European Games

Olympic Champions Attract Gold, Attention at 2nd European Games in Minsk

By Tim Foley

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and UWW President Nenad Lalovic, along with members of the UWW Bureau, take in the action at the European Games on Sunday in Minsk, Belarus.

MINSK, Belarus (July 1) – The second European Games attracted the best athletes from the continent, and nowhere was that clearer than the wrestling mats where a number of defending Olympic champions and medalists came to Minsk in search of a Euro Games gold.

Perhaps no star shone brighter than Olympic champion Abdulrashid SADUALEV (RUS) the defending 97kg world champion and 86kg Olympic champion from Rio 2016. Arguably the sport’s most recognizable name, the athletic Sadulaev cruised to a 97kg Europeans Games title on day three, upending Azerbaijan’s Nurmagomed GADZHIYEV (AZE).

In addition to their on-the-mat dominance, wrestling’s stars also attracted off-the-mat dignitaries. IOC president Thomas Bach was in attendance Sunday night as 2016 Olympic champion Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) lifted and tossed his way to his first European Games title at 97kg in Greco-Roman. The 27-year-old Armenian shut out local favorite Aliaksandr HRABOVIK (BLR) 5-0 in the gold-medal match.

Olympic bronze medalist, and recent mother, Sofia Mattsson, made a splash in her return to the mats winning her second European Games gold medal at 53kg in women’s wrestling, defeating Yulia KHAVALDZHY (UKR), 6-4.

Belarus experienced a brief gold rush on the competitions fourth day nabbing a pair of gold medals with Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) upedned Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL), 10-0 at 57kg and Olympic bronze medalist Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) dominated Francy RAEDELT (GER), 9-0 at 76kg.

The United World Wrestling calendar continues July 12-14 with the Yasar Dogu Ranking Series tournament in Istanbul. The tournament will be the last Ranking Series event of the year in freestyle and women’s wrestling. 

European Games

Beleniuk, Aleksanyan, Hryshchanka Claim Golds on Final Day of European Games

By United World Wrestling Press

MINSK, Belarus (June 30) - Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM), one of the world's most decorated Greco-Roman wrestlers, can now add European Games gold medalist to a resume that includes an Olympic gold, three world titles and four European titles.

The 27-year-old Armenian shut out local favorite Aliaksandr HRABOVIK (BLR) 5-0 in the gold-medal match at 97kg in Greco-Roman on the final day of the European Games at the Minsk Sports Palace.

Aleksanyan scored a passivity point in the first period and led 1-0 at the break. He pulled away in the second period, going up 3-0 before executing a gut wrench with a little over a minute remaining in the match.

World No.1 Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) claimed the gold medal at 87kg, improving on his silver-medal performance at the previous European Games in 2015. Beleniuk, a 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist, defeated multiple-time U23 world medalist Islam ABBASOV (AZE) 3-1 in the gold-medal match. It was a rematch of this year's European Championships gold-medal match at 87kg, which Beleniuk won 5-1. 

On Sunday, the 28-year-old Ukrainian scored first off a passivity and then used a gut wrench to go up 3-0 in the first period. Abbasov, ranked No.5 in the world, would add a point off a passivity in the second period, but Beleniuk would hang on to win by two. He celebrated with a victory dance on the mat. 

Kiryl HRYSHCHANKA (BLR) sent the home crowd into a frenzy by winning a gold medal at 130kg in the final wrestling match of the European Games. He topped multiple-time European medalist Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) 5-1 in the finals. The Belarusian heavyweight went down 1-0 before turning the tables. With Kajaia looking for a turn in par terre, Hryshchanka reversed the action and put the Georgian in trouble, nearly securing a fall and gaining two points in the process. He then used an exposure to go up 4-1. He would add a passivity point in the final period to win by four. 

World No.4 Viktor LORINCZ (HUN), a two-time world bronze medalist, earned a bronze medal at 87kg by defeating Ivan HUKLEK (CRO) 7-1. The other bronze medal at 87kg was won by Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL), who picked up a 7-1 victory over Radzik KULIYEU (BLR). Kulynycz trailed at the break before scoring seven unanswered points in the second period. 

Felix BALDAUF (NOR), a 2017 European champion, took home a bronze medal at 97kg with a 6-1 win over Olympic bronze medalist Cenk ILDEM (TUR). Two-time U23 world champion Aleksandr GOLOVIN (RUS) rebounded from a semifinal loss to Aleksanyan to beat Revazi NADAREISHVILI (GEO) 5-1 for a bronze medal at 97kg.

A pair of 2016 Olympic bronze medalists won bronze medals at 130kg, Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) and Sabah SHARIATI (AZE). Semenov, a returning world champion, dominated Mykola KUCHMII (UKR) 10-1. Shariati edged Oskar MARVIK (NOR) 3-2, scoring the go-ahead takedown with just under two minutes remaining.  It's Shariati's second European Games medal as he won a silver medal in 2015. 



GOLD - Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) df. Islam ABBASOV (AZE), 3-1
BRONZE - Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) df. Ivan HUKLEK (CRO), 7-1
BRONZE - Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL) df. Radzik KULIYEU (BLR), 7-1

GOLD - Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) df. Aliaksandr HRABOVIK (BLR), 5-0
BRONZE - Felix BALDAUF (NOR) df. Cenk ILDEM (TUR), 6-1
BRONZE - Aleksandr GOLOVIN (RUS) df. Revazi NADAREISHVILI (GEO), 5-1

GOLD - Kiryl HRYSHCHANKA (BLR) df. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), 5-1
BRONZE - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) df. Mykola KUCHMII (UKR), 10-1
BRONZE - Sabah SHARIATI (AZE) df. Oskar MARVIK (NOR), 3-2