Russia Edges Ukraine by 10 Points, Wins Women's Wrestling Team Title

By Eric Olanowski

PONTEVEDRA, Spain (June 7) – Mariia TIUMEREKOVA (RUS) and Mariia LACHUGINA (RUS) joined teammates Daria KHVOSTOVA (RUS) and Ekaterina VERBINA (RUS) as European champions and helped Russia (154 points) edge Ukraine (145 points) in the women’s team race by 10 points. 

In the 53kg finals, Mariia Tiumerekova, one of the most decorated age-level wrestlers competing at this year’s European Championships, outscored defending U23 and junior champion European Zeynep YETGIL (TUR), 4-1 in the second period to win the gold medal. 

Tiumerekova, the four-time age-level world medalist, trailed 1-0 after she gave up an inactivity point. Then, the Russian stopped a headlock attempt and picked up a point from a failed Turkish challenge to control the 3-1 lead late into the second period. She tacked on a step out point before the ending whistle and captured her second career European title and first since winning the 2017 cadet European title at 49kg. 

Mariia LACHUGINA (RUS) trailed 6-2 but pancaked Irina RINGACI (MDA) to her back for the fall and the 62kg title. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

In the 62kg finals, Mariia Lachugina scored the bout’s first takedown, but Irina RINGACI (MDA) quickly exploded to her feet and scored a takedown of her own to gain the 2-2 lead on criteria. In the second period, Lachugina got bulldozed over and surrendered a four-point double leg. Planted on her back, the Russian was able to sneak out of bounds and get a fresh start. When the action resumed, Lachugina returned the favor and pancaked Ringaci to her back, and picked up the fall, giving Russia their second gold medal of the day. 

This was Lachugina’s second time wrestling in the continental finals, but an improvement on her runner-up finish from back in 2015. 

Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) captured the 57kg title after sticking Maryia HULIDA (BLR). (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Second place Ukraine, who finished with seven medalists, finally got their champion on Day 6 when Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) captured the 57kg title. 

In the finals, 2017 U23 world bronze medalist Alina Akobiia quickly dismantled Maryia HULIDA (BLR), picking up the fall after leading 8-0. Akobiia dominated the match with her front headlock, picking up a pair of takedowns against her Belarusian opponent. She also scored a four-point throw with a cross ankle pick which resulted in her picking up the fall with 45 seconds left in the first period. 

This was Akobiia’s fourth appearance in the European finals but got back to her winning ways after dropping two consecutive continental gold-medal matches. 

Anastasiya ZIMIANKOVA (BLR) ended Maria NITU’s (ROU) magical European run with a convincing 7-1 victory in the 72kg finals, locking up Belarus’ third place team finish. Belarus also had a champion in Krystsina SAZYKINA (BLR), and two other medalists and finished with 126 points. 

Freestyle takes over tomorrow morning. Wrestling begins at 11:00 (local time) with the Day 6 finals starting at 18:00. All the action can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org


GOLD – Russia (154 points)
SILVER – Ukraine (144 points)
BRONZE – Belarus (126 points)
Fourth – Hungary (105 points) 
Fifth – Poland (94 points) 

GOLD - Mariia TIUMEREKOVA (RUS) df. Zeynep YETGIL (TUR), 4-2
BRONZE - Emma Jonna Denise MALMGREN (SWE) df. Tetiana PROFATILOVA (UKR), via fall 
BRONZE - Andreea ANA (ROU) df. Emma Solange Irène LUTTENAUER (FRA), 6-0 

GOLD - Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) df. Maryia HULIDA (BLR), via fall
BRONZE - Tamara DOLLAK (HUN) df. Anastasiia SIDELNIKOVA (RUS), via fall 
BRONZE - Maria Victoria BAEZ DILONE (ESP) df. Gaëlle Paquita Maravilla RUIZ (FRA), 7-2 

GOLD - Mariia LACHUGINA (RUS) df. Irina RINGACI (MDA), via fall 
BRONZE - Kateryna ZELENYKH (UKR) df. Zhala ALIYEVA (AZE), 9-6
BRONZE - Ameline DOUARRE (FRA) df. Ramina MAMEDOVA (LAT), via fall 

GOLD - Wiktoria CHOLUJ (POL) df. Anastasiia LAVRENCHUK (UKR), 5-3 
BRONZE - Amina Roxana CAPEZAN (ROU) df. Viktoria VESSO (EST), 8-8 
BRONZE - Noémi SZABADOS (HUN) df. Elena ESPOSITO (ITA), 3-2 

GOLD - Anastasiya ZIMIANKOVA (BLR) df. Maria NITU (ROU), 7-1
BRONZE - Kamila Czeslawa KULWICKA (POL) df. Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR), 11-0 


Shirai gives Japan special gold; Georgia win team title

By Vinay Siwach

PONTEVEDRA, Spain (October 23) -- Not only Japan won a freestyle gold at the U23 Worlds after four years, but it was also a historic one.

No Japanese freestyle wrestler has won a world title in over 80kg at any age group. Tatsuya SHIRAI (JPN) changed that Sunday with gold at 86kg in Pontevedra, Spain.

On the final day of the U23 World Championships, he stunned one and all to beat Trent HIDLAY (USA) to win 3-3 in the gold medal bout to end a long drought for Japan.

With gold and two bronze medals, Japan finished eighth in the team race which was surprisingly won by Georgia with 141 points. Favorites Iran finished second with 134 points while the USA managed to get third with 112 points.

Georgia crowned two championships while Iran had four but only one wrestler of the former did not reach the medal bouts. Iran had a rather tricky tournament with only five wrestlers reaching the medal bouts.

The USA failed to crown a world champion for the first time since the 2018 U23 World Championships. It won three silver and two bronze medals.

One of the silver medals was won by Hidlay who was surprised by a strong defensive final by Shirai.

"The final was tiring," Shirai said. "After all, it was against the USA. I have never done this before so there was excitement and I had fun."

Shirai did not start on a positive note as Hidlay scored a stepout before making it 2-0 with Shirai's passivity points. But the Japan wrestler scored a stepout before a takedown gave him the lead with two minutes remaining.

He never engaged again. Hidlay, who backs himself with his underhook and pushout, was frustrated as his attacks were easily blocked by Shirai. The referee warned Shirai for not engaging and even penalized him for that.

But Shirai managed to hang on for the win. In freestyle, Hiroaki TAKAGI (JPN) made the 82kg final in the Espoir division (U20) but he was one of the eight wrestlers who failed to win the title.

"My focus is on weight training and sparring," he said. "That's all for me. And I want to improve my training."

At the Japan collegiate championships in August, Shirai won titles in both freestyle [92kg] and Greco-Roman [87kg} at Nippon Sports Science University. 

He now hopes to win a spot on the Japan team for the senior world championships next year. For that, Shirai will wrestle at the Emperor's Cup in December.

"There are many rivals," he said. "I will train hard and win."

Iran's dominance
Out of the five gold medals on offer Sunday, Iran won three of them. U20 world champions Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) and Amirreaza MASOUMI (IRI) added a U23 world title to their respective age-group gold medals.

The third gold was won by Mohmmadsadegh FIROUZPOUR (IRI) who defeated Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE), 5-2, at 74kg.

Firouzpour gave up a takedown against Gadzhiyev but roared with his own takedown to lead 2-2 at the break, before hitting another own one in the second period to all but seal it for him.

Last year, Firouzpour fell in the final of the tournament but redeemed himself with the gold medal in Pontevedra.

At 92kg, the elder Firouzpour continued his unparalleled domination in age-group world championships. He finished with a bronze medal in the U23 Worlds last year but Firouzpour made sure he amends that record by winning the 92kg gold against Jacob CARDENAS (USA), 10-0.

The third gold medal was won by Masoumi who defeated Solomon MANASHVILI (GEO), 13-2, in the 125kg final. Manasvili scored two stepouts to open the scoring but that was all he would score.

Masoumi exposed the poor conditioning of Manashvili, and scored 13 answered points with ease to win his third gold at age-group tournaments.

The fifth gold was captured by Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) who became a two-time world champion at the U23 level. 

Wrestling Taiyrbek ZHUMASHBEK UULU (KGZ) in the 61kg, Harutyunyan led 1-0 with the point for passivity. But he started the second period with a takedown to make it 3-0. But Zhumashbek Uulu scored a takedown using duck under in the activity period to lead 3-3 on criteria.

Harutyunyan then rallied for a takedown and leg lace to make it 7-1. A late stepout against Harutyunyan just changed the score of the win. The two-time world bronze medal took home with gold medal 7-5.



BRONZE: Emrah ORMANOGLU (TUR) df. Aaron NAGAO (USA), 9-4

GOLD: Mohmmadsadegh FIROUZPOUR (IRI) df. Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE), 5-2

BRONZE: Vasile DIACON (MDA) df. Hrayr ALIKHANYAN (ARM), 7-3 
BRONZE: Vadym KURYLENKO (UKR) df. Temuri BERUASHVILI (GEO), via inj. def.

GOLD: Tatsuya SHIRAI (JPN) df. Trent HIDLAY (USA), 3-3


GOLD: Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) df. Jacob CARDENAS (USA), 10-0

BRONZE: Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR) df. Rizabek AITMUKHAN (KAZ), 14-3 

GOLD: Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) df. Solomon MANASHVILI (GEO), 13-2

BRONZE: Anthony CASSIOPPI (USA) df. Yurii IDZINSKYI (UKR), via inj. def.
BRONZE: Alisher YERGALI (KAZ) df. Milan KORCSOG (HUN), 6-1