Russia Looks to Repeat at World Grappling Championships in Astana

By Marc Berman

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (September 6th) -- The 2018 World Grappling Championships start next week in Astana with wrestlers from 16+ nations expected to compete in Grappling and Grappling Gi in both men’s and women’s divisions.

In the senior division defending champion Russia will have a difficult path to repeating as Brazil has entered a variety of ex-pat countrymen into the competition, including grappling superstars the Miyao brothers. Poland will also look to challenge the European champions for the world title having taken double bronze at the continental championships.

Ukraine (silver in Grappling-Gi) and France (silver in Grappling) will bring veteran lineups to Astana and are front runners to take home team medals.

The championships will be streamed on in the United States and internationally on United World Wrestling.

Men’s Grappling

62kg (Saturday)

Magomedbek TEMEEV (RUS), who won the 2017 world championships, will not be defending his title this year. Also out is this year’s European champion Magomedov MAKHACH (RUS). Adriano  Andrè COLAZINGARI (ITA) who finished with Bronze in April at the European Championships is one to watch.

66kg (Saturday)

Gairbeg IBRAGIMOV (RUS) will be in the mix to defend his title. He is poised to do so after a first place finish in Kaspiysk earlier this year.

71kg (Saturday)

This division is without an medalists from last year’s world championships. Mikhail FRANKLIN (PAN) is a veteran grappler who will certainly be in the mix for gold.

77kg (Saturday)

Watch for Steven RAMOS (USA), he is a 5th place finisher from 2017 who has shown steady improvement in a variety of competitions. He comes to Astana be the highest placed finisher from last year’s competition.

84kg (Saturday)

With 15 competitors in the division anything can happen. Shamil MAGOMEDEV (RUS) will be favorite after a strong performance at the Europeans this year.

92kg (Saturday)

Another division without a returning medalist, seasoned competitor Avraham IBRAGIMOV (ISR) could have a medal in his future and is always in the mix for the podium. Isichko YAROSLAV (UKR) is another veteran with experience at the international level.

100kg (Saturday)

MMA fighter Nurbek ISAMILOV (KGZ) is in the hunt for the top spot on the podium. Kamil UMINSKIi (POL) is in the way with a 2nd place finish at the European championships this year and 3rd place at the World Championships last year.

100+kg (Saturday)

Last year’s champion Ruslan ABDULAEV (RUS) will not be defending his title. Watch big man Denis SUKOL (LTU) to be a potential champion.

Women’s Grappling

53kg (Saturday)

Laetitia BOES (FRA) will be present to defend her title at 53 kg is the largest women’s division in both styles, Watch for last year’s bronze medalist Svitrlana SKYYPNK (UKR) to be a potential roadblock.

58kg (Saturday)

Kateryna SHAKALOVA (UKR) and Breanna STIKKELMAN (USA) seemed destined for a rematch of the 2017 world finals. Shakalova came out on top last year but, the American will look to stand in the way of any plans to repeat.

64kg (Saturday)

Lulia TORIANSKAIA (RUS) is a favorite after coming off a gold medal performance at Europeans. We could see a finals rematch from Europeans with Irina GROMOVA (RUS). Both would need to get past defending champion Hrynko TETIANA (UKR).

71kg (Saturday)

Rimma ANUFRIEVA (RUS) finished with Bronze in Baku and reached the top spot at this year’s Europeans. Rival Irene MUNGAI (ITA) shared the 3rd place spot last year with her in Baku and fell short in the finals at Europeans. This could be a finals matchup.

71+kg (Saturday)

Veronika KORENIUGINA (UKR) is not in the mix to defend her title. Chloe BARRE (FRA), who finished second last year, is a good bet to be one of the finalists in Astana.

Men’s Grappling- GI

62kg (Sunday)

This weight features Magomedbek TEMEEV (RUS) who won gold without the Gi last year and defending champion Baranov DMYTRO (UKR).

Cristofer BARRIOS (ESP) took 3rd at Europeans this year is in the mix.

66kg (Sunday)

Gairbeg IBRAGIMOV (RUS) is a favorite at a gold metal at this year's Europeans. America Luis QUINONES (USA) returns to his second worlds team. After a strong performance at the team trials this year, Luis is on the hunt for a podium spot.

71kg (Sunday)

Alibekov GADZHIMURAD (RUS) and Francisco ALCALDE (ESP) are two likely to be vying for the top podium position. Gadzhimurad was unstoppable at Europeans this year, earning gold. While Alcalde was runner up in Baku last year.

77kg (Sunday)

In a very competitive division, Yusef KADDUR (ESP) will be defending his title. Rene KARAMANITES (PAN) is seeking revenge after falling short to Kaddur last year.

84kg (Sunday)

World silver medalist Shamil MAGOMEDOV (RUS) moves up a weight this year. Purtiyev  HAJIMURAD (AZE) took gold this year at Europeans and will be challenging for gold.

92kg (Sunday)

Piotr BAGINSKI (POL) finished with Bronze in Baku with both finalists not present this year, it could be his year.

100kg (Sunday)

Isa UMAROV (RUS) was a runner-up at the Europeans this year, he is one to watch as a potential finalist.

100+kg (Sunday)

Abdulaev RUSLAN (RUS) will be present to defend his title. Sheraz Mohammad Ahmed KHAN (PAK) is a dark horse ready to make a run at gold.


Women’s Grappling GI

53kg (Sunday)

Polina KRUPSKAIA (POL) is ready to take gold back to back years. Laetitia BOES (FRA) could be her biggest challenge this year.

58kg (Sunday)

Kateryna SHAKALOVA (UKR) is defending GI and No Gi titles this year. She could make it back to back years with double gold.

64kg (Sunday)

Last years champion Breanna STIKKELMAN (USA) moved down a weight category, fellow finalist last year Hrynko TETIANA (UKR) will be looking to step up to the top position on the podium this year.

71kg (Sunday)

Silver medalist Irene MUNGAI (ITA) is a favorite to take gold this year. Olena SUSHKO (UKR) can not be counted out either.

71+kg (Sunday)

Chloe BARRE (FRA) was a finalist last year and has the stuff to challenge for gold this year. Poland’s Magdalena ZASZCZUDLOWICZ (POL) is in the mix also for the top position.


Thursday, Sept 6th:

11:00-14:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling- Novice and Schoolboys/girls)

15:00-19:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling-Cadets, Veterans and Juniors)

19:00-20:00 Finals (All categories)

Friday, Sept 7th:  

11:00-14:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling GI- Novice and Schoolboys/girls)

15:00-19:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling GI-Cadets, Veterans and Juniors)

19:00-20:00 Finals (All categories)

Saturday, Sept 8th:

11:00-12:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling-Men 62, 66, 71, 77kg, Women 53, 58, 64kg)

12:00-13:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling-Men 84, 92, 100 +100kg, Women 71, +71kg)

18:00-19:00 Finals (All categories)

Sunday, Sept 9th:

11:00-12:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling GI-Men 62, 66, 71, 77kg, Women 53, 58, 64kg)

12:00-13:00 Elimination rounds & repechage (Grappling GI- Men 84, 92, 100 +100kg, Women 71, +71kg)

17:00-19:00 Finals (All categories)


Future is Bright for Grappling in Kazakhstan

By Marc Berman

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (September 9th) -- The Kazakhstani grappling team may not have won a bevy of gold medals, but the Central Asian nation showed great improvement at the 2018 Grappling World Championships.

After four tough days of competition the host nation walked away with a 3rd place finish in the women’s senior division and fifth place in the men’s senior division. The nation also boasted finalists in the women’s 53kg and 58kg division and scored a bronze and silver on the men’s side.

In preparation for the World Championships Kazakhstan hosted qualifying events in multiple cities before the national qualifier earlier this year.

Head grappling coach Renat SITNAZAROV was pleased with the process of forming the team. “We were able to gather our strongest athletes together and bring them here for the championships.”

In preparation for the event the team brought together athletes from around the country to train together and work on new techniques. In preparation for Grappling events team members compete in various other styles, freestyle, Greco-Roman, judo, sambo and jiu-jitsu.

When it came time for the actual competition Sitnazarov and his coaching staff worked with each athlete before each round to develop a winning strategy.

Since 2010 Coach Renat has seen grappling take off in Kazakhstan, becoming more popular every year. “I see Grappling growing every year and is now very popular with many athletes taking part of events here in Kazakhstan. Now with athletes such as Miyao coming from other styles to compete in Grappling, I see it becoming a big event.”

Catch up on all the action you miss on in the United States and internationally on United World Wrestling.