Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! July 2, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing special wrestle-offs for Russia, Canada, and Japan. Also looking at the European Games and the Yasar Dogu entries. 

1. Russian National Championships Begin This Week 
The Ice Palace Sports Arena in Adler, Krasnodar, Russia, will host the National Championships for the defending freestyle world champions July 4-7. But, only four wrestlers will lock up their spot on the world team spot. The other winners will have to wait until early August to hopefully book their trip to Kazakhstan. 

The reason being, and as I mentioned late last week on Twitter, with a slight adjustment, the Russian Federation released European Games champions: Abdulrashid SADULAEV, Zaurbek SIDAKOV, Dauren KURUGLIEV, and Anzor KHIZRIEV, and bronze medalists Zaur UGUEV and Akhmed CHAKAEV from this week’s tournament. Russia will now hold a special wrestle-off at the Poland Open (Aug. 2-4) to determine the six remaining world team representatives. The special wrestle-offs were originally scheduled to take place at the Tbilisi GP but were moved after recent travel restrictions between Russia to Georgia.

SCHEDULE
July 4th (Thursday) 

17.00-17.30 - Draw for weight categories up to 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.

July 5th (Friday)
08.30-09.00 - Medical examination and weigh in for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.
11.00-18.00 - Preliminary matches for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg. 
18.00-18.30 – Draws for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125 kg.
18.30-20.30 - Semifinal for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.

July 6th (Saturday) 
08.30-08.45 - Weighing in for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.
08.45-09.15 - Medical examination and weigh in for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.
11.00-18.00 - Consolation matches for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.
11.00-18.00 - Preliminary and semifinal matches for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg. 
18.00-18.30 - Opening ceremony. 
18.30-20.30 - Finalsl for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.

July 7 (Sunday) 
08.30-08.45 - Weighing in for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.
11.00-13.00 - Consolation for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.
13.00-15.00 - Final matches for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.

2. Lappage Gains World Team Spot, Named Canada’s Rep at 68kg
Budapest world silver medalist Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) bumped up from her world championship weight of 65kg to the Olympic weight of 68kg and defeated Olivia DI BACCO (CAN), two matches to none (2-1 and 11-1) and gained the Canadian world team spot. 

With her win last week, Lappage will represent Canada on the world stage for the third time in her career. In her first trip to the World Championships (2014), she finished in eighth place, then rounded out last year with a world silver medal. In addition to her three times representing Canada at the World Championships, Dappage also represented Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games where she suffered an injury during warms up and was forced to medically forfeit out of her opening round match.

To top off her week, the newly minted 68kg world team rep also won a Canada Cup title. Lappage stomped Jayden LAURENT (USA), 10-0 and took home her first 68kg medal of the year after falling in the finals of the Sassari and the Grand Prix of Germany. 

3. Japan's Olympic-Weight World Team to be Finalized This Weekend
After the July 6 winner-take-all wrestle-offs, Japan will have their world team spots locked up at the Olympic weight classes. There are still three freestyle, two women’s wrestling and one Greco-Roman spot up for grabs, but all eyes will be locked into the three matches where a reigning world champion is one match away from defending their world gold. 

Starting with the 50kg match where two-time defending world champion Yui SUSAKI will meet her nemesis Yuki IRIE. 

Irie, the reigning Asian champion, is the only wrestler on Earth who has defeated Susaki multiple times. She gained the advantage over Susaki after winning December’s All-Japan Championships (Emperor’s Cup) - - a tournament in which Susaki was forced to sit out after she dislocated her elbow. 

Susaki then defeated Irie en route to her Meiji Cup gold and forced the July 6 wrestle-off. 

In the second highly anticipated match, Olympic champions Risako KAWAI and Kaori ICHO will meet for the world team spot at one of the deepest women’s weights in the world, 57kg. 

Rio Olympic champion Kawai fell to four-time Olympic champion Icho in the All-Japan finals but got revenge at the Meiji Cup and redeemed herself with a 6-4 victory. 

The third match featuring a returning world champion will take place at 65kg where Japan’s youngest male world champion in wrestling history Takuto OTOGURO will square off against Rio silver medalist Rei HIGUCHI.

Otoguro fell in his Meiji Cup final to Higuchi, 15-5, and will need to win on July 6 to regain his 65kg spot on the freestyle team.

4. Yasar Dogu Entries Released 
The most anticipated freestyle Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu, will take place July 11 to 14 in Istanbul, and more than 275 wrestlers from 21 countries are expected to make the journey to Turkey's most populated city. The goal remains simple: try to pocket the remaining Ranking Series points before heading to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, for September's World Championships. 

Since the Budapest World Championships, wrestlers have been stashing away Ranking Series points with hopes of becoming one of the forty top-four seeded wrestlers come September. The Yasar Dogu leaves those on the cusp of earning a top-four seed one last opportunity to gain those additional much-needed Ranking Series points. 

Heading into Istanbul, 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 in Istanbul. Though they're not all entered, there are still 150 wrestlers who could steal a seed from a current top-four seeded wrestler if they were to win a gold medal in a weight class with 20+ wrestlers in Turkey. 

Click HERE for full list of entries. 

5. Successful European Games Conclude in Minsk, Belarus 
The 2nd European Games wrapped up in Minsk, Belarus, with Russia winning the freestyle and Greco-Roman team titles, while Ukraine walked off with the women’s wrestling team title. 

In freestyle, Russia finished with six medalists, four of which were gold, and won the team title 20 points ahead of second-place Azerbaijan, and 52 points ahead of third place Georgia. The main storyline coming from the freestyle side of the competition was Abdulrashid Sadulaev becoming the first freestyle wrestler to win back-to-back European Games titles. 

In Greco-Roman, Russia won the team title, while 2016 Olympic champion Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) got back to his winning ways after failing to medal in Budapest. Aleksanyan lifted and tossed his way to his first European Games title at 97kg in Greco-Roman. The 27-year-old Armenian shut out local favorite Aliaksandr HRABOVIK (BLR) 5-0 in the gold-medal match.

In women’s wrestling, Ukraine finished in first place, 18 points ahead of the host nation Belarus, while two women made history by reaching the podium for a second consecutive time. 

Sweden’s Sofia MATTSSON and Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) became the first women two-time champions in the short history of the European Games. 

In the finals, Mattsson, a Rio Olympic bronze medalist, narrowly edged Yulia KHAVALDZHY (UKR), 6-6 after giving up a what seemed to be a match-deciding takedown. However, after a Swedish challenge, Mattsson luckily found herself on the winning end of the match and became the first-ever wrestler to win two European Games golds.  

Marzaliuk was the second women to win two straight European Games titles. Her finals match went a little different than Mattsson's, as she dominated Francy RAEDELT (GER), 9-0 in the 76kg finals.

Click HERE for the European Games event hub. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media! 

1. Big Move Monday -- N. NARMANDAKH (MGL) -- 2017 Cadet Worlds
2. #best10 from Day 4 at the U-15 European 
3. HERSTORY MADE! @sofiammattsson becomes the first-ever two-time European Games champion! 
4. Has Mahir AMIRASLANOV (AZE) been the most impressive wrestler of the European Games thus far?
5. Tickets for #WrestleNurSultan are on sale! Go to http://ow.ly/obUz50uM54Q to buy your tickets and come support the best wrestlers in the world. Are you in?

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 
57kg - Reza ATRINAGHARCHI
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!

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

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