Japan, China, Russia and USA Put Multiple Wrestlers in Women's Finals at #WrestleSofia

By Taylor Miller

Photo of Ruka NATAMI (JPN).

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Four nations put multiple finalists into the first set of women’s freestyle gold-medal matches at the 2019 Cadet World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Leading the way is Japan with three finalists, followed by China, Russia and USA, which each pushed two into the gold bout. India also advanced an athlete to the finals.

Japan will go head-to-head with USA in two matches tomorrow night.

At 49 kg, 2018 U15 Cadet Asian champion Moe KIYOOKA (JPN) will do battle against Cristelle RODRGIUEZ (USA).

In the semifinals, Kiyooka edged out 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist Xaomin XIE (CHN), 9-9, and Rodriguez pinned Yung Hsun LIN (TPE) in the first 20 seconds.

For the championship at 57 kg, 2018 Cadet Asian silver medalist Ruka NATAMI (JPN) will go against Skylar HATTENDORF (USA).

Both dominated their semifinals matches to advance to the finals. Natami collected a 9-0 win over 2019 Cadet Asian silver medalist Yifan TANG (CHN), while Hattendorf, like her American teammate, picked up a first-period fall over 2019 Cadet European bronze winner Birgul SOLTANOVA (AZE).

Photo of Luchana BEKBAULOVA (RUS).

Japan will also be represented in the final at 43 kg as Nagisa HARADA (JPN) overpowered Nazik MIRLAN KYZY (KGZ) in the semifinals, 11-0.

For gold, Harada must go through reigning 2018 Cadet World champion and 2017 Cadet World bronze medalist Luchana BEKBAULOVA (RUS).

Bekbaulova put together an impressive performance on the first day, outscoring her opponents 18-0 in her two matches.

The other Russian representative in the finals is 2019 Cadet European champion Olga KOZYREVA (RUS), who will face off another continental gold medalist, 2019 Cadet Asian champion Yifeng LU (CHN).

Lu dominated the returning World silver medalist Julia FRIDLUND (SWE) in the semifinals, scoring two big throws for a 12-2 technical superiority.

Joining Lu in the gold medal match for China is Binbin XIANG (CHN), who had no issues taking out 2019 Cadet European silver medalist Veronica BRASCHI (ITA) in the 65 kg semifinals, 5-0.

In order to get on top of the podium, Xiang will battle Sonam SONAM (IND), 2017 Cadet World champion and 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist.

Sonam blanked 2019 Cadet European champion Ekaterina GLUKHAREVA (RUS) with a 4-0 victory.

The finals will take place Thursday at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) live on unitedworldwrestling.org.

Finals matchups
43 kg: Luchana BEKBAULOVA (RUS) vs. Nagisa HARADA (JPN)
49 kg: Cristelle RODRIGUEZ (USA) vs. Moe KIYOOKA (JPN)
57 kg: Skylar HATTENDORF (USA) vs. Ruka NATAMI (JPN)
65 kg: Sonam SONAM (IND) vs. Binbin XIANG (CHN)
73 kg: Yifeng LU (CHN) vs. Olga KOZYREVA (RUS)


Iran wins two individual championships for the Greco-Roman team title at #WrestleSofia

By Taylor Miller

SOFIA, Bulgaria – The 2019 Cadet World Championships came to a close with the last five gold-medal matches in Greco-Roman on Sunday night in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Reza SAKI (IRI), a 2019 Cadet Asian silver medalist, defeated Stepan STARODUBTSEV (RUS), who was second at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, for the crown at 71 kg.

Starodubtsev led, 1-0, at the break, but just moments into the second period, Saki scored on a four-point arm throw. He held onto the lead for the remainder of the bout, winning gold with a 4-1 victory.

For the title at 51 kg, Saeid ESMAEILI LEIVESI (IRI) used a first-period takedown to give him an eventual 2-1 win over Elmir ALIYEV (AZE). It was both wrestlers’ first World Championships.

At 92 kg, 2019 European silver medalist and 2018 European bronze medalist Lachin VALIYEV (AZE) outlasted 2017 Cadet World silver medalist Muhammed EVLOEV (RUS) for the title.

After a scoreless first period, Valiyev scored an early takedown. Evloev could only respond with a pair of step outs. Valiyev held on for the 2-2 win on criteria.

In the title match at 60 kg, 2019 Cadet European champion Maksim SKURATOV (RUS) faced two-time Cadet European medalist Elmir ALIYEV (AZE) in a rematch of the European Championships finals.

Last time they wrestled, Skuratov claimed an 11-0 victory. This time, Aliyev kept the bout more competitive; however, it was not enough. Skuratov won the Cadet World title with a 5-0 win.  

To open the night, 2019 Cadet Asian champion Samatbek IZIMGALI (KAZ) spent only 59 seconds on the mat to claim the gold medal at 45 kg, defeating Asadbek BAKHRAMAOV (UZB) by fall.

Securing two individual champions on Sunday, Iran won the team title with 148 points, followed by Azerbaijan with 123 points and Russia with 99 points.

Finals matchups
45 kg
GOLD - Samatbek IZIMGALI (KAZ) df. Asadbek BAKHRAMAOV (UZB), fall 1:00
BRONZE - Tamazi GLONTI (GEO) df. Vladyslav KURKURIN (UKR), 4-0
BRONZE - Farid SADIKHLI (AZE) df. Mahdi Kioumars AHADI ZENAB (IRI), 8-1

51 kg
BRONZE - Volodymyr VOITOVYCH (UKR) df. Denis MIHAI (ROU), 12-9
BRONZE - Edmond Armen NAZARYAN (BUL) df. Arshad ARSHAD (IND), fall 2:56

60 kg
GOLD - Maksim SKURATOV (RUS) df. Mert ILBARS (TUR), 5-0
BRONZE - Arman VARDANYAN (ARM) df. Zhanbolot TURATBEKOV (KGZ), 6-0
BRONZE - Nika BROLADZE (GEO) df. Seyed Danial Seyed Shamsollah SOHRABI (IRI), 8-6

71 kg
GOLD - Reza SAKI (IRI) df. Stepan STARODUBTSEV (RUS), 4-1
BRONZE - Furkan TAS (TUR) df. Aliaksei PIAKHOTA (BLR), 7-0
BRONZE - Alexandrin GUTU (MDA) df. Rauf Abdulla ALIYEV (AZE), 6-0

92 kg                           
GOLD - Lachin VALIYEV (AZE) dec. Muhammed EVLOEV (RUS), 2-2
BRONZE - Oktay DEMIR (TUR) df. Maik HAIMOV (ISR), 8-0
BRONZE - Richard KARELSON (EST) df. Laszlo Csaba VARSANYI (HUN), 3-0

Team results
1. Iran – 148
2. Azerbaijan – 123
3. Russia – 99
4. Kazakhstan – 73
5. Armenia – 73
6. Turkey – 70
7. India – 63
8. Georgia – 63
9. Ukraine – 62
10. Uzbekistan – 49