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.

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! December 10, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing the three Olympic champions who had winning weekends and Chamizo announcing that he'll compete at January's Matteo Pellicone in Rome. Also looking next week's All Japan Championships and U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier. 

1. Wiebe Outduels Di Stasio in Battle of Olympic vs. World Champion 
Erica WIEBE outdueled Justina DI STASIO in two straight matches at the Canadian Wrestling Trials, as two other Olympians cemented their spots on Canada’s Pan-American Qualifier team.

Wiebe, the 2016 Rio Olympic champion, scored back-to-back victories over 2018 world champion Justina Di Stasio in a best-of-three series and punched her ticket to the Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier. The Olympic Qualifier is set to take place in her hometown of Ottawa on March 13-15. In her post-match interview, the Rio Olympic champion said, “It’s going to be different. I’ve never wrestled in my hometown of Ottawa, and a lot is on the line, and I’ll just do a lot of what I do every day – that is get one percent better.” 

In the first match, Wiebe scored an inactivity point and held the 1-0 advantage, but Di Stasio scored a takedown and grabbed the 2-1 lead. Wiebe responded in a champion way, scoring four unanswered points and took match one, 5-2. Then, in the second match, Weibe grabbed a pair of one-point exchanges and locked up her spot on Canada’s Pan-American Qualifier team with the 2-0 victory. 

Michelle FAZZARI and Danielle LAPPAGE, who represented Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, also punched their ticket to the Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier in Ottawa. 

Fazzari, who was returning from a horrific knee injury she suffered while wrestling Adeniyi OLUWAFUNMILAYO (NGR) in the 2018 Commonwealth Games finals, downed Jessica BROUILLETTE in two straight matches. She scored the 3-0 shutout win in the first match, then edged Brouillette, 3-2, in the second match. 

Lappage, the 2018 world runner-up, dropped her first match against three-time Pan-American medalist Olivia DI BACCO, but earned her spot to the Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier after winning back-to-back matches. She won the second match, 9-0, and the third match, 4-2. 

Meanwhile, Linda MORAIS, the 59kg world champion, dropped down to the Olympic weight of 57kg and easily punched her ticket to Ottawa with a pair of falls over Hannah TAYLOR. 

RESULTS
Women’s Wrestling
50kg - Jessie MACDONALD df. Madison PARKS, two matches to none (7-2, 12-1)
53kg - Samantha STEWART df. Jade PARSONS, two matches to none (11-0, 2-2)
57kg - Linda MORAIS df. Hannah TAYLOR, two matches to none (via fall, via fall)
 62kg - Michelle FAZZARI df. Jessica BROUILLETTE, two matches to none (3-0, 3-2) 
68kg - Danielle LAPPAGE df. Olivia DI BACCO, two matches to one (5-8, 9-0, 4-2) 
76kg - Erica WIEBE df. Justina DI STASIO, two matches to none (5-2, 2-1)
 

Freestyle 
57kg - Ligrit SADIUKU df. Aso PALANI, two matches to one (3-4, 12-2, 4-1)
65kg - Dillon WILLIAMS df. Chris MCISAAC, two matches to none (5-2, 5-1)
74kg - Jasmit PHULKA df. Tyler ROWE, two matches to none (6-2, 6-5)
86kg - Clayton PYE df. Alex BROWN-THERIAULT, two matches to one (15-4, 2-9, 13-2)
97kg - Jordan STEEN df. Nishan RANDHAWA, two matches to none (13-2, 12-2)
125kg - Amar DHESI df. Korey JARVIS, two matches to none (11-0, 10-0)

2. Olympic Champs Ramonov and Snyder Win Alans International Tournament
Olympic champions Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) and Kyle SNYDER (USA) finished atop the podium at the Alans International Tournament in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as nine Russians claimed gold medals.

Ramonov, who has been wrestling at 70kg since 2017, returned to 65kg for the first time since his magical run to Olympic gold in Rio, and defeated Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS), 3-0, in the finals at 65kg. 

The Alans was Ramonov’s third tournament back since undergoing back surgery over a year ago. The Olympic champion finished in second place at the Akhmed Kadyrov Cup and third place at the Vladimir Semenov Tournament. 

Last November, Ramonov told United World Wrestling, “It’s true that I had an operation on my back last week, but I’ve already got back to work and started physical therapy.” Ramonov went on to say, “I expect to return to the mat in January, and hopefully enter a tournament at 65kg closer to the fall.” 

America’s Kyle Snyder was the second Olympic champion who won an Alans gold medal. To win his gold, “Captain America” used a takedown and three one-point maneuvers to move past 2018 European champion Vladislav BAITSAEV (RUS), 5-2, in the 97kg finals.

Meanwhile, Ahmed IDRISOV (RUS) and Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) were also apart of Russia’s gold-medal winning cast. 

Idrisov, the younger brother of reigning world silver medalist Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS), scored a three-point win (5-2) over the two-time world bronze medalist ERDENEBAT Behbayar (MGL) in the 57kg finals.

Tsabolov, the 2014 world champion, defeated two-time world medalist James GREEN (USA), 7-4, in the 74kg finals. Up until the Alans, Tsabolov's finals opponent had competed down at 70kg for 20 consecutive tournaments and was making his first career appearance up at the Olympic weight class of 74kg.

In the finals, the Russian gave up an early takedown and trailed 2-0, but scored an inactivity point that was followed by a takedown and a pair of laces to win the match by three points. 

Freestyle
57kg - Ahmed IDRISOV (RUS) df. ERDENEBAT Behbayar (MGL), 5-2
61kg - Ramazan FERZALIEV (RUS) df. Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS), 10-7
65kg - Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) df. Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS), 3-0
70kg - Chermen VALIEV (RUS) df. Ramazan RAMAZANOV (RUS), 4-2
74kg - Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) df. James GREEN (USA), 7-4
79kg - Khalil AMINOV (RUS) df. Kakhaber KHUBEZHTY (RUS), 8-6
86kg - Soslan KTSOEV (RUS) df. Georgy RUBAEV (MDA), 11-1
92kg - Magomed KURBANOV (RUS) df. Mohammad EBRAHIMI (IRI), 4-2
97kg - Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Vladislav BAITSAEV (RUS), 5-2
125kg - Batraz GAZZAYEV (RUS) df. Baldan TSYZHIPOV (RUS), 10-0

Yui SUSAKI (JPN) will try to get back on Japan's women's wrestling team by winning next weekend's All Japan Championships. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

3. All Japan Championships Begin Next Week in Tokyo 
Yui SUSAKI will join Rio Olympic silver medalists Shinobu OTA and Rei HIGUCHI next week on their quest to claim All Japan Championship gold and lock up their spots on Japan’s Asian Olympic Games Qualifier team. 

The winners of the All Japan Championships, which will take place at Tokyo’s Komazawa Gymnasium on December 19-22, and will travel to China in March with hopes of doing what their fellow Japanese teammates couldn’t do at the 2019 World Championships -- qualify their respective weight for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Susaki, a two-time world champion, will be joined by career rival Yuki IRIE and Rio Olympic champion Erie TOSAKA in the 50kg bracket. Earlier this year, Susaki was stunned by Irie, which kept her from defending her world titles from 2017 and ’18. 

Meanwhile, Rio Olympic runner-ups Ota and Higuchi will be moving weight classes in preparations to improve their silver medals from 2016. 

Ota, this year’s 63kg world champion, will be moving up to 67kg. He planned on dropping down to 60kg, but Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) not only won the world title, but he also locked up his seat on Japan’s Olympic team at the weight. So that left Ota with no choice but to go up to 67kg.

Next weekend, Ota will challenge defending national champion Shogo TAKAHASHI, defending national runner-up Tsuchika SHIMOYAMADA and last year’s U23 world champion Katsuaki ENDO, for the 67kg spot.

Rei HIGUCHI, who is dropping down to 57kg from 65kg, will have to get through Yuki TAKAHASHI if he has hopes of representing Japan in a second straight Olympics. The task won't be easy, as Takahashi has been one of the best wresters at the weight over the past three years. Higuchi's potential opponent was the world champion in 2017 and world bronze medalist in 2018. But after a disappointing 10th-place finish in Nur-Sultan, Takahashi left the door open for others to challenge, which is why Higuchi is making the change. 

For more information about the All Japan Championships, visit http://www.japan-wrestling.org.

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Talks Tokyo, Burroughs, Sidakov and injury recovery.

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4. Chamizo Announces Plans to Compete at January’s Matteo Pellicone
In an interview with United World Wrestling, Italian superstar Frank CHAMIZO announced that he’ll wrestle at the first Ranking Series event of 2020, the Matteo Pellicone. “I’m going to Rome for the Ranking Series tournament. Right now, I’m training for there in New York,” said the two-time world champion. Chamizo went further, saying, “It will be good. It’s home!”

Chamizo has been one of the biggest supporters of UWW’s Ranking Series events. After winning a gold medal at the third Ranking Series tournament of the year, the Sassari City Tournament, Chamizo said, “I need the training and I need the matches. But the reason for competing so much is I need the Ranking Series points. That’s important.”

Chamizo has competed in four of the eight Ranking Series events since its inception in 2018 and has medaled in each of those four appearances. This year, Chamizo used the Ranking Series events to climb to the top of the world ranking, and ultimately the No. 1 seed at the World Championships, after collecting points at the European Championships, Dan Kolov, Sassari City Tournament and Yasar Dogu.   

With the Olympics seeding the top-four wrestlers at each weight for the first time ever, you can bet that Chamizo will again have his eye on the top seed, and his quest to grab that top seed kicks off at the Matteo Pellicone, which takes place January 15-18. 

Chamizo’s Ranking Series Resume
2018 
Yasar Dogu – gold 

2019 
Sassari – gold 
Yasar Dogu – silver 

Dan Kolov – bronze 

5. Fort Worth to Host U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier Next Week
The road to State College, Pennsylvania, for the Olympic Trials made its first stop in New York for the Bill Farrell Memorial and will make its second stop next weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, for the U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier. The Fort Worth Convention Center will host the two-day tournament from December 20-22.

According to USA Wrestling, “The Senior Freestyle top-5 finishers per weight category at the 2019 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier will earn a spot in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials,” which will take place in State College, Pennsylvania, on April 4-5.

Our friends at www.flowrestling.org have the streaming rights to the U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier. Wrestling kicks off at 11:00 (local time) on December 20. 

Selection Process for 2020 Toyko Olympic Games

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- El Sayed M. (EGY)
2. Top-10 Throws from 2019
3. Top-Five Scrambles from 2019
4. Who scored on this exchange?
5. #TBT - Semenov Smashes Coon, Giving Russia Sixth GR World Gold

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— #uww #unitedworldwrestling

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