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! March 17, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Valencia Escoto and Destribats' historic performances at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifiers. Also looking at Cuba's GR team qualifying every weight for #Tokyo2020 and Olympic champs Maroulis and Wiebe qualifying their nation's for the Tokyo Games.

1. Valencia Escoto First Mexican Woman to Qualify for Olympic Games
Alma Jane VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) became the first-ever Mexican women's wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games after winning the 57kg gold medal at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. She won all four of her bouts in Ottawa – including a win by fall over world champion Linda MORAIS (CAN) and a victory via forfeit over Helen MAROULIS (USA).

Valencia Escoto opened her day up with a pair of decisive wins over Betzabeth SARCO COLMENAREZ (VEN) and Nes RODRIGUEZ TIRADO (PUR), which inserted her into the semifinals against Canada's reigning world champion, Linda Morais. 

In her semifinals meeting with the current 59kg world-title holder, Valencia Escoto stopped an early open double-leg attempt with a counter-offensive throw. She snuck in an underhook on the Canadian's right side during her shot attempt and tossed her to her back for the early 4-0 lead. 

Valencia Escoto's opponenet fought off her back and nearly scored a takedown of a slide by attempt. Still, somehow, the newly-minted Olympian had the world champion fighting off her back for the second time in the opening period. 

The tides turned quickly, and Valencia Escoto was the one fighting off her back. She got saved by the period-ending whistle and carried the 6-2 lead into the closing period.

In the final period, Valencia Escoto halted a left side high crotch attempt and flattened Morais for the fall – becoming the first-ever Mexican women to wrestle at the Olympic Games.

Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) finished in second place at 65kg at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier and qualified Argentina for the Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Destribats Ends 24-year Argentinean Freestyle Olympic Drought
Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) ended a 24-year Argentinean freestyle Olympic drought and qualified his nation for the Tokyo Olympics after he pinned American Zain RETHERFORD (USA) in the 65kg semifinals. With his semifinal victory via fall, Destribats became the first Argentinean freestyle wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games since Paulo IBIRE (ARG) did so at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In his meeting with the Retherford, Destribats conceded an open double leg and nearly gave up an ankle lace but was able to fend off the turn and catch the American on his back. He held Retherford on his back for 25 seconds before picking up the opening period fall to secure his spot at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Helen MAROULIS (USA) qualified the United States for the Olympic Games at 57kg with her silver-medal finish at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Olympic Champs Maroulis and Wiebe Qualify Nation's for Olympic Games 
Olympic champions Helen MAROULIS (USA) and Erica WIEBE (CAN) qualified their nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing in the top-two of their respective weights at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. The pair remained on course to defend their gold medals from the Rio Olympic Games. 

Maroulis, who was wrestling in her first international competition since the 2018 World Championships, won four matches before injury defaulting out of the finals after locking up the United States' spot at 57kg for the Olympics.

In her first match, Maroulis easily handled Canada's Linda Morias, 10-2, in the battle of Olympic champion and world champion. 

Maroulis defeated Giullia RODRIGUES (BRA) and Lissette ANTES (ECU) in the next two rounds and was one win away from earning a second berth to the Olympic Games for the United States. 

In the semifinals, Maroulis crushed Nes RODRIGUEZ (PUR), 10-0, and qualified the Stars and Stripes for the Olympic Games at 57kg. 

She'll now have to win the Olympic Trials to become the United States' Olympic representative at 57kg.

Canada's Erica Wiebe was the second Olympic champion who qualified for the Olympic Games over the weekend. Wiebe, who was wrestling in her hometown of Ottawa, won the 76kg bracket and locked up her shot at repeating as Olympic champion. 

She opened up her day with a narrow 2-1 win over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). She tacked on dominant wins over Milaimys de la Caridad MARIN POTRILLE (CUB) and Andrimar LAZARO (VEN), setting up a semifinals match with Genesis REASCO (ECU).

Wiebe shutout Reasco Valdez, 6-0, in their semifinals meeting and earned her berth to the Olympic Games. She injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match against Aline Da Silva Ferreira and finished with a silver medal.

Wiebe won the Canadian Wrestling Trails in December and will represent Canada at 76kg at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) is one of six Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers who will wrestle at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo) 

4. Cuba Sending All Six GR Wrestlers to Olympics 
Cuba’s Greco-Roman team came into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier searching for four qualification spots after earning two Olympic berths from the Nur-Sultan World Championships from Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB). Over the weekend, they had three wrestlers win gold medals and one individual finish in second place at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier – which took their qualification total to all six weight categories. 

Their three champions were Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB), Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) and Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB), while Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) finished in second place.

In addition to their Greco-Roman success, Cuba's women's wrestling team also shined in Ottawa. 

Coming into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier, Katherine VIDIAUX (CUB) was the lone Cuban woman who ever wrestled at the Olympic Games. She'll now be joined in the history books by Lianna MONTERO (CUB) and Yusneylis GUZMAN (CUB), who won gold medals at 50kg and 53kg, respectively, and qualified for the Olympic Games. 

Greco-Roman Qualifying Weights/Athletes
60kg - Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold 
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – World Championships gold 
77kg - Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
87kg - Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier silver
97kg - Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) World Championships silver

5. European, World 'Last Chance' Olympic Qualifiers Postponed
The European Qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for March 19-22 in Budapest, along with the World "Last Chance" Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for April 30-May 3, have been postponed.

The events will be rescheduled, with the European Qualifier expected to take place in mid-May and the World "Last Chance" Qualifier held at the beginning of June.

"We are closely monitoring the governmental response to COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates to our wrestlers, coaches, and fans with more information as it becomes available," said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic.

"The process for determining our Olympic participants will happen on the field of play, but we need to remain patient and vigilant as the worldwide community battles this pandemic. The health and well-being of the athletes is an absolute priority."