Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! April 2, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

This week's Weekly FIVE is dedicated to the 2019 European Championships, which begin April 8-14 in Bucharest, Romania. 

1. 22 Returning European Champions Set to Compete in Bucharest 
There will be 22 returning European champions competing at next week's 2019 European Championships in Bucharest, Romania. 

Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling each return eight of the ten Kaspisk gold medalists. 

In Greco-Roman, Adam KURAK (RUS) and Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) are two defending champions who’ll sit out in Bucharest, while the pair of women’s wrestling returning champions who won’t make the trip to Romania are reigning 50kg and 68kg gold medalists respectively, Mariya STADNIK (AZE) and Anastasia BRATCHIKOVA (RUS). 

The Freestyle competition is expected to feature six returning champions. The tournament will be without Russia’s Gadshimurad RASHIDOV, Artur NAIFONOV, Abdulrashid SADULAEV, and Turkey’s Soener DEMIRTAS.  

Returning European Champions 
65kg - Haji ALIYEV (AZE) 
74kg - Magomed KURBANALIEV (RUS) 
97kg - Vladislav BAITSAEV (RUS)
125kg - Taha AKGUL (TUR) 

55kg - Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE)
60kg - Sergey EMELIN (RUS) 
63kg - Mihai MIHUT (ROU) 
67kg - Artem SURKOV (RUS) 
77kg - Roman VLASOV (RUS) 
87kg - Maksim MANUKYAN (ARM) 
87kg -  Roberti KOBLIASHVILI (GEO)
130kg - Riza KAYAALP (TUR) 

Women’s Wrestling 
53kg - Stalvira ORSHUSH (RUS) 
57kg - Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) 
57kg -Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL)
59kg - Elif YESILIRMAK (TUR) 
62kg - Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) 
65kg - Petra OLLI (FIN) 
68kg - Anna FRANSSON (SWE) 
76kg - Yasemin ADAR (TUR) 

2. Olympic Champs Vlasov and Chakvetadze Added to Russia’s GR Lineup 
Just when the wrestling world thought the Russia Federation’s Greco-Roman lineup couldn’t get any better, they fill in their “holes” with the likes of Olympic champions Roman VLASOV and Davit CHAKVETADZE and four-time age-group world champion Aleksander KOMAROV. 

Vlasov, the two-time Olympic champion, pulled out of the World Championships two weeks prior after undergoing knee surgery. He gets reinserted into Russia’s lineup over his backup Aleksander CHERHIRKIN, who took advantage of Vlasov's absence by winning the 77kg world title in Budapest.

Olympic champion Chakvetadze takes the place of Bekkhan OZDOEV (RUS) at 87kg, and Komarov, takes over for Imil SHARAFETDINOV (RUS) at 82kg. 

With the additions of Vlasov, Chakvetadze, and Komarov, Russia’s lineup now features five returning world champions, two Olympic champions, a four-time age-group world champion, and a U23 world runner-up. The only wrestler without a world medal is Abuiazid MANTSIGOV, who fell in the 2018 bronze-medal bout at the 2018 World Championships. 

Russia’s Greco-Roman Lineup 
55kg - Vitalii KABALOEV - U23 world silver 
60kg - Sergey EMELIN - world champion
63kg - Stepan MARYANYAN - world champion
67kg - Artem SURKOV - world champion
72kg - Abuiazid MANTSIGOV
77kg - Roman VLASOV – two-time Olympic champion
82kg - Aleksandr KOMAROV – four-time world champion 
87kg - Davit CHAKVETADZE – Olympic champion 
97kg - Musa EVLOEV - world champion
130kg - Sergey SEMENOV – world champion 

3. Turkey Elects to go with Gor over Demirtas at 74kg 
Turkey elected to insert Yakup GOR into the European Championships at 74kg over three-time defending European champion Soener DEMIRTAS.

Gor, the two-time world bronze medalist, moved up to 74kg after finishing the 2017 Paris World Championships with a 70kg bronze medal but lost his starting spot to Demirtas in 2018. 

Gor comes into the European Championships ranked No. 6 in the world at 74. He has 28 Ranking Series points after his falling to defending world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) in the Ivan Yariguin finals, and a bronze-medal finish at the Dan Kolov. 

4. Poland Gives Zasina Nod Over Krawczyk at 53kg 
Poland made the difficult decision to roll with reigning 55kg European runner-up Roksana ZASINA (POL) over the world’s sixth-ranked 53kg wrestler, Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL). 

Zasina, the No. 16 ranked wrestler in the world and 2017 world bronze medalist, is dropping down from 55kg and takes the 53kg European spot from Krawczyk, who was a fifth-place finisher in Budapest and bronze medalist at the 2018 European Championships. 

The European Championships will be Zasina’s first appearance down at 53kg since her world podium run in Paris in 2017, where she finished with a bronze medal. 

5. World Champion Manukyan Moving up to 87kg 
Defending 82kg European champion Maksim MANUKYAN (ARM) will move up to 87kg for the European Championships. 

Manukyan, the 2017 80kg world champion, has bounced around over the past twelve months from 82kg to 87kg but has never competed above 82kg at a Continental or World Championships. Last season, Manukyan competed at 82kg in both Kasipiisk and Budapest. 

For Manukyan to win his second consecutive European title, he’ll have to upend reigning 87kg European champion, Roberti KOBLIASHVILI (GEO). 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. #WrestleBucharest European C'ships, One Week To Go!
2. #OnThisDayHaji ALIYEV (AZE), the reigning 61kg world champion gave Azerbaijan their second straight gold medal of the night with a last-second takedown to defeat reigning 65kg European champion, Ilias BEKBULATOV (RUS), 8-7. 
#WrestleBucharest , 6 Days To Go ! 
3. Reigning 77kg European champion, @vlasovroma90. Does he repeat next week at the #WrestleBucharestEuropean Championships?
4. 300k!! A huge thank you to all our wrestling fans across the world 🗺 🤼‍♂️
5. Big Move Monday -- ALACA (TUR) -- 2018 Cadet Worlds

View this post on Instagram

Big Move Monday -- ALACA (TUR) -- 2018 Cadet Worlds

A post shared by Olympic Wrestling (@unitedworldwrestling) on

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! September 3, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Iran's new freestyle line up and Retherford downing Diakomihalis to claim USA's 65kg world team spot. Also looking at the most wide-open weight at the World Championships and when rosters are scheduled to be released. 

1. Iran’s New-Look Lineup 
Iran finalized their freestyle roster over the weekend and made two major unexpected updates to the top half of their lineup. 

Reza YAZADANI (IRI) and Parviz HADI (IRI) were entered at 97kg and 125kg respectively, but both suffered injuries during their final training cycle and will no longer compete in Kazakhstan. 

Yazdani, the two-time world champion, will be replaced by Ali Khalil SHABANIBENGAR (IRI) at 97kg. Shabanibengar was a runner-up at the Yasar Dogu, where he lost to Kyle SNYDER (USA) in the finals. 

Yadollah MOHEBI (IRI) will replace returning world bronze medalist Parviz Hadi at 125kg. This season, Mohebi won the Takhti Cup and Asian Championships and also finished in fifth place at the Yasar Dogu. 

Iran’s Freestyle Lineup 
61kg - Behnam Eshagh EHSANPOOR
65kg - Amirmohammad Babak YAZDANICHERATI
70kg - Yones Aliakbar EMAMICHOGHAEI
74kg - Reza Alireza AFZALIPAEMAMI
79kg - Bahman Mohammad TEYMOURI
86kg - Hassan Aliazam YAZDANICHARATI
92kg - Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI
97kg - Ali Khalil SHABANIBENGAR
125kg - Yadollah MOHEBI

2. Retherford Takes Down Diakomihalis, to Represent USA at 65kg 
Zain RETHERFORD (USA) downed Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA), 2-1, and will represent the United States of America at 65kg at the 2019 World Championships. 

Retherford won the first Final X series a few months ago, but after an arbitrator negated the result from the second match, Retherford had the 1-0 series lead coming into Monday’s match. Retherford only needed to win one match to punch his ticket, while Diakomihalis needed to win two straight matches.

In their Monday matchup, all the action came in the first period. Retherford trailed 1-0 after a failed challenge but capitalized on a counter-offensive crotch lift and took the 2-1 lead into the second period. 

A scoreless final three minutes gave Retherford the victory he needed to punch his ticket to the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 

This'll be his second trip to the World Championships. He also represented the United States at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, where he finished in 11th place. 

USA’s Freestyle World Team: 
57kg - Daton FIX 
61kg - Tyler GRAFF
65kg - Zain RETHERFORD
70kg - James GREEN 
74kg - Jordan BURROUGHS 
79kg - Kyle DAKE 
86kg - Pat DOWNEY 
92kg - J'den COX 
97kg - Kyle SNYDER 
125kg - Nick GWIAZDOWSKI

Takuto OTOGURO (JPN) returns to the World Championships with hopes of defending his 65kg title from a year ago. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne)

3. The Most Wide-Open Weight: 65kg 
The most wide-open weight class for the World Championships is going to 65kg. There are three of the four returning world medalists who are currently entered, and an Olympic gold medalist and a three-time world champion.

The returning medalists, who finished with gold through bronze respectively, were Takuto OTOGURO (JPN), Bajrang PUNIA (IND), and Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB). 

Although they failed to medal at last year's World Championships, two other wrestlers who have a shot at winning the 65kg world title are Haji ALIYEV (AZE) and Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO). 

Aliyev comes into the Nur-Sultan looking for his fourth world title since 2014. This season, the Azeri is undefeated and has won the European Championships and European Games. 

Khinchegashvili, the Rio Olympic champion, is another serious threat to win the world title at 65kg. He's coming off a European Games runner-up-finish where he fell to Aliyev in the gold-medal bout. 

Myles AMINE (SMR), a European Games bronze medalist, will be the first freestyle wrestler from San Marino to compete at the World Championships. He's entered at 86kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

4. World Lineup to be Released This Week
The deadline for teams to make updates to their world team entries ends tomorrow, September 4. After the deadline has passed, United World Wrestling will be releasing the entries through the week. Currently, the entry list is just shy of 1000 wrestlers from 100 different nations.

5. World Championships Countdown: 11 Days
The wait is almost over. We’re into the month of September, which means its officially World Championships month. The 2019 World Championships kick off on September 14 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 

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

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media
1. Big Move Monday -- Sadulaev A. (RUS) -- Senior Worlds 2015
2. #TBT Petriashvili Edges Akgul to Win First World Title
3. Follow The Beach Wrestling World Series Final This Week-end!!
4. Will @hasan_yazdani73 reclaim his crown? Let us know what you think!
5. Tickets for #WrestleNurSultan are On Sale!

View this post on Instagram

Big Move Monday -- Sadulaev A. (RUS) -- Senior Worlds 2015

A post shared by Olympic Wrestling (@unitedworldwrestling) on