Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! April 23, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the American's winning ten freestyle Pan-American golds, and the Asian and Oceania Championships. Also looking at Olympic champions Icho and Gatsalov making their returns after long layoffs. 

1. USA Freestyle Sweeps Pan-American Championships 
In what was the most dominant continental performance ever, the United States’ freestyle team swept the Pan-American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and won all ten gold medals. 

En route to their history-making performance, the United States went a perfect 34-0 and outscored their opponents 301-28. The USA finished with 250 points, which was 121 points ahead of second place Canada, who closed out the freestyle portion of the tournament with 129 points. 

Cuba (115 points), Puerto Rico (72 points), and Venezuela (68 points) rounded out the top five in freestyle. 

Meanwhile, the Stars and Stripes also claimed team titles in Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling.

In Greco-Roman, the USA inserted eight wrestlers into gold-medal bouts and won four gold medals. Cuba (135 points), Brazil (98 points), Venezuela (84 points), and Mexico (64 points), finished second through fifth respectively.

In women’s wrestling, the Red, White, and Blue medaled in nine of ten weights, including reaching the top of the podium in five weight classes. The USA finished with 200 points. The other top-five team finishers respectively were Canada (167 points), Ecuador (89 points), Brazil (89 points), and Cuba (86 points). 

Click here for full Pan-American Results

2. Asian Championships Kicked off Today in Xi’an, China 
The Asian Championships kicked off today at Xi’an's Electronic Science and Technology University Gymnasium and will last through Sunday (March 28). 

The first five freestyle weights were settled today, and it was a trio of Iranian wrestlers who grabbed titles on the opening day, with the 65kg and 70kg gold medals going to India’s Bajrang PUNIA (IND) and Kazakhstan’s Nurkozha KAIPANOV respectively. 

The three Iranian champions who gave their country the lead heading into the final day of freestyle wrestling were Reza Ahmadali ATRINAGHARCHI (57kg), Bahman Mohammad TEYMOURI (79kg), and Reza Mohammad Ali YAZDANI (97kg). 

Women’s wrestling, which returns two champions, one silver, and seven returning bronze medalists, begins on Thursday. Greco-Roman, which features one returning finalist and five bronze medalists, begins on Saturday and will close out the 2019 Asian Championships. 

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

SCHEDULE
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 / Award ceremonies

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 / 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 

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 

Olympic champion Khadshimourad GATSALOV (ARM) will transfer from Russia to Armenia with the hope of competing at the 2019 World Championships. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

3. Olympic Champion Gatsalov Seeking Transfer From Russia to Armenia 
Khadshimourad GATSALOV, the five-time world and Athens Olympic champion, is expected to return to the mat for the first time since 2016. But, it won’t for the Russian Federation where he conquered the world and Olympic stage a combined six times, and will instead be for Armenia. 

Within the last few weeks, Gatsalov began the transfer process and has aspirations of competing in an Armenian singlet at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, which take place in mid-September. 

According to sources close to the Armenian Wrestling Federation, Gatasalov was originally notified that “the transfer would not be approved until after October or November." But Armenia is "trying to manage that the transfer be approved before September for the World Championships.” 

If Gatsalov’s transfer does get approved before September, he’ll compete for Armenia at 97kg. This means that 97kg at the World Championships will house Olympic champions Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS), Kyle SNYDER (USA), and now, Khadshimourad Gatsalov.

Here's Gatasalov's Instagram page. 

Japan's four-time Olympic champion Kaori ICHO returns to the mat on Friday after a 32-month layoff (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

4. Four-Time Olympic Champion Icho to Wrestle Friday 
The most decorated women’s wrestler ever, Kaori ICHO, is set to make her international return for the first time in 32 months. In her last international outing, Icho became the first woman to reach the top of the podium at the Olympic Games four consecutive times. 

The 34-year-old will compete on Friday at 57kg at the 2019 Asian Championships.  

For Icho to win her sixth Asian title, she’ll have to fight through one of the deepest weight classes of the tournament. The favorite to win the 57kg is China’s reigning world champion RONG Ningning (CHN), who is the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the world at this weight. 

Those two will have formidable company in the form of Budapest 2018 world bronze medalist Pooja DHANDA (IND), the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov winner at 59kg; Tserenchimed SUKHEE (MGL), the world U23 bronze medalist and Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix winner; and JONG Myong-Suk (PRK), the Asian Games champion and a world bronze medalist at 55kg.

5. Oceania Championships Wrap up in Yona, Guam 
The Oceania Championships wrapped up in Yona, Guam, and the Federated States of Micronesia won the freestyle and Greco-Roman team titles. 

In freestyle, the Federated States of Micronesia had champions at 57kg and 92kg, while also welcoming medalists in four other weight classes. The Federated States of Micronesia (127 points) completed the continental championship run seven points ahead of second place Guam (120 points). American Samoa and Palau tied for third place with 80 points, while French Polynesia, who had 65 points, rounded out the top five in the team race. 

In Greco-Roman, the Federated States of Micronesia (100 points) medaled in five of the nine contested weights, including winning the 63kg gold medal. Their other points came from second-place finishes at the 67kg, 77kg, and 82kg, while also winning the bronze medal at 97kg. 

Palau (90 points) and American Samoa (80 points) rounded out the top three in the team race. 

Click here for full Oceania Championship results

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Senior Asian C'ships From the 25th to the 28th Of April.
2. Selection of early action from the #wrestlebuenosaires w/lots of action!
3. Bajrang (IND) comes out on top after being down on points to take gold at the 2019 Asian Championships in Xi'an 🇮🇳
4. Slick wrestling from Kaipanov KAZ in the 1/4 finals. 
5. Big Move from Day 4 of #wrestlebuenosaires! 🤭

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! July 16, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the four No. 1 seeds that changed hands at the Yasar Dogu, Japan's wrestle-offs, and Wiebe's hot streak. Also looking at results from the Junior Asian Championships and next week's Oleg Karavaev. 

1. Four No. 1 Seeds Change Hands After Yasar Dogu 
Four No.1 seeds changed hands after the final Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu, that wrapped up last weekend in Istanbul, Turkey.

Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) and Kyle SNYDER (USA) gained the top spots in freestyle at 74kg and 97kg, respectively, while the Turkish one-two punch of Buse TOSUN (TUR) and Yasemin ADAR (TUR) now control the top seed at 72kg and 76kg, respectively. 

Frank Chamizo, a two-time world champion, came into the Yasar Dogu four points behind reigning world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) but passed the Russian with a runner-up finish in Istanbul. His potential semifinal opponent will be Budapest world runner-up Avtandil KENTCHADZE, who is ranked fourth at 74kg. 

Kyle Snyder sat two points behind rival Abdulrashid SADUALEV (RUS), but grabbed a gold medal last weekend in Turkey and slid ahead of “The Russian Tank” for the top spot at 97kg. 

Buse Tosun was nine points behind reigning world champion Justina DI STASIO (CAN), but collected 14 Ranking Series points, and will be the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the world at 72kg. 

Yasemin Adar leaped last year’s world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) for the top spot at 76kg after finished in third place at the Yasar Dogu. Adar will take on Rio Olympic champion and fourth-seeded Erica WIEBE (CAN) in the semifinals if both wrestlers remain undefeated until that point in Nur-Sultan.  Erica WIEBE (CAN) defeated world champion Yasemin ADAR (TUR) en route to her Yasar Dogu title. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

2. Wiebe Upends World or Olympic Champion at Third Consecutive Tournament
Canada’s Olympic champion Erica Wiebe defeated 2017 world champion Yasemin Adar and extended her streak to three consecutive tournaments where she’s defeated a world or Olympic champion. Wiebe, the Rio Olympic champion, “upset” now-top-ranked Yasemin Adar, 6-2 in the Yasar Dogu quarterfinals and kept her winning streak over a world or Olympic champion alive.

In the Sassari City Tournament, Wiebe stuck Olympic champion Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) in the opening period, then followed that up with a victory over reigning world champion Justina Di Stasio to win the Canada Cup title three weeks ago.

After her quarterfinals win against Adar at this Yasar Dogu, Wiebe defeated No. 2-ranked Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER) before closing out the gold-medal bout with a 2-1 victory over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). 

The Canadian earned the fourth seed at the World Championships and could meet Yasemin Adar again in the semifinals if the seeds hold true in Nur-Sultan. 

Haruna OKUNO (JPN) will wrestle in a special wrestle-off at 55kg. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

3. Okuno, Ota Enter Japan World Team Playoffs in Non-Olympic Weights
World champion Haruna OKUNO and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shinobu OTA, who missed out on places on Japan's team to this year's World Championships in Olympic weight classes, have entered the playoffs for spots in non-Olympic divisions, the Japan Wrestling Federation announced on its website.

Okuno, the world champion last year in Budapest at 53kg, will move up to 55kg---the same weight class she won a world gold at Paris 2017. Okuno was defeated in the Japan team qualifying at 53kg by Mayu Mukaida, the world champion at 55kg who dropped down to the Olympic weight.

Likewise, Asian champion Ota failed to displace 2017 world champion Kenichiro FUMITA at Greco-Roman 60kg, and will now try to make the team at 63kg in the non-Olympic weight playoffs, to be held July 21 at the National Training Center in Tokyo.

Click HERE to see Ken Marantz' full breakdown. 

Amir Hossein Abbas ZARE (IRI) was one of six Iranian freestyle wrestlers who reached the top of the podium at the Junior Asian Championships in Chon Buri, Thailand. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

4. Junior Asian Championships Closeout in Chon Buri 
The Junior Asian Championships closed out in Chon Buri, Thailand, and the three-team titles went to Iran in freestyle and Greco-Roman, and Japan in women’s wrestling. 

In freestyle, for the second straight day, Iran won three gold medals, bringing the gold medal haul to six over the two-day freestyle competition. Iran finished with 201 points, 55 points ahead of runner-up Japan. India finished third in the team standings with 129 points.

Iran capped off a dominant performance in Greco-Roman by claiming four more gold medals, bringing their total gold-medal haul in Greco-Roman to seven over two days. 

Iran finished the Greco-Roman competition with 218 points, which was enough to win the team title by 72 points over runner-up Kazakhstan. India finished third in the team standings, one point behind Kazakhstan.

Japan finished the women’s wrestling competition with 200 points and earned medals in all ten weight categories. The medal haul included four gold medals, two silver medals, and four bronze medals. China finished second in the team standings with 157 points, while India was third with 123 points.

Belarus' returning world bronze medalist Viktar SASUNOUSKI will be looking for his third Oleg Karavaev title. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

5. Oleg Karavaev Begins Next Friday
The regular season closes out next week with the final Greco-Roman Ranking Series event, the Oleg Karavaev. The two-day tournament, which will be held in Minsk, Belarus, begins on July 26 and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org

Though they are not official until 24 hours before the tournament begins, the entries for the Oleg Karavaev currently feature nearly 175 wrestlers from 19 different nations. Those entries are scheduled to be released later this week.