Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! July 9, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the Yasar Dogu and results from Russian Nationals. Also looking at Japan's wrestle-off results, Dake's return and Staebler's move down to 67kg. 

1. Yasar Dogu, Final Ranking Series Event, Begins Thursday 
The 47th Annual Yasar Dogu begins this week in Istanbul, Turkey. Brackets for the final freestyle and women’s wrestling Ranking Series event of the year will be released on Wednesday, with the four-day tournament kicking off on Thursday. 

The Yasar Dogu is the last opportunity wrestlers have to earn points towards their season total. The four wrestlers who have accumulated the most Ranking Series points after this weekend will be the top-four seeds at September’s World Championships, which take place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 

Though entries are not official until 24 hours before the competition starts, the early entries show four Olympic champions and three of the world’s top-ranked wrestlers who are set to compete. The four Olympic champions who were included in the early entry list were: Taha AKGUL (TUR), Jordan BURROUGHS (USA), Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) and Erica WIEBE (CAN), and the three No.1-ranked wrestles are J’den COX (USA), Faith ERDIN (TUR) and Bajrang PUNIA (IND). 

Here is the full list of freestyle and women's wrestling entries. 

As always, the tournament can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org

2. Kawai Topples Icho in Playoff for World Team; Otoguro In, Susaki Out
Risako KAWAI all but dealt a death blow to Kaori ICHO's quest for an epoch-making fifth straight Olympic gold medal. It's now in Kawai's hands to finish the job in two months.

For the second time in three weeks, Kawai toppled her fellow Olympic champion, scoring a 3-3 victory on big-point criteria to earn the women's 57kg berth on Japan's team to the World Championships in Kazakhstan in September.

"I really don't remember much about it, but I'm glad I won," Kawai said at a post-match press conference. "Over this past year, things happened around me that I had never imagined would occur. I had changed the environment around me, and in December, I thought about quitting wrestling and talked it over with my family. I'm glad that I didn't."

The showdown was one of six on a special day of playoffs for tickets to the World Championships in Olympic weight classes, which also saw Takuto OTOGURO earn a shot at keeping the freestyle 65kg crown he won a year ago, while Yui SUSAKI was denied a chance for a third straight women's 50kg world title.

The playoffs in Wako, Saitama Prefecture, about 20 kilometers north of Tokyo, paired the winners of the two national competitions that serve as qualifiers for the World Championships. In the 12 other Olympic divisions, one wrestler won both tourneys to clinch an automatic berth.

Click here to read Ken Marantz’ Full Article 

3. Russian Nationals Wrap up in Sochi, Special Wrestle-Off Set For Poland Open
The Russian National Championships wrapped up in Sochi, and the Russian Federation set a date for their special wrestle-offs to determine their freestyle world team. 

Last weekend, Dagestani wrestlers won six golds, while the four remaining titles were claimed by Ossetian wrestlers. The six wrestlers from Dagestan who won a Russian National title were: Ramiz GAMZATOV, Magomedrasul IDRIVSOV, Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV, Magomed KURBANALIEV, Haji NABIYEV and Alikhan JABRAILOV, and the four Ossetian gold medalists were: David BAYEV, Artur NAIFONOV, Vladislav BAITSAEV and Alan KHUGAEV.

Now, with the Russian National Championships in the rear-view mirror, the Russian Federation will hold special wrestle-offs between last weekend’s winners and the medalists from the European Games at the Poland Open, which takes place in Warsaw, Poland, on August 2-4. After the conclusion of the Poland Open, the Russian coaching staff will announce their Nur-Sultan world team representatives in mid-August. 

FINALS
57kg - Ramiz GAMZATOV df. Muslim SADULAEV, 9-4
61kg - Magomedrasul IDRIVSOV df.  Ramazan FERZALYEV, 6-4 
65kg - Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV df. Nachyn KUULAR, 5-2
70kg - David BAYEV df. Razambek ZHAMALOV, 10-10

74kg - Magomed KURBANALIEV df. Khetik TSABOLOV, 5-4
79kg - Haji NABIYEV df. Atsamaz SANAKOEV, via forfeit 
86kg - Artur NAIFONOV df. Vladislav VALIEV, 4-2
92kg - Alikhan JABRAILOV df. Magomed KURBANOV, 2-1
97kg - Vladislav BAITSAEV df. Igor OVSIANNIKOV, 3-0
125kg - Alan KHUGAEV df. Said HAMIDOV, 3-1

Wrestle-Off Match-ups 
57kg - Zaur UGUEV vs. Ramiz GAMZATOV
65kg - Akhmed CHAKAEV vs. Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV
74kg - Zaurbek SIDAKOV vs. Magomed KURBANALIEV
86kg - Dauren KURUGLIEV vs. Artur NAIFONOV
97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV vs. Vladislav BAITSAEV
125kg - ANZOR KHIZRIEV vs. Alan KHUGAEV

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Thanks to all who serve #USA 📸: @robbert_wijtman

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4. Kyle Dake Makes Return, Wins Spanish GP Gold
Kyle DAKE (USA) made his return last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix and went 5-0 en route to claiming the 79kg title. The reigning world champion has been out with an injury and hasn’t competed since winning his first world title last October in Budapest. 

Dake’s toughest match came in the opening round, where he scored the close 7-5 win over Dauletmurat ORAZGYLYOV (TKM), but after being out for nearly eight months, a little rust was to be expected. After his opening round match, Dake scored three consecutive technical superiority victories over Carlos GILABERT (ESP), Sarmat TSARAKHOV (RUS) and Max BUDGEY (CAN) before closing the tournament out with a 5-0 win over Batyr ORAZGYLYJOV (TKM) in the gold-medal bout. 

In other Dake news, USA Wrestling announced late last week that “Kid Dynomite” will wrestle-off Alex DIERINGER (USA) on August 17 in Austin, Texas, for the 79kg world team spot. The best-of-three series will be broadcasted live on www.flowrestling.org.  

RESULTS
‪Round 1: df. Dauletmurat ORAZGYLYOV (TKM), 7-5
‪Round 2: df. Carlos GILABERT (ESP), 10-0 
‪QUARTERFINAL: df. Sarmat TSARAKHOV (RUS), 12-0
‪SEMIFINAL: df. Max BUDGEY (CAN), 12-2 
‪FINAL: df. Batyr ORAZGYLYJOV (TKM), 5-0 

5. Staebler Eyeing German Grand Prix as First Test Down at 67kg
Germany’s three-time world champion Frank STAEBLER informed United World Wrestling that he'd be dropping down to 67kg in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and is eyeing August’s German Grand Prix for his return.

The German Grand Prix will be the first time since Staebler has competed down at 67kg (previously 66kg) since taking seventh place at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He'll be looking to win his fourth career German GP title, but first since 2016. He didn’t compete in the tournament in 2017 but fell to Toni OJALA (FIN) in last year’s finals. 

The German Grand Prix will take place in Dortmund, Germany, on August 3-4. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- Nouri Khorje F. (IRI) -- U23 Asians 2019
2. Who is your favorite wrestler at the Yasar Dogu 2019?
3. Who is your favorite woman wrestler at the Yasar Dogu 2019?
4. Per @vinaysiwach@bajrangpunia60, the No.1-ranked wrestler in the world at 65kg, will wrestle at 70kg at the #YasarDogu.
5. Big Moves From Day 1 // Junior Asian Championships Chon_Buri2019

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! August 20, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Japan's eight gold-medal performance at Junior Worlds and Kamal claiming his third consecutive junior world title. Also looking at Russia's final wrestle-offs, Dake downing Dieringer, and counting down until the first whistle at the World Championships. 

1. Japanese Women Win Eight of Ten World Golds 
Japan’s women’s wrestling team went eight-for-eight in world title bouts -- claiming an unheard-of eight of ten gold medals at the 2019 Junior World Championships last week in Tallinn, Estonia. They also added on a pair of bronze medals and brought their tournament grand total medal count to ten on their way to doubling Russia’s second place team score. Japan finished the tournament with 230 points, while the Russian Federation, who finished in second place, had 115 points. Ukraine (91 points) rounded out the top three 139 points behind the Japanese women. 

The team champions were led by the pair of two-time senior-level world champions Yui SUSAKI (50kg) and Haruno OKUNO (53kg). 

Susaki claimed back-to-back junior world titles after seizing a 10-0 victory over 2016 cadet world silver medalist Daria KHVOSTOVA (RUS) in the 50kg finals.

With her win last week, Susaki brought her grand total to seven overall world gold medals since appearing at her first World Championships in 2014. When asked where this world title stacks up on her list, Susaki said, “My final goal is an Olympic gold medal. I will do my best and I will try to practice towards my final goal.” 

Susaki pushed her total world championship record to 31-0 -- with 29 of those wins being shutout victories. Perhaps a more impressive stat is Susaki has now outscored her 31 world championship opponents 290-6 en route to reaching the top of the podium.

She believes the reason she’s so successful is because her strength and mind. She said, “The reason why I get the championships is my own strength and mind.” 

Haruno OKUNO was one of Japan's eight wrestlers who won a junior world title. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Japan’s second two-time senior world champ to win junior world gold last week was Haruno Okuno, who won the 53kg title. 

Okuno said she keeps all of her world title belts at her parent’s ’house. Well, their house gained an additional world championship belt after their daughter claimed her fifth world title in as many tries. The reigning two-time senior-level world champion added her first junior world title to her list of accomplishments after expelling Anudari NANDINTSETSEG (MGL), 7-2 in the 53kg gold-medal bout. 

By watching Okuno’s four matches, where she outscored her opponents 35-2, you would have never been able to tell that she was facing extreme neck pain on her right side. After her finals match, she talked about having to work on her counter offensive attacks because of her pain, saying “Now I feel neck pain, so I didn’t try to (tackle). In this tournament, the counterattack was very nice for me.” 

In her finals match, the always calm and stoic Okuno shot a low-level attack and picked up the early two-point lead. Her counter offense came into play when she stopped a Nandintsetseg attack and used a fluid arm-drag to a head outside single leg to pick up four points – improving her lead to 6-0. She then surrendered her first points of the tournament, an inactivity point and a stepout, but was awarded a brutality point after her Mongolian opponent was warned several times for hands-to-the-face. Okuno closed out her run to her first junior world title with a 7-2 victory. 

When asked if there’s a difference between a junior world title and a senior world title, Okuno said, “There isn’t difference between junior and senior because it means the same. It a world championship.  I’m always feeling very happy to (wrestle) against the world’s wrestlers.” 

Japanese Medal Winners: 
50kg - Yui SUSAKI (GOLD)
53kg - Haruna OKUNO (GOLD) 
55kg - Saki IGARASHI (BRONZE) 
57kg - Akie HANAI (GOLD)
59kg - Sae NANJO (GOLD)
62kg - Yuzuka INAGAKI (GOLD)
65kg - Miwa MORIKAWA (GOLD) 
69kg - Naruha MATSUYUKI (GOLD)
72kg - Yuka KAGAMI (GOLD)
76kg - Yasuha MATSUYUKI (BRONZE)

2. Kamal Wins Third Straight Junior World Title
Kerem KAMAL (TUR) will represent Turkey in Nur-Sultan in mid-September at the World Championships, but first, he made the journey to Estonia and claimed his third straight junior world title. 

Kamal held up three fingers to the crowd, signaling his possession of a third consecutive junior world title after he defeated Sahak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM), 7-2 in the 60kg gold-medal bout. “I’m very happy to win the third gold medal in the junior category. I was before in the cadet finals three times and I lost,” said Kamal.  

In his gold-medal bout, the Turkish wrestler trailed after the first period, but he expected to be in that position. “The match plan was (to be) safe in the first (period)…Safety first.” The second period was pivotal for Kamal in picking up his third world. After playing it safe in the first period, Kamal said, “In the second period, I go full power.” That’s exactly what he did. In the final three minutes, Kamal got to work quickly, smothering Hovhannisyan with a right-side gut wrench follow by a four-point lift from the right side and commanded the 7-1 lead. He conceded a second-period point but ended up carrying the Turkish flag around the mat at a World Championships for the third consecutive year with a 7-2 victory. 

Kamal’s attention now shifts towards the Senior World Championships, where he’ll be Turkey’s 60kg world team representative. The new minted three-time junior world champ begins his quest to win a senior world gold on September 16. 

3. Russia’s Freestyle World Team Set 
The final wrestle-offs for Russia’s freestyle team took place last weekend, and a trio of world champions will be heading to Nur-Sultan looking to defend their world titles from last year’s Budapest World Championships. 

The three world champs who hadn’t locked up their spot until last weekend were Zaur UGUEV (57kg), Zaurbek SIDAKOV (74kg) and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (97kg).

At 57kg, defending world champion Zaur Uguev was excused from the Russian National Championships after a bronze-medal finish at the European Games. 

To make his third straight world team, Uguev had to take out Arian TYUTRIN ​​​​to earn his spot on the world team. There were questions surrounding Ugev’s health coming into the match, but he clearly showed he’s the best 57kg wrestler in the most dominant freestyle nation on earth with a 10-0 win in his wrestle-off. 

In the 74kg wrestle-offs, defending world and European Games champion Zaurbek Sidakov, who was also granted a release from the Russian National Championships, earned his spot on this year’s team as he narrowly snuck got past 2016 world champion Magomed KURBANALIEV, 2-1. 

Four-time world and Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev was the final wrestler to cement his spot on the world team. The defending European champion and European Games gold medalist pulverized Vladislav BAITSAEV, 10-0 in their wrestle off. 

Sadualev’s win last weekend leaves hope for the wrestling community to see the rematch between the three-time world and Olympic champions “The Russian Tank” and Kyle “Captain America” Snyder in the 97kg finals. 

Russia’s Freestyle World Team: 
56kg – Zaur UGUEV 
61kg – Magomedrasul IDRISOV 
65kg – Gadzhimurad  RASHIDOV 
70kg – David BAEV
74kg – Zaurbek SIDAKOV
79kg – Gadzhi  NAVIEV
86kg – Artur NAIFONOV
92kg – Alikhan  JABRAILOV
97kg – Abdulrashid SADULAEV 
125kg – Anzor KHIZRIEV 

4. Dake Downs Dieinger in Two Straight Matches, Will Represent USA at 79kg 
Reigning 79kg world champion Kyle DAKE (USA) returned from injury and defeated Alex DIERINGER (USA) in two straight matches to make his second consecutive United States world team. Dake scored a tactical 3-2 victory in match one, then opened up a little in the second match and grabbed the 4-1 victory -- booking his ticket to the 2019 World Championships. 

Last year, in his World Championships debut, Dake outscored his opponents 37-0 en route to his first world title. After defeating Dierging in two straight matches last weekenk, Dake heads to Kazakhstan as the favorite to repeat in a weight depleted due to Olympic weight changes. 

USA’s Freestyle World Team: 
57kg - Daton FIX 
61kg - Tyler GRAFF

65kg - Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS / Zain RETHERFORD
70kg - James GREEN 
74kg - Jordan BURROUGHS 
79kg - Kyle DAKE 
86kg - Pat DOWNEY 
92kg - J'den COX 
97kg - Kyle SNYDER 
125kg - Nick
GWIAZDOWSKI 

5. The Countdown Begins to the World Championships
We’re officially under a month away from the start of the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Today marks the 25th day until the first whistle at the Barys Arena in Kazakhstan's capital city formally known as Astana.

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