U23 World C'ships

Japan Sweeps Gold-Medal Matches on First Night of Women’s Freestyle

By Taylor Miller

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – The Japanese women’s freestyle team went four-for-four in Thursday night’s U23 World Championship finals in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Haruna OKUNO and Yuzuru KUMANO each won their second World gold medals of the year.

Senior World champion and 2016 Cadet World champion Okuno bested Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) in the 55 kg finals with a 5-2 win.

The first takedown went to Kurachkina, but Okuno persisted and fought her way to five unanswered points and the third World gold medal of her young career.

Junior World champion Kumano also tallied her second World title of the year on Thursday, defeating 2014 Junior World champion Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL).

Altantsetseg led at the break, 1-0. At the whistle, Kumano put the Mongolian to her back for four points and rolled right into a gut wrench. It was a lead that Altantseteg was unable to overcome. Kumano went on to win 6-1.

Points were flying at 63 kg, where Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) pulled out a last-second win over Braxton STONE (CAN), who was one of two finalists for Canada.

Now-four-time World medalist Stone held an 8-5 lead with 10 seconds left in the match. Forcing Stone toward the edge, Gempei threw the Canadian with a body lock for four points and an eventual 10-8 win.

At 75 kg, Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) won with a technical fall over Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN) in the second period. Matsuyuki’s offense proved to be too much as she fired off four takedowns en route World gold.

Finals results

55 kg
Gold - Haruna OKUNO (JPN) dec. Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR), 5-2
Bronze - Alina AKOBIIA (UKR) win by fall Bediha GUN (TUR)
Bronze - Nina MENKENOVA (RUS) dec. Simona PRICOB (ROU), 5-0

58 kg
Gold - Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) dec. Battsetseg ALTANTSETSEG (MGL), 6-1
Bronze - Elin Johanna NILSSON (SWE) win by fall Xiaosen WANG (CHN)
Bronze - Tetyana KIT (UKR) dec. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE), 3-1

63 kg
Gold - Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) dec. Braxton Rei STONE (CAN), 10-8
Bronze - Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) win by fall Tatiana SMOLIAK (RUS)
Bronze - Moa Lena Maria NYGREN (SWE) win by fall Luzie MANZKE (GER)

75 kg
Gold - Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) tech. fall Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN), 12-2
Bronze - Francy RAEDELT (GER) tech. fall Mabelkis CAPOTE PEREZ (CUB), 14-4
Bronze - Anastasiia SHUSTOVA (UKR) win by fall Pooja POOJA (IND)


U23 World C'ships

Russia and USA Win Multiple Medals in Final Night of U23 World Championships

By Taylor Miller

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Russia went 2-0 in gold-medal bouts in the final day of the U23 World Championships, while the United States picked up its first medals of the event on Sunday night in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Nachyn Sergeevitch KUULAR (RUS) was one of two gold medalists for Russia. A two-time World Military World champion, Kuular defeated Bajrang BAJRANG (IND) in the first gold-medal bout of the night, winning with a fast 16-6 technical fall at 65 kg.

His teammate, Gadzhi NABIEV (RUS), pulled out a gritty 7-2 win against 2017 Junior European Championships bronze medalist Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK) in the 74 kg match.

Nabiev won the 2015 Junior World crown and finished second at this year’s Russian Championships.

At 70 kg, Richard LEWIS (USA) grinded out a 3-1 win against Kumar VINOD (IND) to claim a World gold medal in his first international tournament.

The U.S. also won two bronze medals to wrap up the tournament, coming from Joseph MCKENNA at 65 kg and Ty WALZ at 97 kg.

Asian Indoor Games champion and Golden Grand Prix silver medalist Mojtaba Mohammadshafie GOLEIJ (IRI) eased his way to a 10-0 technical fall in the 97 kg finals. Goleij knocked off two-time Junior World medalist Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR) for his first World title.

Russia won the team race with 55 team points, claiming three gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal over the weekend. Kazakhstan was second with 41 points, followed by Georgia with 36 points.

Finals results
65 kg
Gold - Nachyn Sergeevitch KUULAR (RUS) tech. fall Bajrang BAJRANG (IND), 16-6
Bronze - Joseph Christopher MC KENNA (USA) dec. Heorhi KALIYEU (BLR), 2-0
Bronze - Yones Aliakbar EMAMICHOGHAEI (IRI) dec. Haydar YAVUZ (TUR), 6-4

70 kg
Gold - Richard Anthony LEWIS (USA) dec. Kumar Omprakash VINOD (IND), 3-1
Bronze - Muhammet AKDENIZ (TUR) dec. Zulfikar MAKHAMATOV (KAZ), 4-2
Bronze - Mirza SKHULUKHIA (GEO) dec. Nobuyoshi TAKOJIMA (JPN), 3-0

74 kg
Gold - Gadzhi NABIEV (RUS) dec. Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK), 7-2
Bronze - Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) tech. fall Isaiah Alexander MARTINEZ (USA), 11-0
Bronze - Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) tech. fall Engin Rashid ISMAIL (BUL), 12-2

97 kg
Gold - Mojtaba Mohammadshafie GOLEIJ (IRI) tech. fall Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR), 10-0
Bronze - Ty Ryan Jack WALZ (USA) dec. Chaoqiang YANG (CHN), 3-0
Bronze - Murazi MCHEDLIDZE (UKR) dec. Rasul MAGOMEDOV (RUS), 7-2