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

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

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Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! June 19, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing the three Japanese reigning world champions who'll need a special wrestle-off to make it to the World Championships. Also looking at United States' Nur-Sultan freestyle world team and Amine being named San Marino's European Games flag-bearer

1. Japan’s Special Wrestle-Off Scheduled for July 6 
Japan’s Meiji Cup wrapped up last weekend in Tokyo, Japan, and three reigning world champions still need a win in a special wrestle-off on July 6 to lock up their spot for the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 

“The Meiji Cup serves as the second of the two national tournaments for selection to the World Championships, along with the All-Japan Championships (Emperor’s Cup) in December. Winners of both tournaments automatically made the world team; different winners means a playoff to decide who gets the berth.”

For the second year in a row, two-time world champion Yui SUSAKI will clash with her nemesis Yuki IRIE for a spot on Japan’s 50kg world team squad. 

Irie, the reigning Asian and Emperor’s Cup champion, is the only wrestler in the world to defeat Susaki multiple times, but it was Susaki who came out on top of their opening round match-up last weekend at the Meiji Cup. Susaki used a last-second four-point move to score the 6-2 win over Irie before knocking off Rio Olympic champion Erie TOSAKA en route to the Meiji Cup gold medal. 

Risako KAWAI and Kaori ICHO, who combine for five Olympic titles, will meet for Japan’s Nur-Sultan spot at 57kg. Kawai fell to Icho in the All-Japan finals but got revenge last weekend and redeemed herself with a 6-4 victory over the four-time Olympic champion. 

The youngest male world champion in Japanese wrestling history Takuto OTOGURO fell in his Meiji Cup final to Rio silver medalist Rei HIGUCHI, 15-5, and will need to win on July 6 to regain his 65kg spot on the freestyle team. 

Jordan BURROUGHS defeated Isiah MARTINEZ in three matches to head back to his ninth consecutive World Championship or Olympic Games. (Photo: Sam Janicki)

2. United States Freestyle Nur-Sultan World Team Set 
The second of two Final X’s finished last weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska, and hometown favorites Jordan BURROUGHS and James GREEN are headed back to the World Championships to represent the United States. For Burroughs, the defending 74kg bronze medalist, it’ll be his ninth consecutive appearance at the World Championships, and for Green, it’ll be his fifth straight time representing the United States. 

Burroughs was tested in his attempts in making another world team. He needed three matches to grab his spot from Isiah MARTINEZ. Burroughs scored a late takedown and stole the first match, 5-4. In the second match, Martinez edged Burroughs, 5-5. In match three, the London Olympic champion showed his experience, scoring the 7-1 victory and locked up his ninth consecutive spot on United States' world or Olympic team.  

Green’s impressive first match against Ryan DEAKIN came by scoring the 18-second 10-0 technical superiority victory, then closed out the series with a 4-3 win in the second match.

Meanwhile, Daton FIX and Tyler GRAFF defeated world medalists to make their first senior-level teams. Fix took the 57kg spot from 2017 world silver medalist Thomas GILMAN, and Tyler GRAFF grabbed the 61kg position from reigning world bronze medalist Joe COLON. 

Kyle SNYDER, the two-time world Olympic champion, also locked up his spot on USA's World Team after handling Kyven GADSON in two straight matches. 

57kg - Daton FIX df. Thomas GILMAN, two matches to one. (9-1, 2-3, 6-3) 
61kg: Tyler GRAFF df. Joe COLON, two matches to one. (4-6, 9-2, 12-2) 
70kg: James GREEN df. Ryan DEAKIN, two matches to none. (10-0, 4-3) 
74kg: Jordan BURROUGHS df. Isaiah MARTINEZ, two matches to one. (5-4, 5-5, 7-1) 
97kg: Kyle SNYDER df. Kyven GADSON, two matches to none. (4-0, 12-1) 

USA’s #WrestleNurSultan Freestyle Squad: 
57kg: Daton Fix 
61kg: Tyler Graff 
65kg: Zain Retherford 
70kg: James Green 
74kg: Jordan Burroughs 
79kg: Dake / Dieringer *Dake has requested a special wrestle-off.
86kg: Pat Downey 
92kg: J’den Cox 
97kg: Kyle Snyder 
125kg: Nick Gwiazdowski

Myles AMINE has been named San Marino's flag-bearer at the 2019 European Games. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

3. Amine Named San Marino’s European Games Flag-Bearer 
Myles AMINE received a call from an unfamiliar number a few weeks ago that he’ll never forget. Who was on the other line? It was a correspondent from the Olympic Committee. What did they want? They wanted to know if Amine, San Marino’s first-ever freestyle wrestler to win a match at the European Championships, was free on June 22nd to bear his nation’s flag during the opening ceremonies at the European Games in Minsk, Belarus. “It’s an incredible honor to represent my heritage and San Marino on such a big stage,” said Amine.

Amine, who was a top-ten finisher at the European Championships, where he only fell to eventual champion Vladislav VALIEV (RUS) and bronze medalist Ali SHABANAU (BLR), received the nod to carry San Marino’s flag over several other high-level athletes. “There were a few other athletes who were past Olympians, so to pass up those people and select me shows they have high expectations for me,” said Amine. 

As for the expectations Amine has for himself, he said, “I have the same expectations going into the Games as I do for every competition I compete in. That is to have fun, compete hard, and to win a gold medal.” He added, “I’m looking forward to this new experience as well as my future competing for San Marino.” 

Amine ended by saying, “My brother (Malik) and I are the first freestyle wrestlers (San Marino) has had, so I hope this helps grow the sport in San Marino.”

To follow their European Games journey, here are Myles Amine and Malik Amine's Instagram accounts.  

4. Yasar Dogu to Dictate Top-Four Seeds at World C’ships for Nearly Every Weight 
The Yasar Dogu, the final freestyle Ranking Series event of the year, is a less than a month away and will have huge implications on the top-four seeds for the 2019 World Championships. Of the current 40 top-four seeds, five wrestlers have seized the No. 1 seed, 17 wrestlers have cemented at least a top-four seed, leaving 23 seeds open for the taking. Wildly enough, there are still 150 non-seeded wrestlers that can steal a seed for September's World Championships.

Here is a full breakdown of who has an opportunity to steal a seed with a promising performance at the Yasar Dogu.

5. Cadet European Championships Underway in Faenza, Italy 
The Cadet European Championships are in full swing in Faenza, Italy and will go through Sunday. 

After the second day of wrestling, Azerbaijan, led by Malik ALIYEV (AZE) and Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE), won a pair of Day 2 gold medals and head into the final day of Greco-Roman wrestling trailing first-place Russia by 23 points. Armenia rounds out the top-three in the Greco-Roman team race after the second day of wrestling. Armenia and Azerbaijan both have 65 points, but the Azeris hold criteria because of their two champions.

The medal matches for the final day of Greco-Roman wrestling begin on Wednesday at 18:00 (local time) and can be watched live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org


Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- MOROZ L. (MDA) -- 2018 Cadet Europeans
2. Big Moves From Day 1 // Cadet European Championships #WrestleFaenza
3. Shots from the #WrestleFaenza Cadet European C'ships 
4. Big Moves from day 2 // Cadet European Championships #WrestleFaenza
5. Enjoying #wrestlefaenza? Check out this recap of #wrestleguatemalacity!