Nezgovorova, Kumano Repeat, Cadet Champs Upgrade at Jr Wrestling World C'ships

By William May

TAMPERE, Finland (August 3) – Defending champions Ksenia NEZGOVOROVA (RUS) and Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) won repeat titles Thursday as the third day of the Junior Wrestling World Championships goes on the books.

Nezgovorova defeated rival Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR), 5-2, in the 51kg final at Tampere Exhibition and Sport Center, and Kumano followed at 59kg with an 8-2 win over Anastasia NICHITA (ROU).

Nichita was forced to accept the silver medal in her fourth age-group event in a row over the last 12 months – the cadet world championships last September, this year’s European under-23 and junior meets and now the junior world championships.

Meanwhile, 2016 cadet world champions Manami UENO (JPN) and Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) upgraded to junior titles at 44kg and 67kg, respectively, on Thursday.

Ueno rolled a technical fall, 14-4, over Asian junior champ CHEN Yumei (CHN) and Velieva, who won the European junior title in June, hung on for a 9-7 decision over Pan American silver medalist Yudaris SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB) in the evening’s finale at 67kg.

Despite the loss, Sanchez claimed the first world championship medal in any age group for a female wrestler from Cuba.

In the bronze medal bouts at 44kg, Oveionce RAY (USA) scored a late 4-point throw to cap a 10-2 romp over Alexia SEAL (CAN). European champ Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU) rolled up an 8-2 lead over the first five minutes and then held off a late rally by Fatma MANDEVA (BUL) for an 8-6 win.

At 51kg, BAT ORSHIKH Bolor Erdene (MGL) scored with two 4-point moves in the first 40 seconds of the bronze medal final and defeated Cameron GUERIN (USA), 12-2, in only 63 seconds. Last year’s world runner-up LIAO Xuejiao (CHN) used a cross-ankle lock-and-turn for a 10-0 win over Nao TANIYAMA (JPN).

Asian bronze medalist Kumari MANJU (IND) opened with a low-single attack off the whistle and made her two points stand more than five minutes for a 2-0 win over Ilona PROKOPEVNIUK (UKR) at 59kg.

European senior and junior champ Grace BULLEN (NOR) rebounded from her disappointing 7-4 loss to Nichita in the 59kg semifinals and pinned JIANG Jing (CHN) at 4:44 after a scissors-kick counter to the Asian champion’s attempted single-leg attack in the other bronze medal final.

At 67kg, Asian champion Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ) rolled up a 10-0 technical fall over European runner-up Hedda STRAND (NOR) while Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU) bagged her fifth bronze medal in a row – including the European under-23 and junior championships – with a 7-2 win over 2016 Asian cadet champion Naruha MATSUYUKI (JPN).

After the first four weight categories, Japan leads the team standings 32 points from two champions and two fifth-place finishes, followed by China with 27 points, a silver and a bronze medal.  Russia, with two champions, is in third place with 24 points.

Women’s wrestling continues Friday, August 4, with action in the final four female events -- 48kg, 55kg, 63kg and 72kg.

Results of Gold and Bronze Medal Matches

44kg (15 entries)
Gold – Manami UENO (JPN) df. CHEN Yumei (CHN) by Fall, 4:27 (14-4) 
Bronze – Oveionce RAY (USA) df. Alexia SEAL (CAN), 10-2 
Bronze – Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU) df. Fatme MANDEVA (BUL), 8-6

51kg (20 entries)
Gold – Ksenia NEZGOVOROVA (RUS) df. Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR), 5-1
Bronze – BAT ORSHIKH Bolor Erdene (MGL) df. Cameron GUERIN (USA) by TF, 12-2, 1:03 
Bronze – LIAO Xuejiao (CHN) df. Nao TANIYAMA (JPN) by TF, 10-0, 1:43

59kg (19 entries)
Gold – Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) df. Anastasia NICHITA (ROU), 8-2
Bronze – Kumari MANJU (IND) df. Ilona PROKOPEVNIUK (UKR), 2-0
Bronze – Grace BULLEN (NOR) df. JIANG Jing (CHN) by Fall, 4:44 (9-3)

67kg (18 entries)
Gold – Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) df. Yudaris SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB), 9-7
Bronze – Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ) df. Hedda STRAND (NOR) by TF, 10-0, 4:09 
Bronze – Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU) df. Naruha MATSUYUKI (JPN), 7-2