stadiums

China Builds 47 Million Euro Wrestling Stadium in Senegal

By BBC News

DAKAR, Senegal (July 26) -- Senegalese President Macky Sall and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, inaugurated a national wrestling arena in Dakar this week in a project funded by the Chinese government.

The first arena dedicated to this popular sport in Senegal, located in the city of Pikine, near Dakar, was inaugurated Sunday, the second day of the visit of the Chinese leader in the Senegalese capital.

Xi Jinping, on a state visit to Senegal, symbolically handed Macky Sall the keys of the national arena of Pikine wrestling, during a ceremony marked by a wrestling matches and dancing.

The new arena, built in 28 months by the Chinese, cost 48.7 million euros and was paid for by the Chinese government. The stadium has a capacity of more than 20,000 places.

"The national arena fills a gap for wrestling," Senegalese Sports Minister Matar Ba was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying.

According to Mr. Bâ the arena can accommodate other sports such as boxing and martial arts, but also socio-educational activities, such as concerts.

The national arena was always a point of concern for Senegalese wrestling professionals, who were forced to organize their competitions in football stadiums.

Lutte Senegalese is the most popular sport in the nations and often broadcast live on television, mobilize thousands of spectators and sponsors, with payment to wrestlers often reaching tens of thousands of euros for a single match.

(This story originally ran in French on the BBC, here)

Ranking Series

Nine European Wrestlers Garner Greco-Roman Top Seed Heading into Nur-Sultan

By Eric Olanowski

*These seeds are based off the current unofficial entries United World Wrestling has received as of August 21. These seeds are subject to change.

VEVEY, Switzerland (August 23) --- Nine European wrestlers and Asia's KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) own a Greco-Roman top seed heading into the 2019 World Championships (September 14-22) in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 

Here Are the No. 1 Seeds at Each Weight:
55kg - Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE)
60kg - Sergey EMELIN (RUS)
63kg - Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) 
67kg - Artem SURKOV (RUS)
72kg - Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL)
77kg - Hyeonwoo KIM (KOR)
82kg - Emrah KUS (TUR)
87kg - Zhan BELENIUK (UKR)
97kg - Musa EVLOEV (RUS)
130kg - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS)


Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) will look to defend his 55kg world title in Nur-Sultan. He's the No. 1 seed at 55kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Azizli Atop 55kg Seeds

Expected 55kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE)
2. Ilkhom BAKHROMOV (UZB) 
3. Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO)
4. Abdelkarim FERGAT (ALG) 

Returning world champ Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) sits atop the seeds at 55kg at the World Championships. Nur-Sultan will be Azizli’s second competition of the year at the weight where he claimed his first career world title. His first competition at 55kg this season was in Bucharest, Romania, at the European Championships. The reigning world champion fell short of reaching the top of the podium but fought his way back to a bronze-medal finish. 

Ilkhom BAKHROMOV (UZB) is the second-seeded wrestler at 55kg. The 2019 Asian champion will make his second appearance at a senior-level World Championship. He'll try to improve on his ninth-place finish from last year's World Championships. 

Returning world medalists Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) and Ekrem OZTURK (TUR), who are ranked third and fourth, respectively, won’t make the trip to Nur-Sultan. They'll vacate their seed to Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO). 

The reigning U23 world and European champion will be making his first showing at the World Championships as the third-seeded wrestler. This season, Tsurtsumia finished in eighth place at the European Championships but won gold at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup – which was the last time he's competed this season.

Algeria’s African champion Abdelkarim FERGAT (ALG) closes out the top-four seeded wrestlers at 55kg. 

Sergey EMELIN (RUS) enters the World Championships as the No. 1 seed at 60kg. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne) 

Emelin Enters Worlds As Top Seed at 60kg

Expected 60kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Sergey EMELIN (RUS) 
2. Seunghak KIM (KOR) 
3. Victor CIOBANU (MDA) 
4. Ivan LIZATOVIC (CRO) 

Sergey EMELIN (RUS) started the season as the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the world at 60kg – and that’s exactly how he heads into Nur-Sultan. The Russian is the top-seeded guy at 60kg after winning a world title last season and finishing this year’s European Championships in second place. He also finished in first place at this season’s Dan Kolov. 

Arguably the most surprising run to a top-four seed came from Korea’s KIM Seunghak. He’ll be seeded second at 60kg. After a disappointing 28th-place finish in Budapest, Kim not only competed but earned points at every Ranking Series event this season. The Korean fell in the bronze-medal bout of the Grand Prix of Zagreb but tallied a trio of gold medals at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the City of Sassari Tournament and the Oleg Karavaev. 

Returning world runner-up Victor CIOBANU (MDA) is seeded third at 60kg. The Moldovan fell to Emelin in the world finals last year, but exacted revenge and became his nations first-ever European champion with a win over the Russian in Bucharest earlier this year. 

Croatia’s two-time Ranking Series bronze medalist Ivan LIZATOVIC (CRO) rounds out the top-four seeds at 60kg. 

Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) is undefeated on the season and moves into the World Championships as the top seed at 63kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Maryanyan Moves into Worlds as 63kg No. 1 Seed 

Expected 63kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) 
2. Erbatu TUO (CHN) 
3. Shinobu OTA (JPN) 
4. Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM) 

The first seeded wrestler at 63kg is Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS). The Russian has been one of the most dominant wrestlers in the world over the past year. Since winning his world title, top-seeded Maryanyan has won the European Championships, European Games and the Dan Kolov. 

China’s returning world bronze medalist TUO Erbatu (CHN) is seeded second at 63kg. This season, Tuo has competed in five events and medaled at four of them. The Chinese wrestler won the Asian Championships and Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup, finished in second place at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and finished in third place at the Dan Kolov. The lone competition he didn’t medal at was the final Ranking Series event of the year, the Oleg Karavaev. 

Rio Olympic silver medalist Shinobu OTA (JPN) owns the third seed at the World Championships. Ota has won a pair of gold medals this season and has only lost one match. His pair of golds came at the Grand Prix of Hungary and Oleg Karavaev. He also finished in second place at the Dan Kolov, where he dropped his finals bout to top-seeded Maryanyan. 

The fourth-seeded wrestler at 63kg will be Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM). The Armenian wrestler placed fifth at the European Championships this season. That was his lone appearance in 2019. 

Artem SURKOV (RUS) sails into Nur-Sultan atop the 67kg top-four seeds. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Surkov Sails into Worlds as Top Seed at 67kg

Expected 67kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Artem SURKOV (RUS) 
2. Hansu RYU (KOR) 
3. Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) 
4. Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) 

Reigning world champion Artem SURKOV (RUS) is the first seeded wrestlers at 67kg. Since winning his world title, he’s finished top-three at a trio of events but failed to reach the top of the podium. This season, Surkov was a runner-up at the Dan Kolov and Grand Prix of Germany, and a bronze medalist at the European Championships. 

Korea’s two-time world champion RYU Hansu (KOR) begins his quest to reach the top of the world podium for a third time as the second seed at 67kg. This season, Ryu started his season winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, and Asian Championships. Then, Ryu won back-to-back Ranking Series medals at the City of Sassari Tournament and Oleg Karavaev. 

Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) and Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) are the third and fourth-seeded wrestlers, respectively. 

Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL) moved into the No. 1 seed after reinging world champion Frank STAEBLER (GER) moved down to the Olympic weight of 67kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Mnatsakanian Motors His Way to No. 1 Seed at 72kg

Expected 72kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL) 
2. Balint KORPASI (HUN) 
3. Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) 
4. Hujun ZHANG (CHN) 

Germany’s three-time world champion Frank STAEBLER (GER) moved down to the Olympic weight of 67kg and will surrender his top seed to Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL). After finishing last year’s World Championships with a bronze medal, Mnatsakanian has made it to the podium at four straight senior-level events. The Bulgarian won the Ion Corneanu & Ladislau Simon Memorial, finished in second at the Dan Kolov, and closed out the European Championships and the Grand Prix of Zagreb with bronze medals. 

The second-seeded wrestler at 72kg is returning world runner-up Balint KORPASI (HUN). In his two appearances this season, Korpasi reached the finals. He won the German Grand Prix but fell in the finals of the City of Sassari Tournament. 

This year’s 72kg European champion Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) will be the third-seeded wrestler in Nur-Sultan, while ZHANG Hujun (CHN) rounds out the top four seeds at 72kg.

KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) is the lone non-European No. 1 seed. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Kim Keeps Top Seed at 77kg

Expected 77kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Hyeonwoo KIM (KOR) 
2. Viktor NEMES (SRB) 
3. Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) 
4. Pavel LIAKH (BLR) 

Olympic champion KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) is the lone non-European wrestler who owns a top seed at the World Championships. This year’s Asian champion competed in three of four Ranking Series events and medaled in each of his appearances. He won the City of Sassari Tournament and took home bronze at the Grand Prix of Zagreb and Hungarian Grand Prix. 

Serbia’s 2017 world champion Viktor NEMES is the second-seeded wrestler at 77kg. Last year’s world bronze medalist won titles this season at the Hungarian Grand Prix and G. Kartozia & V. Balavadze Price. He also closed out the European Championships in third place. 

Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) and Pavel LIAKH (BLR) will be seeded third and fourth respectively at 77kg. 

Emrah KUS (TUR) will be looking to improve his second-place finish from last year's World Championships. He comes into Nur-Sultan as the top seed at 82kg. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Kus Knots Top Seed at 82kg

Expected 82kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Emrah KUS (TUR) 
2. Viktar SASUNOUSKI (BLR) 
3. Saeid Morad ABDVALI (IRI) 
4. Rajbek BISULTANOV (DEN) 

Turkey’s 2018 Budapest world runner-up Emrah KUS comes into Nur-Sultan as the top-seeded wrestler at 82kg. 

Viktar SASUNOUSKI (BLR) owns the second seed at 82kg. Though he finished in seventh place at the European Championships, he won 2019 titles at the Vehbi Emre & Hamit Kaplan Tournament and the Oleg Karavaev Memorial. 

The final two seeded wrestlers at 82kg will be continental champs Saeid ABDVALI (IRI) and Rajbek BISULTANOV (DEN). Third-seeded Abdvali is the reigning Asian champion, while fourth-seeded Bisultanov is the reigning European champion. 

Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) is looking to win his first world title since 2015. He'll be the top seed at 87kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Beleniuk Bullies Way to Top Seed at 87kg

Expected 87kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) 
2. Metehan BASAR (TUR) 
3. Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) 
4. Islam ABBASOV (AZE) 

Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) and Metehan BASAR (TUR) have been battling for 87kg supremacy for the last twelve months. But, it’s the Ukrainian wrestler who owns the top seed in Nur-Sultan. 

Since dropping last year’s world finals to Basar, Beleniuk has won the European Championships and the European Games, while the Turkish wrestler has failed to medal in his four showings this season. 

Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) comes into the World Championships as the third seed. Since his 14th-place finish in Budapest last year, Lorincz has been one of the most consistent wrestlers in the world. He’s won the Grand Prix Zagreb, Hungarian Grand Prix and the City of Sassari Tournament. He also finished in third place at the European Games.

European Games and championship runner-up Islam ABBASOV (AZE) rounds out the top-four seeded wrestlers at 87kg. 

Musa EVLOEV (RUS) comes to Kazakhstan as the No. 1 seed at 97kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Evloev Enters World Championships as Top Seed at 97kg

Expected 97kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Musa EVLOEV (RUS) 
2. Kiril MILOV (BUL) 
3. Tracy HANCOCK (USA) 
4. Mihail KAJALA (SRB) 

Musa EVLOEV (RUS) hasn’t budged since winning his world title last year. He’ll be the top-seeded wrestler at 97kg – and deservedly so. This season, Evloev has won the Dan Kolov, European Championships and the Grand Prix of  Germany. 

Reigning world and European runner-up Kiril MILOV (BUL) will be seeded second at 97kg. 

Tracy HANCOCK (USA) will be seeded third at 97kg. Hancock has competed seven times during this season and finished with at least a bronze medal at every tournament. The American won the Hungarian Grand Prix and Dave Schultz Memorial and finished in second place at three competitions -- including the Pan-American Championships and Pan-American Games. He also closed out the Grand Prix of Zagreb and Thor Masters with bronze medals. 

The fourth-seeded wrestler at 97kg is returning world bronze medalist Mihail KAJALA (SRB). 

Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) soared to the top seed at 130kg after winning a world title and continental bronze medal. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Semenov Soars to Top Seed at 130kg

Expected 130kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) 
2. Adam COON (USA) 
3. Minseok KIM (KOR) 
4. Heiki NABI (EST) 

Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) is the fifth Russian wrestler who owns a top seed at the World Championships. Since winning his first world title at last year’s World Championships, Semenov has competed twice and finished with bronze medals at both competitions. Those pair of bronze medals came at the European Championships and European Games. 

Returning world silver medalist Adam COON (USA) is the second seed at 130kg. Though he won the Pan-American Championships, Coon finished in a disappointing eighth place at the Pan-American Games last month. 

KIM Minseok (KOR) and Heiki NABI (EST) will be seeded third and fourth, respectively, at 130kg.