February Rankings, United World Wrestling, Women's Wrestling, Icho, Zhou, Vorobieva, Maroulis, Gray

Zhou Takes Over No.1 at 69kg, Icho Still Atop 58kg in Women’s Rankings

By William May

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY (February 3) – World silver medalist ZHOU Feng (CHN) emerged the new leader at 69kg in the first United World Wrestling rankings for women’s wrestling in 2016.

Zhou took over the top spot after an upset loss by world champion Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games test event, which featured some of the top female wrestlers in the world.

Zhou defeated former junior world champion Dorothy YEATS (CAN) in the light heavyweight final by technical fall after the Pan American Games gold medalist defeated Vorobieva in the opening round.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, another world champion also stumbled, but still remains on top of her weight category in this month’s rankings.

Three-time Olympic Games gold medalist Kaori ICHO (JPN), who had won 189 matches in a row following her last loss in 2003, was stunned in the 58kg final at the Yarygin Grand Prix tourney in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Unranked PUREVDORJ Orkhon (MGL), who wrestles most frequently at 55kg, had an answer for all of Icho’s attacks and ended up with a technical fall over the 10-time world champion. 

Despite the loss, Icho remains in control of 58kg – at least, for the time being -- since there were no challengers in the rankings in a position to take up the mantle.

A challenge, however, was issued to three-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) by Erica WIEBE (CAN), who had pinned 2013 world champion ZHANG Fengliu (CHN) in the semifinals at 75kg in Rio.

Gray defeated a pair of silver medal winners from the previous world championships in Aline FERREIRA (BRA) in the quarterfinals and ZHOU Qian (CHN) in the semifinals before edging Wiebe, 7-4, in the final.
Wrestlers in the rankings are listed by name, country code, most notable or most recent result over the last 12 months, and their position in the previous rankings.

48kg – 2013 world champion SUN Yanan (CHN) took an injury default from Valentina ISLAMOVA (RUS) to climb to No.3 in the rankings while Asia champion Yuki IRIE (JPN) won her second Yarygin Grand Prix by fall over Nadezhda FEDOROVA (RUS) to break into the rankings at No.8.

1. Eri TOSAKA (JPN) – World No.1 (1)
2. Mariya STADNYK (AZE) – World No.2 (2)
3. SUN Yanan (CHN) – Rio Test Event No.1 (7)
4. Valentina ISLAMOVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.2 (4)
5. Genevieve MORRISON (CAN) – World No.3 (3)
6. Jessica BLASZKA (NED) – World No.3 (5)
7. Li Hui (CHN) – World No.5 (6)
8. Yuki IRIE (JPN) – Yarygin Grand Prix No.1 (Not ranked)
9. Carolina CASTILLO HIDALGO (COL) – Paris GP No.3 (11)
10. Patricia BERMUDEZ (ARG) – Dan Kolov No.1 (nr)
11. Natalya PULKOVSKA (UKR) – Dan Kolov No.2 (9)
12. Alyssa LAMPE (USA) – Rio Test No.3 (12)
13. Nadezhda FEDOROVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
14. Yu MIYAHARA (JPN) – World Cup No.2 (8)
15. Tatyana AMANZHOL (KAZ) – Asia No.3 (10)
16. Anna LUKASIAK (POL) – Paris GP No.1 (nr)
17. Jasmine MIAN (CAN) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)
18. ERDENESUKH Narangerel (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (18)
19. Iwona MATKOWSKA (POL) – GGP Final No.3 (16)
20. Elitsa YANKOVA (BUL) – European Games No.2 (14)

53kg – European Games silver medalist Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) got a boost to No.7 with her victory at the Grand Prix of Paris while Lyubov SALNIKOVA (RUS) thumped former world champion Chiho HAMADA (JPN) at the Yarygin Grand Prix as both wrestlers vaulted to No.8 and No.9 in the rankings.

1. Saori YOSHIDA (JPN) – World No.1 (1)
2. Sofia MATTSSON (SWE) – World No.2 (2)
3. Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) – World No.3 (3)
4. ZHONG Xuechun (CHN) – Rio Test No.1 (4)
5. JONG Myong-Suk (PRK) – World No.3 (5)
6. Angela DOROGAN (AZE) – European Games No.1 (6)
7. Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) – Paris GP No.1 (13)
8. Lyubov SALNIKOV (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.1 (nr)
9. Chiho HAMADA (JPN) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
10. Nadeshda SHUSHKO (BLR) – Paris GP No.3 (9)
11. Maria GUROVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
12. ERDENECHIMEG Sumiya (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
13. Whitney CONDER (USA) – Pan Am Games No.1 (13)
14. Nina HEMMER (GER) – German GP No.2 (8)
15. Karima SANCHEZ RAMIS (ESP) – Paris GP No.3 (10)
16. Natalia BUDU (MDA) – Dan Kolov No.2 (19)
17. Betzabeth ARGUELLO (VEN) – Paris GP No.2 (20)
18. Maria PREVOLARAKI (GRE) – Dan Kolov No.1 (nr)
19. Alma VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) – Pan Am Games No.2 (14)
20. Natalya MALYSHEVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)

55kg – Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) upset teammate Katsiaryna HANCHAR (BLR) in the final of the Paris Grand Prix to climb seven rungs to No.11 in the ranking. Nadeshda TRETYAKOVA (RUS) toppled Asia champion Anri KIMURA (JPN) at the Yarygin Grand Prix to join the rankings at No.12

1. Helen MAROULIS (USA) – World No.1 (1)
2. Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS) – World No.2 (2)
3. Evelina NIKOLOVA (BUL) – World No.3 (3)
4. Tatyana KIT (UKR) – World No.3 (4)
5. Katsiaryna HANCHAR (BLR) – Paris GP No.2 (5)
6. PANG Qianyu (CHN) – Spanish GP No.3 (6)
7. Natalya SINISHIN (AZE) – European Games No.3 (7)
8. PUREVDORJ Orkhon (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.1 (nr)
9. Marwa AMRI (TUN) – Poland Open No.1 (8)
10. Anri KIMURA (JPN) – Asia No.1 (9)
11. Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) – Paris GP No.1 (18)
12. Nadeshda TRETYAKOVA (RUS) – Yarygin No.1 (nr)
13. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE) – European U23 No.1 (12)
14. Bediha GUN (TUR) – European U23 No.5 (13)
15. HAN Kum-Ok (PRK) – Asia No.2 (14)
16. SUNDEV Byambatseren (MGL) – World Cup No.3 (10)
17. Hikari SUGAWARA (JPN) – GGP Final No.3 (15)
18. JONG In-Sun (PRK) – GGP Final No.3 (16)
19. Aishan ISMAGULOVA (KAZ) – Medved Prizes No.3 (17)
20. Viktoria SHULGINA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)

58kg – 2014 European bronze medalist Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) rallied for her first Dan Kolov title after three years as runner-up to climb to No.8 in the rankings, while LI Qian joins the rankings at No.13 with a runner-up in the Rio test event.
1. Kaori ICHO (JPN) – World No.1 (1)
2. Petra OLLI (FIN) – World No.2 (2)
3. Elif Jale YESILIRMAK (TUR) – World No.3 (3)
4. Johanna MATTSSON (SWE) – GGP Final No.3 (5)
5. Aiym ABDILDINA (KAZ) – GGP Final No.3 (8)
6. Yulia RATKEVICH (AZE) – World No.3 (4)
7. Jackeline RENTERIA CASTILLO (COL) – Medved Prizes No.1 (6)
8. Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.1 (12)
9. Marianna SASTIN (HUN) – Poland Open No.2 (8)
10. Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) – GGP Final No.2 (9)
11. Lissette ANTES CASTILLO (ECU) – Pan Am Games No.3 (10)
12. Grace BULLEN (NOR) – European Games No.3 (11)
13. LI Qian (CHN) – Rio Test No.2 (nr)
14. Michelle FAZZARI (CAN) – Rio Test No.3 (16)
15. BAATARJAV Shoovdor (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (20)
16. Anastassia HUCHOK (BLR) – Poland Open No.1 (13)
17. Tatyana LAVRENCHUK (UKR) – European Games No.2 (14)
18. Lyubov OVCHAROVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)
19. Allison RAGAN (USA) – GGP Final No.2 (15)
20. ZHOU Zhangting (CHN) – Spanish GP No.3 (17)

60kg – Dzhanan MANOLOVA (BUL) won all three bouts in a round-robin tournament at Dan Kolov for the title, while 2014 world champion SUKHEE Tserenchimed (MGL) rebounded from a first-round loss to Kaori ICHO (JPN) for a bronze medal.
1. Oksana HERHEL (UKR) – World No.1 (1)
2. Dzhanan MANOLOVA (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.1 (2)
3. SUKHEE Tserenchimed (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (3)
4. Irina NETREBA (AZE) – Poland Open No.3 (4)
5. Leigh JAYNES (USA) – World No.3 (5)
6. Emese BARKA (HUN) – European Games No.1 (6)
7. LUO Xiaojuan (CHN) – GGP Final No.1 (7)
8. Veranika IVANOVA (BLR) – European Games No.3 (8)
9. Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS) – European Games No.2 (9)
10. Yulia PRONTSEVICH (RUS) – Yarygin No.1 (nr)
11. Ayaulaylm KASYMOVA (KAZ) – Yarygin No.2 (nr)
12. Victoria BOBEVA (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.3 (11)
13. SUN Yazhen (CHN) – Spanish GP No.3 (10)
14. Natalya FEDOSEEVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
15. Therese PERSSON (SWE) – German GP No.2 (12)
16. Hafize SAHIN (TUR) – European U23 No.3 (13)
17. Jennifer PAGE (USA) – Pan Am No.1 (14)
18. Breanne GRAHAM (CAN) – Pan Am No.2 (15)
19. Kanako MURATA (JPN) – Asia No.2 (16)
20. Yukako KAWAI (JPN) – GGP Final No.3 (17)

63kg – 2014 world champion Yulia TKACH (UKR) appears to have regained form, winning her first title in nearly one year at the Dan Kolov tourney for No.3 in the rankings. Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT) won at the Schultz Memorial for No.4 while Maria MAMASHUK (BLR) won in Paris for No.6.

1. SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg (MGL) – World No.1 (1)
2. Risako KAWAI (JPN) – World No.2 (2)
3. Yulia TKACH (UKR) – Dan Kolov No.1 (5)
4. Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT) – Schultz Memorial No.1 (4)
5. Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.2 (3)
6. Maria MAMASHUK (BLR) – Paris GP No.1 (7)
7. Braxton STONE (CAN) – Pan Am Games No.1 (6)
8. Valeria LAZINSKAYA (RUS) – European Games No.1 (8)
9. Katherine VIDIAUX LOPEZ (CUB) - Pan Am Games No.2 (9)
10. Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) – Rio Test No.1 (nr)
11. WANG Xiaoqian (CHN) – Rio Test No.2 (nr)
12. Inna TRAZHUKOVA (RUS) – Yarygin No.1 (nr)
13. Monica MICHALIK (POL) – Paris GP No.2 (15)
14. Ayaka ITO (JPN) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
15. Ekaterina LARIONOVA (KAZ) – Yarygin GP No.3 (11)
16. XILUO Zhuoma (CHN) – Asia No.1 (12)
17. Henna JOHANSSON (SWE) – German GP No.1 (13)
18. Nadeshda MUSHKA (AZE) – Poland Open No.2 (14)
19. Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) – All-Africa Games No.1 (16)
20. Erin CLODGO (USA) – Pan Am Games No.3 (17)

69kg – Two of the most recent world champions won events in January – Aline FOCKEN (GER) in Paris and Alina MAKHINYA (UKR) at the Dan Kolov tourney in Sofia – as the last four world champions crowd into the Top Five of the light heavyweight rankings.

1. ZHOU Feng (CHN) – Rio Test No.1 (4)
2. Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.3 (1)
3. Aline FOCKEN (GER) – Paris GP No.1 (3)
4. Jenny FRANSSON (SWE) – GGP Final No.2 (2)
5. Alina MAKHINYA (UKR) – European Games No.1 (7)
6. Sara DOSHO (JPN) – World No.3 (5)
7. Dorothy YEATS (CAN) – Rio Test No.2 (9)
8. Elena PIROZHKOVA (USA) – GGP Final No.1 (12)
9. OCHIRBAT Nasanburmaa (MGL) – Poland Open No.1 (8)
10. Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) – Yarygin GP No.1 (11)
11. Agnieszka WIESZCZEK-KORDUS (POL) – Paris GP No.2 (8)
12. Ilana KRATYSH (ISR) – European Games No.2 (12)
13. Dalma CANEVA (ITA) – Yarygin GP No.2 (15)
14. Maria ACOSTA (VEN) – Paris GP No.3 (18)
15. Martina KUENZ (AUT) – German GP No.2 (13)
16. Enass MOUSTAFA (EGY) – All-Africa Games No.1 (14)
17. Tamyra MENSAH (USA) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)
18. Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) – Dan Kolov No.2 (nr)
19. Darima SANZHEEVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
20. Leah FERGUSON (CAN) – German GP No.3 (16)

75kg – European U23 champion Daria OSOCKA (POL) won the Grand Prix of Paris crown and veteran Svetlana SAENKO (MDA) took the Dan Kolov crown in Sofia to edge up slightly in the rankings at 12th and 13th, respectively.

1. Adeline GRAY (USA) – World No.1 (1)
2. Epp MAE (EST) – GGP Final No.1 (2)
3. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) – World No.3 (4)
4. Erica WIEBE (CAN) – Rio Test No.2 (5)
5. Aline FERREIRA (BRA) – Rio Test No.3 (6)
6. ZHOU Qian (CHN) – World No.2 (3)
7. Andrea OLAYA GUITIERREZ (COL) – Paris GP No.3 (7)
8. ZHANG Fengliu (CHN) – Rio Test No.3 (11)
9. Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS) – European Games No.2 (8)
10. Hiroe SUZUKI (JPN) – Asia No.1 (10)
11. Justina DISTACIO (CAN) – Pan Am Games No.2 (9)
12. Daria OSOCKA (POL) – Paris GP No.1 (13)
13. Svetlana SAENKO (MDA) – Dan Kolov No.1 (15)
14. Lisset HECHEVARRIA (CUB) – Pan Am Games No.3 (12)
15. Maider UNDA (ESP) – European Games No.3 (14)
16. BADRAKH Odonchimeg (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.1 (nr)
17. Alena PEREPELKINA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
18. Yasemin ADAR (TUR) – Poland Open No.1 (16)
19. Guzel MANYUROVA (KAZ) – Spanish GP No.2 (17)
20. OCHIRBAT Burmaa (MGL) – Yarygin No.3 (nr)


Iran announces Freestyle World Cup roster

By Gary Abbott

CORALVILLE, Iowa (November22) --- Iran’s lineup for the Freestyle World Cup has been released.

The Freestyle and Women’s Wrestling World Cup will be held at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, Dec. 10-11. It is the first time that men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle will be held together side-by-side at the World Cup.

The World Cup is the annual international dual meet championships, conducted by United World Wrestling. The top five teams in men’s freestyle and the top five teams in women’s wrestling from the 2022 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September have confirmed their participation. There is also an All-World Team in each discipline, featuring the top available athlete from the World Championships in each weight class that were not from a nation which qualified for the World Cup.

The Iran World Cup team will feature five senior world medalists, as well as seven others who have won world medals at the age-group levels.

The team is led by two-time world champion Kamran GHASEMPOUR at 97kg. Ghasempour won his world titles in 2021 and 2022, and also has won U23 world titles in 2018 and 2019.

2022 World champion Rahman AMOUZADKHALILI will wrestle at 65kg. He has also won three age-group world titles, with a U20 title in 2021 and U17 world titles in 2018 and 2019.

Three-time world medalist Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI is competing at 86kg. Karimi won a 2019 World silver medal, as well as claiming world bronze medals in 2015 and 2018. He was also a 2017 U17 World bronze medalist.

Two-time world silver medalist Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI will wrestle at 79 kg. Nokhodilarimi lost in the 2021 and 2022 World finals to Jordan BURROUGHS of the USA. He was also a 2019 U20 world silver medalist and 2017 U17 world bronze medalist.

The other senior world medalist on the roster is 2021 World silver medalist Amirmohammad YAZDANI at 70kg. He was also a 2015 U17 world silver medalist.

Other athletes on the Iran roster who have won age-group world medals include Armin HABIBZADEH

(61kg), Aliakbar FAZLIKHALILI (70kg), Mohmmadsadegh FIROUZPOUR (74kg), Ali SAVADKOUHI (79kg), Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (92kg), Amirali AZARPIRA (97kg) and Amirreza VALADI (125kg).

Iran, which placed second at the 2022 World Championships in men’s freestyle, will be joined in the World Cup by first place United States, third place Japan, fourth place Mongolia and fifth place Georgia, in addition to the All World Team.

The rosters of the World Cup teams for the other nations have now all been announced by USA Wrestling.

Ticket packages for the 2022 Freestyle and Women’s Wrestling World Cup are currently on sale. The seating capacity for Xtream Arena for the World Cup will be approximately 5,300. Ticket packages include a Gold package for $275, Silver package for $200 and All-Session tickets for $90.

A special Presentation of Teams and Team USA Meet & Greet will also be held on Friday, December 9 at 6:45 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Freestyle and Women’s Wrestling World Cup tickets -> https://worldcupiowacity.com/tickets/

Iran Freestyle World Cup team:
61 kg – Armin HABIBZADEH
65 kg – Mohammadreza BAGHERIHEIDARABADI
70 kg – Aliakbar FAZLIKHALILI
70 kg – Amirmohammad YAZDANI
74 kg – Mohmmadsadegh FIROUZPOUR
79 kg – Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI
79 kg – Ali SAVADKOUHI
86 kg – Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI
92 kg – Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR
97 kg – Kamran GHASEMPOUR
97 kg – Amirali AZARPIRA
125 kg – Amirreza VALADI