Ranking Series

Nine Reigning World Champs Remain No. 1 in Latest World Rankings

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (May 6) -- United World Wrestling has released the lastest women’s wrestling rankings after the conclusion of the Continental Championships, and nine gold medalists from last year’s Budapest World Championships sit atop of their respective weight classes. Asia has four top-ranked wrestlers, while Europe and Pan-American countries each have three. 

Japan has three of the four top-ranked Asian wrestlers. Their trio of No.1’s are Yui SUSAKI (JPN) (50kg), Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) (55kg), and Risako KAWAI (JPN) (59kg). The fourth Asian wrestler who owns a top ranking is China’s Ningning RONG (CHN)(57kg). 

Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) (62kg), Petra Maarit OLLI (FIN) (65kg), and Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) (68kg) are the three European No.1-ranked wrestlers. 

Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) (86 points), Justina DI STASIO (CAN) (72kg), and Adeline GRAY (USA) (76kg), who are all from Pan-American nations, round out the first-ranked wrestlers in this month’s rankings. 

Of the ten wrestlers sitting atop of the rankings, the lone non-returning world champion that owns a No.1-ranking is the United States’ Sarah Hildebrandt. She started the season with 40 points from her world silver medal, then earned 20 points for her Pan-American gold, 14 points for her Ivan Yariguin title, and 12 points for her third-place finish at the Dan Kolov. 

Susaki’s Spot in Jeopardy at 50kg 
Japan’s reigning two-time world champion Yui Susaki sits atop of the world ranking at 50kg with 60 points - but her starting spot for the Nur-Sultan World Championships is in jeopardy. Susaki was forced to pull out of December’s All-Japan Championships after dislocating her elbow at the national team training camp in November, resulting in her missing the Continental Championships. 

Japan’s 50kg replacement was Yuki IRIE. Irie went to the Asian Championships in Xi’an, China, and won the Asian title, earning her a No. 12-ranking with 20 points. 

For Susaki to regain her spot before September’s Nur-Sultan World Championships and defend her world title, she’d have to win the title at the All-Japan Invitational Championships, also known as the Meiji Cup, next spring, then defeat the winner of the Emperor’s Cup in a playoff.

Say Irie, or any Japanese wrestler at that, happens to stop Susaki from making the world team, Ukraine’s second-ranked Oksana LIVACH (45 points) will move up to the No. 1-seeded wrestler at the World Championships. Livach, the 2018 world bronze medalist, won the European title, capping off her continental title run with a 6-4 win over Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) and added 20 Ranking Series points to her previous total of 25 points. 

China’s world and Olympic bronze medalist SUN Yanan (43 points) fell short to Irie in the Asian finals, but still collected 18 points, which is good enough for the third ranking. Azerbaijan’s eight-time world and Olympic medalist Mariya STADNIK (40 points) rounds out the top-four at 50kg with 40 points. 

Belarus’ Kseniya STANKEVICH (34 points) will be the beneficiary of a Susaki fallout. Stankevich, who’s in the fifth slot, will move into a top-four seed in Nur-Sultan. 

Potential 50kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1 Yui SUSAKI (JPN) vs. No. 4 Mariya STADNIK (AZE)
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Oksana LIVACH (UKR) vs. No. 3 Yanan SUN (CHN) 

Hildebrandt Lone No. 1 Non-Returning World Champion
The United States’ Sarah Hildebrandt (86 points) holds a 26 point advantage over Japan’s defending world champion Haruna OKUNO (60 points) and garners the No. 1-ranking at 53kg. 

Hildebrandt, whose world silver in Budapest was worth 40 points, finished on the podium at the first two Ranking Series events and the Continental Championships. The American earned 20 points for her Pan-American gold, 14 points for her Ivan Yariguin title, and 12 points for her third-place finish at the Dan Kolov. 

The second-ranked wrestler at 53kg is world champion Haruna Okuno. Okuno lost her starting spot, at least for the Continental Championships, to the reigning world champion up at 55kg, Mayu MUKAIDA. 

Budapest world bronze medalists PANG Qianyu (CHN) (55 points) and Canada’s Diana WEICKER (CAN) (41 points) are third and fourth-ranked wrestlers respectively in this month’s standings. If Mukaida holds onto Japan’s starting spot at 53kg and knocks out Okuno, Pang and Weicker would both move up one spot, bringing up Ecuador’s Luisa VALVERDE MELENDRES (36 points) into the fourth seed. 

Potential 53kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1  Sarah Ann HILDEBRANDT vs. No. 4 Diana WEICKER (CAN) 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Haruna OKUNO (JPN) No. 3 PANG Qianyu (CHN) 

Sidakova to Move into Top Spot if Mukaida Stays Down 
Though she’s ranked No. 1 at 55kg, reigning world champion Mayu Mukaida has dropped down to 53kg, and will ultimately forfeit her top-ranking to Belarus’ world runner-up Zalina SIDAKOVA (60 points). 

Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ) and Myong Suk JONG (PRK) are the other two wrestlers ranked inside the top-four at 55kg. Sedneva, the third-ranked wrestler, has 28 points, which comes from an Asian Championships third-place finish and a Dan Kolov finals appearance.

Fourth-ranked Jong (25 points), the 55kg world bronze medalist, has also changed weights since the World Championships. Jong bumped up to 57kg at Asian Championships where she knocked off four-time Olympic champion Kaori ICHO (JPN) before falling in the finals, settling for the silver medal. 

With the departure of Mukaida, Jong, and three others in the top-eight wrestlers at this weight, Turkey’s European bronze-medal finisher Bediha GUN (22 points) and China’s XIE Mengyu (20 points), who are ranked sixth and ninth respectively, will move into a top-four seed in Nur-Sultan.

Potential 55kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1 Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) vs. No. 4 Myong Suk JONG (PRK) 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR)  vs. No. 3 Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ) 

Rong One of Two Wrestlers with Nearly 100 Ranking Series Points 
China’s 2018 world champion Rong Ningning leads arguably the most loaded weight class in the world, 57kg. With her 96 points, Rong joins 62kg world champion Taybe Yusein with the most Ranking Series points in the world across all styles.  

Bulgaria’s European champion and world silver medalist Bilyana DUDOVA owns the second-ranking at 57kg with 62 points. Dudova, the European champion at 59kg, is the only wrestler at this weight that could catch Rong and take over that No. 1 spot. For her to do so, she’d have to win the Sassari and the Yasar Dogu, and have Rong sit out of both tournaments. 

Norway’s U23 world champion and Budapest fifth-place finisher Grace BULLEN is ranked third with 58 points. Bullen, who had a disappointing European Championships, finishing in seventh place, took second at the Dan Kolov and third at the Yariguin. Her pair of podium finishes at the first two Ranking Series events earned her 26 combined points. 

The fourth-ranked wrestler is five-time African champion and Dan Kolov bronze medalist Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NRG) (46 points). 

Potential 57kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1 RONG Ningning (CHN) vs. No. 4 Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) vs. No. 3 Grace BULLEN (NOR) 

Kawai Moves Down to 57kg, Yesilirmak to Take Top Spot at 59kg
This weight’s reigning world champion and current No. 1-ranked wrestler Risako Kawai dropped down to 57kg with hopes of defending her Rio Olympic title but lost her spot to four-time Olympic champion Kaori Icho in the process. It’s not clear if Kawai will return to 59kg for the 2019 World Championships, but if she does, she’ll be the top-seeded wrestler with 60 points. 

If Kawai doesn’t come back up to 59kg, Turkey’s Elif YESILIRMAK (56 points) will move to the top of the bracket, moving Japan’s second top-five ranked wrestler Yuzuka INAGAKI into the top-four. 

Yesilirmak, last year’s 59kg world runner-up, just finished in third place at the European Championships behind Russia's European runner-up Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS), who sits in a close third, six points behind the Turkish wrestler with 50 points. 

India’s Sarita SARITA (30 points) is the fifth-ranked wrestler at 59kg and will earn a top-four seeded wrestler when the World Championships roll around. The reason being, there are two Japanese wrestlers ranked inside the top-four, and only one wrestler per nation can be entered into the World Championships. This will knock out either No.1 Kawai or No. 4 Inagaki, and move Sarita into the fourth seed. 

Potential 59kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1 Risako KAWAI (JPN) vs. No. 5 Sarita SARITA (IND) 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Elif YESILIRMAK (TUR) vs. No. 3 Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS) 

Yusein Wins Back-to-Back European Titles, Seals No. 1 Seed 62kg
Bulgaria’s reigning 62kg world champion Taybe Yusein, who has 96 Ranking Series points, has locked up the No.1 seed at the World Championships with her 38 point lead over second-ranked Yukako KAWAI (JPN) (58 points). As previously mentioned, Yusein, along with China’s Rong Ninging, are tied for having the most Ranking Series points in the world across all styles with their 96 points.

Mallory VELTE (USA) and Yuliia TKACH OSTAPCHUK (UKR) both have 43 points and placed third at least year’s World Championships, but Tkach Ostapchuk’s European absences and Velte’s participation in the Pan-American Championships gives the American the No. 3 spot. (Highest number of participation in the ranking events*)

Potential 62kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Yukako KAWAI (JPN) vs. No. 3 Mallory VELTE (USA) 

Olli Locks up Top Spot at 65kg 
Finland’s first-ever women’s wrestling world champion Petra Olli (88 points) has over twice as many points as second-ranked Mariia KUZNETSOVA (RUS ) (41 points) and had sealed the No. 1 seed at the World Championships. 

Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) and Forrest Ann MOLINARI (USA) both have 40 Ranking Series points, but the Canadian wrestler gets the nod for the third spot because of her runner-up finish at the World Championships. (Rank in the last Senior World Championships or Olympic Games)

Potential 65kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1 Petra Maarit OLLI (FIN) vs. No. 4 Forrest MOLINARI (USA) 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Mariia KUZNETSOVA (RUS) vs. No. 4 Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) 

Cherkasova Being Chased my Mensah for No. 1 Seed at 68kg
Though she’s locked up at least a top-two seed at the World Championships, No. 1 ranked Alla Cherkasova hasn’t cemented the top ranking just yet. Tamyra MENSAH (USA), who has 59 Ranking Series points, could still catch the reigning Ukrainian world champion if she wins the final two Ranking Series events, and Cherkasova sits out both tournaments. This would give the American 95 Ranking Series points, which would be three ahead of the Ukranian. 

Mongolia’s SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg (44 points) and China’s Feng ZHOU (41 points) round out the top four in the 68kg rankings. 

Potential 68kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Tamyra MENSAH (USA) vs. No. 3 SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg 

Di Stasio Set to Make Return After Ankle Surgery 
Canadian world champion Justina Di Stasio hasn’t competed since winning gold in Budapest, but still remains the top-ranked wrestler in the world at 69kg. Di Stasio is expected to make her return to the mat over the next two weeks after undergoing surgery to fix a chipped bone in her ankle. If she stays down at the non-Olympic weight of 72kg, she’ll be the No. 1 seed at the World Championships. 

Turkey’s world bronze medalist Buse TOSUN (TUR) (49 points) jumped Mongolia’s OCHIRBAT Nasanburmaa (48 points) for the second spot, but only holds a one-point advantage over the Budapest world silver medalist. 

The fourth-ranked wrestler at 72kg is Egypt’s African champion Samar HAMZA, who has 43 points heading into the final two Ranking Series events.

Potential 72kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1 Justina DI STASIO (CAN) vs. No. 4 Samar HAMZA (EGY) 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Buse TOSUN (TUR) vs. No. 3 OCHIRBAT Nasanburmaa (MGL) 

Gray Leads Adar by Two Points 
America’s Adeline Gray (78 points) sits atop a weight class flooded with a depth of talent, 76kg. Gray stands two points in front of the woman she defeated to win her fourth world title last year in Budapest, Yasemin ADAR (TUR) (76 points). 

Gray and Adar both won their continentals championships. 

Gray won the Pan-American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a fall over No. 15 Genesis REASCO VALDEZ (ECU) in the gold-medal match. Her continental title win guaranteed her at least a top-four seed at 76kg. 

Adar, the 2017 world champion, won the European title, defeating No. 14 Martina KUENZ (AUT), 6-2. This was Adar’s fourth consecutive gold medal at the European Championships. 

Third-ranked Hiroe MINAGAWA SUZUKI (JPN), who had 25 bronze-medal points from the world championships, added 16 points from her Asian runner-up finish and an addition 16 gold-medal points from the Ivan Yariguin, bringing her overall point total to 57 points. 

European bronze-medal finisher Aline FOCKEN (GER) rounds out the top-four with 56 points.

Potential 76kg Semifinals 
SEMIFINAL – No. 1 Adeline Maria GRAY (USA) No. 4 Aline FOCKEN (GER) 
SEMIFINAL – No. 2 Yasemin ADAR (TUR) vs. No. 3 Hiroe MINAGAWA SUZUKI (JPN) 

Ranking Series

Rome, Warsaw Tapped to Host 2020 Ranking Series Events

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY (October 10) – United World Wrestling has announced Rome and Warsaw as hosts of the 2020 Ranking Series. Both events will include all three wrestling styles: freestyle, women’s wrestling, and Greco-Roman and will influence seeding for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Rome will host its competition January 15-18, while Warsaw will welcome wrestlers June 4-7 – one month after the final Olympic qualification tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“We are pleased to announce our host cities for the 2020 Ranking Series,” said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic. “There was outstanding participation at the 2019 events, which helped create excitement around our wrestlers and the World Championships in Nur-Sultan. We thank the local organizing committees in Rome and Warsaw for hosting these events.”

The 2020 Ranking Series will influence the top four seeds at the Tokyo Olympic Games, which will mark the first-time wrestling has used the Ranking Series to seed at the Olympics. With weight classes limited to 16 entries per weight, 25-percent of each category will be seeded, ensuring fans will enjoy several premier matchups in the semifinals and finals.

Ranking Series points are collected from finishes from the World Championships, Continental Championships, and Ranking Series events. Current rankings are posted on the United World Wrestling homepage and are updated after each relevant tournament.

The remaining Olympic qualification tournaments will also utilize seeding for the top two positions, drawing from the 2019 World Championships, first Ranking Series event, and the Continental championships.

Currently all NOC’s who earned Olympic qualification at the 2019 World Championships have confirmed their nation’s participation at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Wrestling at Tokyo 2020 will run from August 2-8 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba.