Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! April 16, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the European C'ship results, this week's Pan-American C'ships, and next week's Asian's C'ships. Also looking at the newly released Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games wrestling schedule. 

1. European Championships Wrap up in Bucharest 
The 2019 European Championships wrapped up on Sunday night in Bucharest, Romania, and it was the Russian Federation who claimed team titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, while Ukraine won the women’s wrestling team trophy. 

In freestyleThe Russian Federation trailed Azerbaijan by five points heading into the final day of wrestling but closed out the freestyle competition with two golds, two silvers, and four bronze medals to win the team title six points ahead of second place Turkey. 

Azerbaijan (145 points), Georgia (104 points), and Ukraine (80 points) rounded out the top-five in freestyle. 

In Greco-Roman, the Russian Federation repeated as European champions, winning five individual gold medals and having nine of ten wrestlers reach the podium. Russia finished 60 points ahead of second-place Turkey. 

Azerbaijan (76 points), Germany (72 points), and Georgia (72 points) finished third through fifth respectively. 

In women’s wrestling, Ukraine, who had a solo bronze medalist and finished last year’s Kaspiisk European Championships in seventh place, capped off their improbable run to a European team title on the backs of four individual women’s wrestling championship performances. 

Bulgaria (112 points), Turkey (98 points), Azerbaijan (96 points), and Russia (89 points) were the other top-five finishers respectively.  

Click HERE for the full #WrestleBucharest event hub. 

Canada's Erica WIEBE (CAN) is one of four Olympic champions wrestling at the 2019 Pan-American Championships. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne)

2. Four Olympic Champions Make Up 2019 Pan American Championships Field
Six Olympic medalists, including four Olympic champions, highlight the field at the 2019 Senior Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 18-21. Each style has at least one Olympic champion in the field.  

Three of the four Olympic medalists in the men’s freestyle brackets come from USA, including 2012 champion Jordan BURROUGHS, 2016 champion Kyle SNYDER and 2016 bronze medalist J’den COX.

In women's wrestling, 2016 Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) will compete this week at 76kg, while Rio Greco-Roman Olympic champion and five-time Pan American champion Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) at 67kg.

Click HERE for Taylor Miller's full Pan-American Championship preview. 

Japan's Kaori ICHO will be looking for her fifth women's wrestling Olympic gold medal. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

3. Women’s Wrestling at Center Stage as Tokyo 2020 Announces Detailed Competition Schedule
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has announced the detailed competition schedule for the sport of wrestling at the 2020 Olympic Games. The two-day competition format will feature women’s wrestling as the final gold medal bout on each day of competition. 

Japan is the most dominant women’s wrestling nation in the world having won 11 of 18 Olympic gold medals since 2004, the first year the sport was included on the Olympic programme. The island nation has also won 22 world team titles since the first women’s wrestling world championships in 1987, including 11 of the last 13.

“The schedule announced by Tokyo 2020 will help wrestling ensure high attendance for each day of the competition,” said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic. “We saw nice crowds in Brazil and expect that this schedule will help us reach even more fans and create a positive and energetic environment for all our competitors. The stars of women’s wrestling will guarantee that interest-level.”

Greco-Roman will join women for the first half of the schedule, with freestyle set to wrap up the Games alongside the aforementioned women’s weight categories.

Click HERE for Tim Foley's breakdown of the full Olympic schedule. 

4. Kayaalp, Bisultanov, and Ciobanu Make History at European Championships 
Turkey’s Riza KAYAALP authored a new page in the Turkish wrestling history books on Saturday night by winning his ninth European title. Kayaalp entered the night tied with Hamza YERLIKAYA, who also had eight European titles, but surpassed Yerlikaya with his Day 6 win at the Polyvalent Hall in Bucharest, Romania.

In his 130kg Greco-Roman gold-medal bout, Kayaalp scored three points from a stepout and a takedown to defeat Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), 3-0.

Moldova’s Victor Ciobanu and Denmark’s Rajbek Bisultanov reached the top of the European championship podium and made history for their countries on the closing day of the wrestling in Bucharest.

In the 60kg Greco-Roman finals, Victor Ciobanu pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of these European Championships, defeating the defending world and European champion Sergey EMELIN (RUS), 5-5, on criteria, and became the first-ever Moldovan Greco-Roman European champion.  

In the 82kg Greco-Roman finals, Rajbek Bisultanov ended Denmark’s 93-year drought without a European gold medal, becoming the first wrestler from his nation to circle the mat with a Danish flag since Johannes JACOBSEN did so at the Riga European title in 1926. 

Bisultanov fell behind 1-0 to Georgia’s Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) but scored two exposure points and a takedown, ending the opening frame with a 4-1 lead. In the closing period, the Danish wrestler was dinged for a caution-and-two but held on to win 4-3.


China's No. 1-ranked RONG Ningning will be one of two returning world champs competing at this year's Asian Championships. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne) 

5. Asian Championships Kick off Next Week in Xi'an, China 
Xi’an's Electronic Science and Technology University Gymnasium will be the host site for this year's Asian Championships, which take place in Xi'an, China from March 23-28. 

In total, 19 returning medalists from last year's world championships will be in action. 

Women's wrestling leads the way with ten returning podium finishers. They'll have two champions, one silver, and seven returning bronze competing. 

Greco-Roman will have one returning finalist and five bronze medalists, while freestyle has a pair of 2018 runner-ups and two bronze-medal finishers taking the mat in China next week. 

All the action can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org. 

SCHEDULE
Monday (March 22) 
17:00 - Draw FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg

Tuesday (March 23) 
9:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in FS – 57-65-70-779-97kg
11:30 - Qualification rounds and repechage FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg
14:45 - Draw FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
17:30 - Opening ceremony
18:00 - Finals FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies 

Wednesday (March 24) 
9:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg 
11:30 - Qualification rounds and repechage FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
14:45 - Draw WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
18:00 - Finals FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies / Cérémonies protocolaires

Thursday (March 25) 
9:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg 11:30 - Qualification rounds and repechage WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
14:45 - Draw WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg
18:00 - Finals WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies

Friday (March 26) 
9:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg 11:30 - Qualification rounds and repechage WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg
14:45 - Draw GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg
18:00 - Finals WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg
Award ceremonies / Cérémonies protocolaires

Saturday (March 27) 
9:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg 
11:30 - Qualification rounds and repechage GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg
14:45 - Draw GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg
18:00 - Finals GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg
Award ceremonies 

Sunday (March 28) 
9:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg
11:30 - Qualification rounds and repechage GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg 
18:00 - Finals matches GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg Award ceremonies 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Greco-Roman highlights from the European Championships 🔥😲 // Head over to our stories for the full video . .
2. Big Move(s) From Day 7 // #WrestleBucharest
3. Big Move From Day 6 // #WrestleBucharest
4. 🇦🇲 @maxim_manukyan 🇦🇲 🖐️ ➡ 📍
5. Big Move From Day 3 // #WrestleBucharest

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! August 20, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Japan's eight gold-medal performance at Junior Worlds and Kamal claiming his third consecutive junior world title. Also looking at Russia's final wrestle-offs, Dake downing Dieringer, and counting down until the first whistle at the World Championships. 

1. Japanese Women Win Eight of Ten World Golds 
Japan’s women’s wrestling team went eight-for-eight in world title bouts -- claiming an unheard-of eight of ten gold medals at the 2019 Junior World Championships last week in Tallinn, Estonia. They also added on a pair of bronze medals and brought their tournament grand total medal count to ten on their way to doubling Russia’s second place team score. Japan finished the tournament with 230 points, while the Russian Federation, who finished in second place, had 115 points. Ukraine (91 points) rounded out the top three 139 points behind the Japanese women. 

The team champions were led by the pair of two-time senior-level world champions Yui SUSAKI (50kg) and Haruno OKUNO (53kg). 

Susaki claimed back-to-back junior world titles after seizing a 10-0 victory over 2016 cadet world silver medalist Daria KHVOSTOVA (RUS) in the 50kg finals.

With her win last week, Susaki brought her grand total to seven overall world gold medals since appearing at her first World Championships in 2014. When asked where this world title stacks up on her list, Susaki said, “My final goal is an Olympic gold medal. I will do my best and I will try to practice towards my final goal.” 

Susaki pushed her total world championship record to 31-0 -- with 29 of those wins being shutout victories. Perhaps a more impressive stat is Susaki has now outscored her 31 world championship opponents 290-6 en route to reaching the top of the podium.

She believes the reason she’s so successful is because her strength and mind. She said, “The reason why I get the championships is my own strength and mind.” 

Haruno OKUNO was one of Japan's eight wrestlers who won a junior world title. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Japan’s second two-time senior world champ to win junior world gold last week was Haruno Okuno, who won the 53kg title. 

Okuno said she keeps all of her world title belts at her parent’s ’house. Well, their house gained an additional world championship belt after their daughter claimed her fifth world title in as many tries. The reigning two-time senior-level world champion added her first junior world title to her list of accomplishments after expelling Anudari NANDINTSETSEG (MGL), 7-2 in the 53kg gold-medal bout. 

By watching Okuno’s four matches, where she outscored her opponents 35-2, you would have never been able to tell that she was facing extreme neck pain on her right side. After her finals match, she talked about having to work on her counter offensive attacks because of her pain, saying “Now I feel neck pain, so I didn’t try to (tackle). In this tournament, the counterattack was very nice for me.” 

In her finals match, the always calm and stoic Okuno shot a low-level attack and picked up the early two-point lead. Her counter offense came into play when she stopped a Nandintsetseg attack and used a fluid arm-drag to a head outside single leg to pick up four points – improving her lead to 6-0. She then surrendered her first points of the tournament, an inactivity point and a stepout, but was awarded a brutality point after her Mongolian opponent was warned several times for hands-to-the-face. Okuno closed out her run to her first junior world title with a 7-2 victory. 

When asked if there’s a difference between a junior world title and a senior world title, Okuno said, “There isn’t difference between junior and senior because it means the same. It a world championship.  I’m always feeling very happy to (wrestle) against the world’s wrestlers.” 

Japanese Medal Winners: 
50kg - Yui SUSAKI (GOLD)
53kg - Haruna OKUNO (GOLD) 
55kg - Saki IGARASHI (BRONZE) 
57kg - Akie HANAI (GOLD)
59kg - Sae NANJO (GOLD)
62kg - Yuzuka INAGAKI (GOLD)
65kg - Miwa MORIKAWA (GOLD) 
69kg - Naruha MATSUYUKI (GOLD)
72kg - Yuka KAGAMI (GOLD)
76kg - Yasuha MATSUYUKI (BRONZE)

2. Kamal Wins Third Straight Junior World Title
Kerem KAMAL (TUR) will represent Turkey in Nur-Sultan in mid-September at the World Championships, but first, he made the journey to Estonia and claimed his third straight junior world title. 

Kamal held up three fingers to the crowd, signaling his possession of a third consecutive junior world title after he defeated Sahak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM), 7-2 in the 60kg gold-medal bout. “I’m very happy to win the third gold medal in the junior category. I was before in the cadet finals three times and I lost,” said Kamal.  

In his gold-medal bout, the Turkish wrestler trailed after the first period, but he expected to be in that position. “The match plan was (to be) safe in the first (period)…Safety first.” The second period was pivotal for Kamal in picking up his third world. After playing it safe in the first period, Kamal said, “In the second period, I go full power.” That’s exactly what he did. In the final three minutes, Kamal got to work quickly, smothering Hovhannisyan with a right-side gut wrench follow by a four-point lift from the right side and commanded the 7-1 lead. He conceded a second-period point but ended up carrying the Turkish flag around the mat at a World Championships for the third consecutive year with a 7-2 victory. 

Kamal’s attention now shifts towards the Senior World Championships, where he’ll be Turkey’s 60kg world team representative. The new minted three-time junior world champ begins his quest to win a senior world gold on September 16. 

3. Russia’s Freestyle World Team Set 
The final wrestle-offs for Russia’s freestyle team took place last weekend, and a trio of world champions will be heading to Nur-Sultan looking to defend their world titles from last year’s Budapest World Championships. 

The three world champs who hadn’t locked up their spot until last weekend were Zaur UGUEV (57kg), Zaurbek SIDAKOV (74kg) and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (97kg).

At 57kg, defending world champion Zaur Uguev was excused from the Russian National Championships after a bronze-medal finish at the European Games. 

To make his third straight world team, Uguev had to take out Arian TYUTRIN ​​​​to earn his spot on the world team. There were questions surrounding Ugev’s health coming into the match, but he clearly showed he’s the best 57kg wrestler in the most dominant freestyle nation on earth with a 10-0 win in his wrestle-off. 

In the 74kg wrestle-offs, defending world and European Games champion Zaurbek Sidakov, who was also granted a release from the Russian National Championships, earned his spot on this year’s team as he narrowly snuck got past 2016 world champion Magomed KURBANALIEV, 2-1. 

Four-time world and Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev was the final wrestler to cement his spot on the world team. The defending European champion and European Games gold medalist pulverized Vladislav BAITSAEV, 10-0 in their wrestle off. 

Sadualev’s win last weekend leaves hope for the wrestling community to see the rematch between the three-time world and Olympic champions “The Russian Tank” and Kyle “Captain America” Snyder in the 97kg finals. 

Russia’s Freestyle World Team: 
56kg – Zaur UGUEV 
61kg – Magomedrasul IDRISOV 
65kg – Gadzhimurad  RASHIDOV 
70kg – David BAEV
74kg – Zaurbek SIDAKOV
79kg – Gadzhi  NAVIEV
86kg – Artur NAIFONOV
92kg – Alikhan  JABRAILOV
97kg – Abdulrashid SADULAEV 
125kg – Anzor KHIZRIEV 

4. Dake Downs Dieinger in Two Straight Matches, Will Represent USA at 79kg 
Reigning 79kg world champion Kyle DAKE (USA) returned from injury and defeated Alex DIERINGER (USA) in two straight matches to make his second consecutive United States world team. Dake scored a tactical 3-2 victory in match one, then opened up a little in the second match and grabbed the 4-1 victory -- booking his ticket to the 2019 World Championships. 

Last year, in his World Championships debut, Dake outscored his opponents 37-0 en route to his first world title. After defeating Dierging in two straight matches last weekenk, Dake heads to Kazakhstan as the favorite to repeat in a weight depleted due to Olympic weight changes. 

USA’s Freestyle World Team: 
57kg - Daton FIX 
61kg - Tyler GRAFF

65kg - Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS / Zain RETHERFORD
70kg - James GREEN 
74kg - Jordan BURROUGHS 
79kg - Kyle DAKE 
86kg - Pat DOWNEY 
92kg - J'den COX 
97kg - Kyle SNYDER 
125kg - Nick
GWIAZDOWSKI 

5. The Countdown Begins to the World Championships
We’re officially under a month away from the start of the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Today marks the 25th day until the first whistle at the Barys Arena in Kazakhstan's capital city formally known as Astana.

This year’s World Championships will hold immense weight because the top-six wrestlers in each weight category will qualify their nation's spot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

The schedule for this year’s Worlds is much different than that of the Budapest World Championships. Unlike last year, where Greco-Roman closed out the 2018 World Championships, Greco-Roman will instead kick things off this year -- beginning on September 14. Women’s wrestling will be sandwiched in between Greco-Roman and freestyle -- starting on September 17. Finally, freestyle will close out the World Championships, with the potential third match-up between the three-time world and Olympic champions Abdulrashid Sadualev and Kyle Snyder squaring off the 97kg gold medal. The pair have split the last two world titles at 97kg, with Snyder winning in Paris and Sadualev exacting revenge in Budapest by picking up the 70-second fall. 

Here is the World Championships SCHEDULE