Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! June 11, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Final X results plus Russia and the USA sweeping their continental c'ships. Also looking at the newest set of world rankings and Russia's European Games roster. 

1. First Set of Final X Matches Wrap up in New Jersey 
The United States wrapped up the first of two Nur-Sultan World Team selection tournaments, dubbed “Final X,” last weekend on the campus of Rutgers University. Nearly 5,400 fans were in attendance on Saturday to watch the 14 wrestlers who punched their ticket to the 2019 World Championships. 

The biggest storyline wasn’t reigning world J’den COX or two-time world bronze medalist Gable STEVESON sweeping their opponents, or David TAYLOR forfeiting his Nur-Sultan spot to Pat DOWNEY. What caused the most chatter at Final X was the 65kg matchup between USA’s 2017 world team member Zain RETHERFORD and Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS, who is coming off a win over No. 1-ranked Bajrang PUNIA (IND). 

Retherford won the first match, 10-4, and also won the second match, but that match is currently under protest. 

Diakomihalis, clearly unhappy with the timing of a late challenge that awarded Zain the second match on criteria, announced on his twitter that he’s protesting the match, saying, “Currently protesting the call to potentially have a wrestle-off to decide match 3/who wrestles at the world championships.”

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The controversial moment of the match came with 65 seconds left in the second match. 

Retherford, trailing 6-4, shot a head outside single and got chest wrapped. Two points were awarded to each wrestler, which meant Diakomihalis controlled the 8-6 advantage and tied the series at one match apiece. But, after the final scramble that lasted over a minute, Retherford’s corner, manned by Olympic champion Cael SANDERSON, threw the brick to review the two-and-two. Ultimately, the call was overturned and instead of awarding both wrestlers two, Diakomihalis’ two was erased, giving Retherford the 6-6 victory on criteria. 

It’s not clear if Diakomihalis will be awarded the third match, but if he does, the winner of that rubber match will punch their ticket to the 2019 Nur-Sultan World Championships. 

The second and final set of matchups will take place this Saturday on the campus of the University of Nebraska. 


Men’s freestyle
65kg - Zain RETHERFORD df. Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS, two matches to none (10-4, 6-6) 
86kg - Pat DOWNEY df. David TAYLOR, two matches to none (injury default) 
92kg - J’den COX df. Bo NICKAL, two matches to none (4-2, 5-0) 
125kg - Nick GWIAZDOWSKI df. Gable STEVESON, two matches to none (4-4, 3-3) 

Women’s freestyle
50kg - Whitney CONDER df. Victoria ANTHONY, two matches to none (7-4, fall) 
57kg - Jenna BURKERT df.  Becka LEATHERS, two matches to none (4-2, 5-0)
65kg - Forrest MOLINARI df.  Maya NELSON, two matches to one (3-5, 12-2, 4-1) 
68kg - Tamyra MENSAH-STOCK df. Alexandria GLAUDE, two matches to none (fall, 10-0) 
72kg - Victoria FRANSIS df.  Alyvia FISKE, two matches to none (7-2, fall) 

55kg - Max NOWRY df. Brady KOONTZ, two matches to none (3-0, 11-5)
67kg - Ellis Coleman df.  Jamel Johnson, two matches to none (9-1, 6-0)
77kg - Pat SMITH df. Kamal BEY, two matches to one (2-11, 2-1, 6-3)
82kg - John STEFANOWICZ df. Kendrick SANDERS, two matches to none (8-5, 3-2) 
87kg - Joe RAU df. Ben PROVISIOR, 2 two matches to none (2-1, 5-1) 

Saipudin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) was one of Russia's nine Junior European champions. He was the 125kg title. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

2. Russia Sweeps Team Titles at Junior European Championships 
The Russian Federation swept the freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women’s wrestling team titles at the 2019 Junior European Championship -- doing so by winning a combined nine gold medals. Their freestyle and women’s wrestlers each won a quartet of titles, and their Greco-Roman squad grabbed a solo gold medal.

In freestyle, Russia (205 points) medaled at all ten weight classes and captured the team title 89 points ahead of second place Moldova (116 points). Though Azerbaijan had two champions, which was one more than Moldova, they finished in third place with 115 points. 

The Russian women had 154 points, won four golds and two bronzes, and edged a Ukrainian (144 points) team that medaled in seven weight classes by ten points. Belarus had two champions and closed out the women’s wrestling portion of the tournament in third place with 126 points. 

Russia’s Greco-Roman team inserted four wrestlers into gold-medal bouts, but only won one of those four finals matches. They finished with 159 points and narrowly edged Georgia (151 points), who won three individual titles, by eight points. Hungary, who had a trio of women reach the top of the podium in Spain, rounded out the top three with 124 points.

3. USA Wins Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Women's Wrestling Junior Pan-American Team Titles 
The United States dominated the Junior Pan-American Championships in Guatemala, City, Guatemala, and won team titles in freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women's wrestling. 

Their freestyle wrestlers reached the finals in all ten weights and won eight gold medals. The United States (240 points) doubled second place Canada’s (120 points) point total. Canada had five wrestlers medal and finished seven points ahead of Mexico, who had 113 points. 

Mexico’s Greco-Roman team won four of the ten titles but had to settle for a second-place finish after the American wrestlers medaled in all ten weight classes. The United States ended the Greco-Roman competition with 190 points, Mexico finished with 130 points, and Colombia, with their pair of golds, finished in third with 122 points. 

The American women placed nine wrestlers into the finals, won three gold medals, and won the team title with 210 points. Canada won a silver and six bronzes and finished in second place with 134 points. Brazil, who had 102 points, captured a pair of golds and two bronze medals and finished in third place. 

4. Russia Released European Games Lineup 
The Russian Federation recently released their roster for the upcoming European Games, which takes place in Mink, Belarus (June 25-30). Their six-man roster features returning world champions Zavur UGUEV (57kg), Zaurbek SIDAKOV (74kg), and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (97kg). 

They’ll be led by No. 1-ranked three-time world and Rio Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev. Sadulaev, the pound-for-pound best wrestler in the world, is coming off winning his fourth European Championship gold medal and will be looking to defend his European Games title from 2015. 

Uguev will be making his second appearance since winning the 57kg world title in Budapest. He sat out the majority of the year with an apparent knee injury but made his return at the Ali Aliev Tournament where he won the gold medal. 

Sidakov, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the world at 74kg, will be making his third appearance of the year. In January, Sidakov won the Ivan Yariguin, then competed in the World Cup where he went 2-0.  

The team also features two-time world bronze medalist Ahmed CHAKAEV (65kg), and world fifth-place finishers Dauren KURUGLIEV (86kg) and Anzor KHIZRIEV (125kg). 

Russia’s European Games Team 
57kg - Zavur UGUEV – 2018 world champion 
65kg - Ahmed CHAKAEV - two-time world bronze medalist 
74kg - Zaurbek SIDAKOV - World Champion 
86kg - Dauren KURUGLIEV - 2017 European Champion 
97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV - Olympic champion, three-time world champion.
125kg - Anzor KHIZRIEV – European bronze medalist 

Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) won the Sassari in his home country of Italy and jumped to the No. 2 spot at 74kg in the latest world rankings. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

5. Updated World Rankings Published on UWW's Homepage 
United World Wrestling has released the latest set of point-based rankings. This month’s rankings have been updated with the points from the third Ranking Series event, the Sassari City Matteo Pellicone Memorial, which took place on the Italian island of Sardinia. 

After June’s set of rankings, the point-based rankings will only be updated one additional time before September’s 2019 Nur-Sultan World Championships. They’ll be updated after the final freestyle and women’s wrestling Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu (July 11-14), and the last Greco-Roman Ranking Series event, Oleg Karavaev (July 26-28). 

Though several wrestlers have locked up their top four seed at the World Championships, many are still within contention to slide into a top-four seed. With that being said, you can expect the final two Ranking Series events to be stacked with loads of talented wrestlers who are looking to solidify one of the top-four seeds at their respective weight classes. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Big Move Monday -- BANDARENKA M. (BLR) -- 2019 Junior European C'ships
2. Scenes from our upcoming Wrestling 360 Documentary on the Canadian women's team featuring Olympic champion @eweebz . 
3. Big Move From Day 3 // Junior Panams #WrestleGuatemalaCity
4. Kerymov (UKR) Wins in athletic fashion in the early rounds of freestyle competition. 
5. Big Move from Day One of #wrestleguatemalacity ... Gabriel ROSILLO KINDLEAN (CUB)

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! March 17, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Valencia Escoto and Destribats' historic performances at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifiers. Also looking at Cuba's GR team qualifying every weight for #Tokyo2020 and Olympic champs Maroulis and Wiebe qualifying their nation's for the Tokyo Games.

1. Valencia Escoto First Mexican Woman to Qualify for Olympic Games
Alma Jane VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) became the first-ever Mexican women's wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games after winning the 57kg gold medal at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. She won all four of her bouts in Ottawa – including a win by fall over world champion Linda MORAIS (CAN) and a victory via forfeit over Helen MAROULIS (USA).

Valencia Escoto opened her day up with a pair of decisive wins over Betzabeth SARCO COLMENAREZ (VEN) and Nes RODRIGUEZ TIRADO (PUR), which inserted her into the semifinals against Canada's reigning world champion, Linda Morais. 

In her semifinals meeting with the current 59kg world-title holder, Valencia Escoto stopped an early open double-leg attempt with a counter-offensive throw. She snuck in an underhook on the Canadian's right side during her shot attempt and tossed her to her back for the early 4-0 lead. 

Valencia Escoto's opponenet fought off her back and nearly scored a takedown of a slide by attempt. Still, somehow, the newly-minted Olympian had the world champion fighting off her back for the second time in the opening period. 

The tides turned quickly, and Valencia Escoto was the one fighting off her back. She got saved by the period-ending whistle and carried the 6-2 lead into the closing period.

In the final period, Valencia Escoto halted a left side high crotch attempt and flattened Morais for the fall – becoming the first-ever Mexican women to wrestle at the Olympic Games.

Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) finished in second place at 65kg at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier and qualified Argentina for the Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Destribats Ends 24-year Argentinean Freestyle Olympic Drought
Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) ended a 24-year Argentinean freestyle Olympic drought and qualified his nation for the Tokyo Olympics after he pinned American Zain RETHERFORD (USA) in the 65kg semifinals. With his semifinal victory via fall, Destribats became the first Argentinean freestyle wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games since Paulo IBIRE (ARG) did so at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In his meeting with the Retherford, Destribats conceded an open double leg and nearly gave up an ankle lace but was able to fend off the turn and catch the American on his back. He held Retherford on his back for 25 seconds before picking up the opening period fall to secure his spot at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Helen MAROULIS (USA) qualified the United States for the Olympic Games at 57kg with her silver-medal finish at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Olympic Champs Maroulis and Wiebe Qualify Nation's for Olympic Games 
Olympic champions Helen MAROULIS (USA) and Erica WIEBE (CAN) qualified their nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing in the top-two of their respective weights at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. The pair remained on course to defend their gold medals from the Rio Olympic Games. 

Maroulis, who was wrestling in her first international competition since the 2018 World Championships, won four matches before injury defaulting out of the finals after locking up the United States' spot at 57kg for the Olympics.

In her first match, Maroulis easily handled Canada's Linda Morias, 10-2, in the battle of Olympic champion and world champion. 

Maroulis defeated Giullia RODRIGUES (BRA) and Lissette ANTES (ECU) in the next two rounds and was one win away from earning a second berth to the Olympic Games for the United States. 

In the semifinals, Maroulis crushed Nes RODRIGUEZ (PUR), 10-0, and qualified the Stars and Stripes for the Olympic Games at 57kg. 

She'll now have to win the Olympic Trials to become the United States' Olympic representative at 57kg.

Canada's Erica Wiebe was the second Olympic champion who qualified for the Olympic Games over the weekend. Wiebe, who was wrestling in her hometown of Ottawa, won the 76kg bracket and locked up her shot at repeating as Olympic champion. 

She opened up her day with a narrow 2-1 win over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). She tacked on dominant wins over Milaimys de la Caridad MARIN POTRILLE (CUB) and Andrimar LAZARO (VEN), setting up a semifinals match with Genesis REASCO (ECU).

Wiebe shutout Reasco Valdez, 6-0, in their semifinals meeting and earned her berth to the Olympic Games. She injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match against Aline Da Silva Ferreira and finished with a silver medal.

Wiebe won the Canadian Wrestling Trails in December and will represent Canada at 76kg at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) is one of six Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers who will wrestle at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo) 

4. Cuba Sending All Six GR Wrestlers to Olympics 
Cuba’s Greco-Roman team came into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier searching for four qualification spots after earning two Olympic berths from the Nur-Sultan World Championships from Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB). Over the weekend, they had three wrestlers win gold medals and one individual finish in second place at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier – which took their qualification total to all six weight categories. 

Their three champions were Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB), Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) and Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB), while Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) finished in second place.

In addition to their Greco-Roman success, Cuba's women's wrestling team also shined in Ottawa. 

Coming into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier, Katherine VIDIAUX (CUB) was the lone Cuban woman who ever wrestled at the Olympic Games. She'll now be joined in the history books by Lianna MONTERO (CUB) and Yusneylis GUZMAN (CUB), who won gold medals at 50kg and 53kg, respectively, and qualified for the Olympic Games. 

Greco-Roman Qualifying Weights/Athletes
60kg - Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold 
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – World Championships gold 
77kg - Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
87kg - Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier silver
97kg - Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) World Championships silver

5. European, World 'Last Chance' Olympic Qualifiers Postponed
The European Qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for March 19-22 in Budapest, along with the World "Last Chance" Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for April 30-May 3, have been postponed.

The events will be rescheduled, with the European Qualifier expected to take place in mid-May and the World "Last Chance" Qualifier held at the beginning of June.

"We are closely monitoring the governmental response to COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates to our wrestlers, coaches, and fans with more information as it becomes available," said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic.

"The process for determining our Olympic participants will happen on the field of play, but we need to remain patient and vigilant as the worldwide community battles this pandemic. The health and well-being of the athletes is an absolute priority."