. Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) by VPO1, 8-1

Bilyana Zhivkova DUDOVA (BUL) df. Emese BARKA (HUN) by VPO1, 6-2
Ningning RONG (CHN) df. Grace BULLEN (NOR) by VSU1, 12-2

Yukako KAWAI (JPN) df. Yuliia TKACH OSTAPCHUK (UKR) by VPO1, 4-3
Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) df. Mallory VELTE (USA) by VFA, 2-0


Russia Sweeps Greco Gold Medals on Final Day of World Championships

By Andrew Hipps

BUDAPEST, Hungary (October 28) -- Russia put the finishing touches on a world team title in Greco-Roman by sweeping the gold medals on the final day of the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (77kg), Musa EVLOEV (97kg) and Sergey SEMENOV (130kg) came through to win gold medals in Greco-Roman for Russia on Sunday.

Russia finished with 178 team points in Greco-Roman, 89 points ahead of runner-up Hungary (89). Turkey finished third in the team standings with 75 points. 

Chekhirkin captured his gold medal by defeating crowd favorite Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) 3-1 in the gold-medal match at 77kg. The Russian led 1-1 on criteria after the opening period and added to his lead in the second period off a passivity and then scored a late step out to win by two. 

Evloev upgraded his world medal from silver to gold as he topped Kiril MILOV (BUL) 7-2 in the gold-medal match at 97kg. The Bulgarian scored the first point of the match off a passivity, but Evloev dominated the rest of the way. He came back with a takedown to lead 2-1 at the break. After extending his lead to 3-1, the 25-year-old Russian used a side lift to execute a four-point throw to extend his lead. 

Semenov dominated Adam COON (USA) 9-0 in the gold-medal match at 130kg. The 23-year-old Russian heavyweight used two four-point throws to cruise to the technical fall victory. Semenov was a gold medalist at the U23 World Championships last year and won two world gold medals as a junior. 

The bronze medals at 77kg were won by world champions Hyeonwoo KIM (KOR) and Viktor NEMES (SRB)

Kim, a multiple-time Olympic medalist, picked up a 3-1 win over Bilan NALGIEV (UZB). The Korean scored a two-point throw in the first period, which proved to be the difference in the match. 

Nemes won his second straight world medal by defeating Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) 6-2 for bronze. The Serb held a 2-2 criteria lead after the opening period and tacked on four more points in the second period.

In the first bronze-medal match at 97kg, Mihail KAJALA (SRB) won his first world medal and denied Balazs KISS (HUN) a fourth world medal. Kiss seemed to be in control early after scoring off a passivity and adding a takedown to grab a 3-0 lead at the break. But Kajala used a four-point arm throw to grab the lead midway through the second period and hung on to win on criteria, 4-4. 

Mahdi ALIYARIFEIZABADI (IRI) won the other 97kg bronze medal by forfeit.

At 130kg, Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) won his second straight world bronze medal with a 3-1 victory over Heiki NABI (EST). Pino Hinds scored his first point off a passivity. Nabi grabbed the lead in the second period after getting a passivity point of his own. But the Cuban would add another passivity point along with a point for a failed challenge to win by two. 

Minseok KIM (KOR), a past junior world bronze medalist, claimed his first senior world medal as he hung on to defeat Eduard POPP (GER) 2-1 in the second bronze-medal match at 130kg. Kim scored a two-point exposure in the first period, which was enough to get him the victory. 

Final Results


GOLD: Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) df. Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) by VPO1, 3-1
BRONZE: Hyeonwoo KIM (KOR) df. Bilan NALGIEV (UZB) by VPO1, 3-1

GOLD: Musa EVLOEV (RUS) df. Kiril MILOV (BUL) by VPO1, 7-2
BRONZE: Mihail KAJALA (SRB) df. Balazs KISS (HUN) df. VPO1, 4-4

GOLD: Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) df. Adam COON (USA) by VSU, 9-0
BRONZE: Minseok KIM (KOR) df. Eduard POPP (GER) by VPO1, 2-1
BRONZE: Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) df. Heiki NABI (EST) by VPO1, 3-1