Otoguro, Azizli, and Rong Appointed Breakout Performers of the Year
Monday, December 24, 2018 - 05:07 By Eric Olanowski
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 24) -- Takuto OTOGURO (JPN), Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE), and RONG Ningning (CHN) were appointed the 2018 Breakout Performers of the Year after they reached the top of the podium at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Otoguro, just 19 years old and three years removed from winning the 2015 cadet world title in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, won the 65kg freestyle world title, becoming Japan’s youngest male freestyle world champion ever. Otoguro’s World Championship performance broke a Japanese record that stood in for 44 years.
Otoguro, who averaged over 13 points a match, advanced to the finals with an impressive 15-10 win over Russian National champion and the favorite to win the weight coming into Budapest, Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS). In the finals, Otoguro defeated India’s rising star, Bajrang BAJRANG (IND), 16-9.
In Greco-Roman, Azerbaijan’s Eldaniz Azizli shutout Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ), 10-0 in the 55kg gold-medal bout. Azizli, in his first World Championships appearance, scored four technical superiority wins and averaged nearly nine points a match.
China’s Rong Ningning held on to defeat Bulgaria’s Bilyana Zhivkova DUDOVA, 3-3 and won her first world title. The 2018 World Championships were Rong’s second World Championship appearance, but her Budapest gold medal was her first career world medal. She finished last year, which was her rookie campaign, in fifth-place.
In addition to her world title run, Rong also won gold medals at the Asian Championships, the China Open, the Poland Open, and the Ivan Yarygin, while also finishing in second and third place respectively at the U23 World Championships and the Alexander Medved Prizes.
The next award to be released will be the Outstanding Performances award, which will come out on Thursday.