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! December 3, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Previewing the Canadian Wrestling Trials and Alans Tournament. Also looking at the results from the Alrosa Cup and Indian National Championships. 

1. Russia Dominates Alrosa Cup, Takes Down World, 11-1 
Russia’s star-studded squad closed out the Alrosa Cup in Moscow by winning 11 of 12 matches against an all-star world team that featured wrestlers from seven different nations. 

Roman VLASOV (RUS) edged his London Olympic finals opponenet Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM), 3-2, in the headlining match of the dual, which came at 77kg (Greco-Roman). 

Vlasov, the two-time Olympic champion, scored his three points from an inactivity then tacked on two additional points with a right-side gut wrench and commanded the 3-0 lead. Julfalakyan made it a match with under a minute left, as he picked up a late second-period takedown and closed the Russian’s lead to one point. But, it wasn’t enough to avenge his Olympic finals loss, as Vlasov hung on to edge the Armenian, 3-2.

On the freestyle side of the dual, arguably the most impressive performance of the night came at 97kg when Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (RUS) scored a 5-2 upset victory over Olympic champion, Sharip SHARIPOV (AZE). 

In addition to Zhabrailov’s win, another significant victory for the Russian Federation came at 125kg, where Bilyal MAKHOV (RUS) continued his quest to improve his Olympic silver medal with a 2-0 shutout win over an undersized Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO), who was wrestling up from his Nur-Sultan weight of 97kg. 

Azerbaijan’s three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV (AZE) was the lone non-Russian wrestler to seize a win in the 12-match dual. Aliyev scored a last-second takedown to move past Nachyin KUULAR (RUS), 5-4, in the 65kg matchup. 

Russia df. World, 11-1
Freestyle (5-1)
57kg – Ramis GAMZATOV (RUS) df. Giorgi EDISHERASHVILI (AZE), 8-4
65kg – Haji ALIYEV (AZE) df. Nachyin KUULAR (RUS), 5-4 
74kg – Timur BIZHOEV (RUS) df. Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO), 2-1
86kg – Magomed RAMAZANON (RUS) df. Ahmad BAZRI (IRI), 3-2 
97kg – Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (RUS) df. Sharip SHARIPOV (AZE), 5-2 
125kg – Bilyal MAKHOV (RUS) df. Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO), 2-0 

Greco-Roman (6-0)
60kg – Sergey EMELIN (RUS) df. Victor CIOBANU (MDA), 7-0
67kg – Artem SURKOV (RUS) df. Atakan YUEKSEL (TUR), 6-1 
77kg – Roman VLASOV (RUS) df. Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM), 3-2 
87kg – Alexander KOMAROV (RUS) df. Metehan BASAR (TUR), 2-1 
97kg – Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) df. Ibrahim TIGCI (TUR), 8-3
130kg – Vitali SCHUR (RUS) df. Nurmakhan TINALIEV (KAZ), 3-1 

2. Wiebe’s Quest for Second Olympic Gold Kicks off Friday at Canadian Wrestling Team Trials
Erica WIEBE (CAN) has been on the record saying she thought chasing her first Olympic gold was the hardest thing she’d ever do. But after winning gold in Rio, the Canadian’s tone changed, saying pursuing her second Olympic title is a more difficult task. 

The future hall of famer’s quest to become the first non-Japanese woman to win two Olympic gold medals officially begins this Friday at the two-day Canadian Wrestling Team Trials in Niagara, Ontario, Canada. 

The process for Wiebe to make it to the Tokyo Olympic Games is relatively simple, but it'll be no easy task to do so. First, she has to win the Canadian Wrestling Team Trials. Then, she has to qualify the weight at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier (March 13-15). 

Wiebe's first step in repeating her run to an Olympic gold begins this week in Ontario, where she’s entered at 76kg. Her weight class will feature five other wrestlers, including Canada’s last two world team representatives at 72kg, who are moving up to the Olympic weight of 76kg. 

Wiebe’s strongest competition this week will be 2019 Pan-American champion Dejah SLATER and her biggest domestic rival, Justina DI STASIO, a 2018 world champion.

Wiebe and Di Stasio met earlier this year in the finals of the Canada Cup in Calgary, where Wiebe scored the 7-5 come-from-behind win. In that June meeting, Wiebe trailed 3-2 heading into the closing period, but the Olympic champion outscored the world champion, 5-2, and secured the gold medal with the 7-5 victory.

Outside of the massive storyline at 76kg, another weight to follow will be 57kg. Linda MORAIS, the reigning world champion at 59kg, will make her descent down to the Olympic weight with hopes is chasing Olympic gold in Tokyo. Morais will be met at 57kg by Hannah TAYLOR and Alexandra TOWN. Taylor is fresh off a bronze-medal finish at the U23 World Championships, while Town is a year removed from handing Canada their first-ever women's wrestling U23 world gold medal.

The Canadian Wrestling Team Trials begin Friday and can be followed live on www.wrestling.ca and CBC Sports! You can also follow Wrestling Canada Lutte on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for live updates.

Kyle SNYDER (USA) will lead Team USA to Vladikavkaz, Russia, for the Alans International Tournament. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Snyder Leads Experienced USA Squad Headed to Russia for Alans International Tournament
Kyle SNYDER (USA) is set to lead a highly experienced American team to Vladikavkaz, Russia, for the Alans International Tournament. The Menezh Sports Palace will host the three-day tournament from December 5-8. 

Thomas GILMAN, James GREEN and Nick GWIAZDOWSKI are the trio of world medalists that'll join Snyder, the two-time world and Olympic champion, in Vladikavkaz over the weekend. In total, the American team that's entered combines for nine world medals and an Olympic title. 

Gilman, a 2017 world silver medalist, will wrestle in Russia for the third time in the last three months. In October, Gilman went 5-0 and won the 57kg gold medal at the Yusup Abdulsalamov Tournament in Dagestan, Russia. He followed that up a week later with a bronze-medal finish at the Intercontinental Cup in Khasavyurt, Russia. 

Green, a two-time 70kg world medalist, will try to improve his bronze medal from last year’s Alans Tournament. But, he won’t be doing so at his normal weight of 70kg. Green will make his first appearance at the Olympic weight of 74kg, where he’ll look to challenge teammate Jordan BURROUGHS for the Tokyo Olympic spot. 

The fourth world medalist on USA’s team is two-time world bronze medalist Nick GWIAZDOWSKI, who’ll wrestle at 125kg. 

Zain RETHERFORD and Mike MACHIAVELLO round out the six-man roster for the United States.  Retherford, a two-time world team representative, will compete at 65kg, while Machiavello will wrestle at 92kg. 

USA Alans Teams 
57kg – Thomas GILMAN ('18 silver)
65kg – Zain RETHERFORD 
74kg – James GREEN ('17 silver, '15 bronze)
92kg – Mike MACHIAVELLO 
97kg – Kyle SNYDER ('15 and '17 gold, '18 silver, '19 bronze) ('16 Olympic gold)
125kg – Nick GWIAZDOWSKI ('17 and '18 bronze)

Prize Money
GOLD - $5000 $ + $1000 to the coach
SILVER - $2000 
BRONZE - $1000 (each bronze medalist)

Vinesh VINESH (IND) (Photo: Tony Rotundo) 

4. Vinesh and Malik Shine at Tata Motors Indian National Championships
Indian stars Vinesh VINESH and Sakshi MALIK shined bright over the weekend, winning gold medals in their respective weight classes at the 64th Annual Tata Motors Indian National Championships in Punjab’s northern city, Jalandhar. 

Vinesh, India’s most prominent women’s wrestling star, followed up her bronze-medal finish at the World Championships with a gold medal at the Indian National Championships. Vinesh, who qualified India for the Olympic Games at 53kg, downed Anju ANJU, 7-3, in the 55kg gold-medal match. 

Sakshi Malik was the second superstar to win a national title over the weekend. Malik, the Rio Olympic bronze medalist, got back to her winning ways after a disappointing 17th-place finish at the World Championships. Malik defeated Radhika RADHIKA, 4-2, in the finals at 62kg. 

In freestyle, India’s two 2019 world medalists, Bajrang PUNIA and Deepak PUNIA, elected to sit out of the competition. Bajrang, who medaled at his second straight World Championships, is preparing for the 2020 Toyko Olympics, while Deepak, the world silver medalist at 86kg, is nursing the same injury that kept him from wrestling Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) in the 86kg world finals. 

The winners of the Tata Motors Indian National Championships will now travel to Nepal to compete in the South Asian Games. Wrestling at the South Asian Games begins on December 6. 

Women’s Wrestling 
50kg – Sheetal TOMAR df. Nirmal NIRMAL, 7-3 
53kg – Pinki PINKI df. Ankush ANKUSH, 7-3 
55kg – Vinest VINESH df. Anju ANJU, 7-3 
57kg – Sarita MOR df. Neetu NEETU, via default
59kg – Anshu ANSHU df. Lalita SHERAWAT, 4-4
62kg – Sakshi MALIK df. Rashika RADHIKA, 4-2 
65kg – Nisha DAHIYA df. Navjot KAUR, 4-1 
68kg – Anita Sheoran df.  Divya KAKRAN, 5-1 
72kg – Kiran KIRAN  df. Naina NAINA, 4-1 
76kg – Gursharan PREET KAUR df. 4-2 POOJA, 4-2 

Freestyle 
57kg – Rahul RAHUL df. Abasaheb ABASAHEB, 7-6
61kg – RAVINDER Sonaba df. Tanaji TANAJI, 12-2
65kg – Amit KUMAR df. Rahul RAHUL, 12-2
70kg – Naveen NAVEEN df. Vishal VISHAL, 2-1 
74kg – Gourav BALIYAN df. Praveen RANA, 5-3
79kg – Sandeep MANN df. Jutender JITENDER, 7-4
86kg – Pawan KUMAR df. Deepak SAROHA, 4-1 
92kg – Monu MONU df Sunil SUNIL, 10-2
97kg – Satyawart KADIAN df. Kapil Chaudhary, 9-0
125kg – Sumit MALIK df. Abhijut ABHIJIT, 5-0 

Shinobu OTA (JPN) (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

5. Rio Silver Medalists Ota, Higuchi Take Drastic Measures in Quest to Make Tokyo 2020
A pair of Japanese silver medalists from the Rio 2016 Olympics, denied during their preferred routes to Tokyo 2020, will be trying desperate measures in last-ditch efforts to make Games in their host country---which presents a weighty problem for both.

Shinobu OTA, the Rio 2016 silver medalist at Greco-Roman 60kg, has moved up to two divisions to 67kg for the upcoming All Japan Championships, which will serve as the final qualifier for either filling an Olympic berth that Japan has already secured, or earning the chance to win a spot at the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament in March.

Conversely, Rei HIGUCHI, who failed to gain an Olympic ticket at freestyle 65kg, has gone the other way, dropping two weight classes down to 57kg, the division in which he won the silver in Rio, according to the list of entries recently released by the Japan federation for the tournament to be held Dec. 19-22 in Tokyo.

Click here for Ken Martantz' full breaks down of the All Japan Championships. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media
1. Big Move Monday -- Islamova V.
2. Mijain LÓPEZ is a three-time Olympic champion, is on a quest to become the first-ever male to win four Olympic titles.
3. The most dominant wrestling nation in the world, Russia 🇷🇺.
4. Happy Friday, wrestling fans! ‬
5. World Champion Spotlight: Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) outscored his four #WrestleNurSultan opponents 29-0 and captured his first world title. The 26-year-old scored a 53 second 9-0 technical superiority victory over Aram VARDANYAN (UZB) in the finals.