Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! February 12, 2018

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing the African Championships and Taha in Ohio. Also reviewing this weeks ranking series events, and much more. 

1. Diatta and Obroududu Crowned For Eighth Time 
Adama DIATTA (SEN) and Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) made the trek to Port Harcourt, Nigeria with hopes of returning home with their eighth African gold medals.

Diatta outscored his opponents 34-4 and picked up his eighth African gold by defeating Firstman VICTOR (NGR), 7-1 in the semifinals and Chedli METHLOUTHI (TUN), 5-2 in the finals.

In the finals, Oborududu trailed 2017 African third-place finisher Anta SAMBOU (SEN) 3-0 halfway through the first period. She flipped the offensive switch and finished the match on a 14-0 run, winning her eighth African crown

Medal Summary: http://uww.io/4Su8r

Women's Wrestling 
Results: http://uww.io/2D8B6
Medal Summary: http://uww.io/cCGUX

2. Boudjemline Shocks Africa 
Zied AIT OUAGRAM (MAR), the nine-time African champion was the most heavily favored wrestlers competing in the African Championships. Before last weekend, it had been over a decade since AIT OUAGRAM had faced defeat at an African championship.

In the 77kg Greco-Roman finals, Akrem BOUDJEMLINE (ALG) was leading 1-0 when Ait Ouagram was forced to go down in par terre. Boudjemline extended his lead to 5-0 after picking up a huge four-point throw before the end of the first period. 

Ait Ouagram would fight back and tie the score at five, but Boudjemline's four-point move was the differentiating factor in the match, giving Boudjemline his second African gold medal. 

Medal Summary: http://uww.io/Tti9V

3. Taha Takes Ohio
Last week, Kyle SNYDER (USA), the two-time world and Olympic champion announced on his  Instagram that Taha AKGUL (TUR), another two-time world and Olympic champ will be headed to the Ohio RTC to train for the month of February. 

This week, Snyder posted updates of the world championship duo training, even tagging Akgul in a photo with the caption "This guy is a monster." 

4. Iran Wins Four Golds At Tahkti Cup
The Freestyle Tahkti Cup wrapped up this weekend in TABRIZ, Iran.

The host nation, Iran closed out the 2018 Freestyle Tahkti Cup by winning four of the final five weight classes.

Iran’s gold medal run started at 79kg when Omid HASSANTABAR (IRI) knocked off Mihály NAGY (HUN), 8-0. Prior to the 2017 Tahkti Cup, Hassantabar's highest Tahkti Cup finished was fifteenth place.

In his first senior-level event, Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) claimed the 86kg title by defeating Ahmet BILICI (TUR), 5-4

At 97kg, Amir MOHAMMADI (IRI) beat Riza YILDIRIM (TUR), 6-1 giving him his second title in as many years. In the gold medal bout at 125kg, Parviz HADI (IRI) outscored Jafar SHAMS NATERI (IRI), 3-0 to win his fourth title.

Mongolia and Turkey each won a pair of gold medals as two-time world bronze medalist ERDENEBAT Bekhbayar (MGL), TUMUR-OCHIR Tulga (MGL), 2016 junior world champion Enes USLU (TUR) and 2016 Olympian Ibrahim BOLUKBASI (TUR) were all successful in their final bouts. 

In the most shocking finals match, Ali-Pasha UMARPASHAEV defeated 2016 world silver medalist, Nurlan BEKZHANOV (KAZ), 10-0 to take the 74kg title. 

The Remaining gold medals went to Niurhun SKRABIN (BLR) and Ali-Pasha UMARPASHAEV (BUL).

5. Klippan and Cerro Pelado
The wait is almost over the first women's wrestling ranking event of the year. We're a little under a week away from the start of The Klippan Lady Open, which begins February 16 in Klippan, Sweden.

The second ranking event that's taking place this week is the Granma y Cerro Pelado, which begins on February 15 in Havana, Cuba.

Here are the current Greco-Roman rankings that were released on February 1. 

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Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! March 17, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Valencia Escoto and Destribats' historic performances at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifiers. Also looking at Cuba's GR team qualifying every weight for #Tokyo2020 and Olympic champs Maroulis and Wiebe qualifying their nation's for the Tokyo Games.

1. Valencia Escoto First Mexican Woman to Qualify for Olympic Games
Alma Jane VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) became the first-ever Mexican women's wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games after winning the 57kg gold medal at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. She won all four of her bouts in Ottawa – including a win by fall over world champion Linda MORAIS (CAN) and a victory via forfeit over Helen MAROULIS (USA).

Valencia Escoto opened her day up with a pair of decisive wins over Betzabeth SARCO COLMENAREZ (VEN) and Nes RODRIGUEZ TIRADO (PUR), which inserted her into the semifinals against Canada's reigning world champion, Linda Morais. 

In her semifinals meeting with the current 59kg world-title holder, Valencia Escoto stopped an early open double-leg attempt with a counter-offensive throw. She snuck in an underhook on the Canadian's right side during her shot attempt and tossed her to her back for the early 4-0 lead. 

Valencia Escoto's opponenet fought off her back and nearly scored a takedown of a slide by attempt. Still, somehow, the newly-minted Olympian had the world champion fighting off her back for the second time in the opening period. 

The tides turned quickly, and Valencia Escoto was the one fighting off her back. She got saved by the period-ending whistle and carried the 6-2 lead into the closing period.

In the final period, Valencia Escoto halted a left side high crotch attempt and flattened Morais for the fall – becoming the first-ever Mexican women to wrestle at the Olympic Games.

Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) finished in second place at 65kg at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier and qualified Argentina for the Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Destribats Ends 24-year Argentinean Freestyle Olympic Drought
Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) ended a 24-year Argentinean freestyle Olympic drought and qualified his nation for the Tokyo Olympics after he pinned American Zain RETHERFORD (USA) in the 65kg semifinals. With his semifinal victory via fall, Destribats became the first Argentinean freestyle wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games since Paulo IBIRE (ARG) did so at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In his meeting with the Retherford, Destribats conceded an open double leg and nearly gave up an ankle lace but was able to fend off the turn and catch the American on his back. He held Retherford on his back for 25 seconds before picking up the opening period fall to secure his spot at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Helen MAROULIS (USA) qualified the United States for the Olympic Games at 57kg with her silver-medal finish at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Olympic Champs Maroulis and Wiebe Qualify Nation's for Olympic Games 
Olympic champions Helen MAROULIS (USA) and Erica WIEBE (CAN) qualified their nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing in the top-two of their respective weights at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. The pair remained on course to defend their gold medals from the Rio Olympic Games. 

Maroulis, who was wrestling in her first international competition since the 2018 World Championships, won four matches before injury defaulting out of the finals after locking up the United States' spot at 57kg for the Olympics.

In her first match, Maroulis easily handled Canada's Linda Morias, 10-2, in the battle of Olympic champion and world champion. 

Maroulis defeated Giullia RODRIGUES (BRA) and Lissette ANTES (ECU) in the next two rounds and was one win away from earning a second berth to the Olympic Games for the United States. 

In the semifinals, Maroulis crushed Nes RODRIGUEZ (PUR), 10-0, and qualified the Stars and Stripes for the Olympic Games at 57kg. 

She'll now have to win the Olympic Trials to become the United States' Olympic representative at 57kg.

Canada's Erica Wiebe was the second Olympic champion who qualified for the Olympic Games over the weekend. Wiebe, who was wrestling in her hometown of Ottawa, won the 76kg bracket and locked up her shot at repeating as Olympic champion. 

She opened up her day with a narrow 2-1 win over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). She tacked on dominant wins over Milaimys de la Caridad MARIN POTRILLE (CUB) and Andrimar LAZARO (VEN), setting up a semifinals match with Genesis REASCO (ECU).

Wiebe shutout Reasco Valdez, 6-0, in their semifinals meeting and earned her berth to the Olympic Games. She injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match against Aline Da Silva Ferreira and finished with a silver medal.

Wiebe won the Canadian Wrestling Trails in December and will represent Canada at 76kg at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) is one of six Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers who will wrestle at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo) 

4. Cuba Sending All Six GR Wrestlers to Olympics 
Cuba’s Greco-Roman team came into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier searching for four qualification spots after earning two Olympic berths from the Nur-Sultan World Championships from Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB). Over the weekend, they had three wrestlers win gold medals and one individual finish in second place at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier – which took their qualification total to all six weight categories. 

Their three champions were Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB), Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) and Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB), while Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) finished in second place.

In addition to their Greco-Roman success, Cuba's women's wrestling team also shined in Ottawa. 

Coming into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier, Katherine VIDIAUX (CUB) was the lone Cuban woman who ever wrestled at the Olympic Games. She'll now be joined in the history books by Lianna MONTERO (CUB) and Yusneylis GUZMAN (CUB), who won gold medals at 50kg and 53kg, respectively, and qualified for the Olympic Games. 

Greco-Roman Qualifying Weights/Athletes
60kg - Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold 
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – World Championships gold 
77kg - Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
87kg - Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier silver
97kg - Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) World Championships silver

5. European, World 'Last Chance' Olympic Qualifiers Postponed
The European Qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for March 19-22 in Budapest, along with the World "Last Chance" Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for April 30-May 3, have been postponed.

The events will be rescheduled, with the European Qualifier expected to take place in mid-May and the World "Last Chance" Qualifier held at the beginning of June.

"We are closely monitoring the governmental response to COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates to our wrestlers, coaches, and fans with more information as it becomes available," said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic.

"The process for determining our Olympic participants will happen on the field of play, but we need to remain patient and vigilant as the worldwide community battles this pandemic. The health and well-being of the athletes is an absolute priority."