Larroque Adds U23 Crown to Cadet, Junior Titles at European C’ships

By William May

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (March 30) – Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) checked off another age-group title on Thursday with a victory at 69kg in the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships.

Larroque scored a pair of go-behind takedowns in the second period of the day’s finale at Arena Savaria for a 6-1 victory over Martina KUENZ (AUT), who had to settle for the silver medal for a second straight year.

“You know, I’m only 18 and so I thought today was going to be very tough,” Larroque said after receiving her gold medal. “And, it was. So, I’m very happy to win today.”

The reigning junior world champion said she plans to take a week off to relax and then return to training with an eye on the senior European Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia on May 2-7.

“I know the seniors will be really tough, so I’m only hoping that I can make the podium and take home a medal,” said Larroque, who has titles in two senior events in 2017 – the Paris Grand Prix in January and the Klippan Ladies Open in February.

Meanwhile, in the first day of women’s wrestling events, Russia got a pair of titles from former European cadet champion Anzhelika VETOSHKINA (48kg) and two-time junior world champion Lyubov OVCHAROVA (60kg).

Vetoshikina won in a free-for-all with last year’s U23 bronze medal winner Ilona SEMKIV (UKR), 16-10, but only after the Russian corner challenged the 13-13 score favoring Semkiv following a wild scramble in the closing seconds of the bout.

In the 60kg, Ovcharova left now doubts in the 60kg final as she bear-hugged Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) to the mat midway through the first period for four points while cruising to an 11-0 technical fall at 2:38.

Ovcharova also tagged 2015 senior world champion Oksana HERHEL (UKR) with a 14-4 technical fall in the semifinals. 

Russia also received bronze medals from Nina MENKENOVA (55kg) and Khanum VELIEVA (69kg) to race out to a 36-27 lead over Ukraine in the team standings after the first day of women’s wrestling, followed by Turkey (25) and Belarus (24).

The fourth gold medal of the day went to Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) at 55kg with a 5-1 win over Rio 2016 Olympian and world student champion Bediha GUN (TUR). Kurachkina also defeated 2015 junior world silver medalist Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN), 9-2, in the semifinals.

Results: Medal Matches and Semifinals

Women’s Wrestling

48kg (11 entries)
Gold – Anzhelika VETOSHKINA (RUS) df. Ilona SEMKIV (UKR), 16-10 
Bronze – Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) df. Silje KIPPERNESS (NOR) by TF, 11-0, 1:54
Bronze – Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR) df. Kseniya STANKEVICH (BLR), 2-1

Semifinal – Ilona SEMKIV (UKR) df. Silje KIPPERNESS (NOR), 10-2 
Semifinal – Anzhelika VETOSHKINA (RUS) df. Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR) by TF, 15-4, 5:54

55kg (11 entries)
Gold – Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) df. Bediha GUN (TUR), 5-1 
Bronze – Nina MENKENOVA (RUS) df. Arianna CARIERI (ITA) by TF, 11-0, 4:58
Bronze – Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN) df. Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL), 1-1

Semifinal – Bediha GUN (TUR) df. Arianna CARIERI (ITA), 5-3 
Semifinal – Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) df. Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN), 9-2

60kg (10 entries)
Gold – Lyubov OVCHAROVA (RUS) df. Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) by TF, 11-0, 2:38
Bronze – Oksana HERHEL (UKR) df. Viktoria FELHO (HUN) by Injury Default, 0:00 
Bronze – Nade DRAGUNOVA (BLR) df. Viktoria BOBEVA (BUL), 5-4

Semifinal – Lyubov OVCHAROVA (RUS) df. Oksana HERHEL (UKR) by TF, 14-4, 3:56 
Semifinal – Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) df. Viktoria BOBEVA (BUL) by Fall, 5:09 (6-4)

69kg (12 entries)
Gold – Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) df. Martina KUENZ (AUT), 6-1 
Bronze – Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU) df. Signe Marie STORE (NOR), 5-4 
Bronze – Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) df. Alla BELINSKA (UKR), 8-0

Semifinal – Martina KUENZ (AUT) df. Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU) by Fall, 0:41 (2-0)
Semifinal – Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) df. Khanum VELIEVA (RUS), 6-3