Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! June 25, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the European Games and last weekend's Cadet European Championships. Also looking at women's wrestling rankings, Alili making North Macedonian history, and tickets going on sale for the #WrestleNurSultan World Championships. 

1. The European Games Underway in Minsk, Belarus 
The 2nd European Games started this morning in Minsk, Belarus and Stevan MICIC (SRB) and Ali SHABANAU (BLR) scored the biggest upsets of the first day of competition. They both defeated Turkish wrestlers who are ranked No. 1 in the world at their respective weight classes. 

Micic, Serbia’s first-ever freestyle European medalist (bronze in 2018), scored a 6-5 come-from-behind win over reigning European champion Suleyman ATLI (TUR). Micic’s six points all came in the second period. The Serbian scored a pair of takedowns and an exposure to end the No. 1-ranked wrestler's gold-medal hopes at 57kg.

Micic will square off with Taras MARKOVYCH (UKR) in the semifinals. The winner of that match will most likely have reigning world champion Zavur UGUEV (RUS). 

Ali Shabanau also stopped the world’s No. 1 ranked wrestler. The Belarusian trailed Turkey’s No. 1 -ranked Faith ERDIN 3-1 with less than five seconds left when he hit an underhook throw by to take the 3-3 lead on criteria as time expired. 

Shabanau will wrestle Ahmed DUDAROV (GER) in the semifinals. Whoever wins that match will take on the winner of Alexander GOSTIYEV (AZE) and Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS). 

The third weight competing on Monday was 74kg. 

Reigning world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) made it to the semifinals after scoring a 5-3 quarterfinals win against his world finals opponent Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO). He’ll take on Azamat NURYKAU (BLR) for a spot in the finals. 

The winner of Sidakov and Nurykau will wrestle in the 74kg gold-medal bout against the winner of Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) vs. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR). 

The final opening-day weight being wrestled was 125kg. U23 world champion Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) will face two-time world medalist Jammaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE) on the top half, and Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS), the two-time fifth-place finisher will meet European bronze medalist Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR) on the bottom half.

The Day 1 semifinals for the first four freestyle weight classes are scheduled to begin at 18:00 local time.

RESULTS
57kg 
SEMIFINAL - Mahir AMIRASLANOV (AZE) vs. Zavur UGUEV (RUS) 
SEMIFINAL - Taras MARKOVYCH (UKR) vs. Stevan MICIC (SRB)

74kg 
SEMIFINAL -Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) vs. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) 
SEMIFINAL -Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) vs. Azamat NURYKAU (BLR)

86kg 
SEMIFINAL -Alexander GOSTIYEV (AZE) vs. Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS) 
SEMIFINAL -Ali SHABANAU (BLR) vs. Ahmed DUDAROV (GER)

125kg
SEMIFINAL - Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) vs. Jammaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE)
SEMIFINAL - Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) vs. Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR)

lga KOZYREVA (RUS) celebrates with the Russian flag after her 12-2 victory Jennifer ROESLER (GER) in the 73kg finals. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

2. Cadet European Championships Wrap up in Italy With Russia Sweeping Team Races
The Cadet European Championships wrapped up in Faenza, Italy last weekend and for the second straight age-group European Championships, the Russian Federation swept the team race. Their junior team also won the freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling team tiles two weeks ago in Pontevedra, Spain. In total, through the cadet, junior, and senior European Championships, Russia has won eight of nine team titles – only dropping the women’s wrestling team race at the senior European Championships. 

In freestyle, seven different nations won a gold medal, but Russia’s four gold medalists pushed their team to the top of the standings with 190 points. They finished 37 points ahead of second place Azerbaijan and 50 points ahead of third place Georgia. 

Russia’s Greco-Roman squad was the team that kick-started the team title winner parades after they opened up the Cadet European Championships with six finalists and three gold medalists. Similar to freestyle, Azerbaijan (points) and Georgia (117 points) rounded out the top three in the team race. 

Russia’s most dominant performances of the weekend came from their women, who scored an impressive 220 points from ten medals. They capped off the weekend with six gold medals after inserting eight into gold-medal bouts. Ukraine (140 points) and Belarus (83 points) were second and third respectively in the women’s wrestling team race. 

Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) is one of the five wrestle who has locked up their No. 1 seed for the World Championships. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne) 

3. Five Women’s Wrestling No. 1 Seeds to be Determined at Yasar Dogu 
The fourth and final Ranking Series event, the Yasar Dogu, is set to have huge implications when it comes to seeding the top-four women’s wrestlers at September's Nur-Sultan World Championships. Heading into Istanbul, 25 of the top-40 seeds are still open for the taking. Combining that with freestyle's 23 top-four seeds that remain available, the Yasar Dogu could determine 48 of the 80 freestyle and women's wrestling top-four seeds.

Come Nur-Sultan, there will be 40 seeded wrestlers, but only 15 wrestlers have cemented their seed heading into the Yasar Dogu. Of those 25 openings still up for grabs, there are 74 wrestlers who head into the Yasar Dogu with enough points to overthrow one of the current top-four ranked wrestlers.

CLICK HERE FOR WEIGHT-BY-WEIGHT RANKINGS BREAKDOWN 


Besir ALILI (MKD) became North Macedonia's first-ever cadet European champion. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan) 

4. Alili Makes North Macedonian History, Wins European Gold 
Coming into Saturday's European finals, North Macedonia had three wrestlers reach the gold-medal bout but never had a cadet wrestler win a continental title in any style. Besir ALILI (MKD) changed that after winning his nations first-ever cadet European title with a 7-6 come-from-behind win against Harutyun HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) in the 48kg finals.

The match couldn’t have started any worse for Alili, but he wasn’t going to be denied a gold medal. His Armenian opponent hit a slide by to start the match, and as Alili squared up, Hovhannisyan shot a fireman’s carry. With Alili’s arm trapped, Hovhannisyan came up to his feet and thunderously tossed the Macedonian to his back. The referrers awarded five points to Hovhannisyan for his spectacular throw, leaving Alili down 5-0 less than 30 seconds into the match. To end the exchange that left him behind 5-0, Alili was able to somehow worm his way on top for the reversal, cutting his deficit to four points. 

With under 30 seconds left in the first period, Alili pulled Hovhannisyan’s head down to the mat and locked up a front head pinch, rolling his Armenian opponent over his back three consecutive times. His six points from the front head pinches, coupled with the reversal, gave Alili the 7-5 lead heading into the break. 

From there, there was nothing flashy from Alili’s end, just sound defense and near perfect position that helped him cruise to the 7-6 victory after being down 5-0 to start the match.

5. Tickets for 2019 Wrestling World C'Ships in Nur-Sultan Now on Sale
United World Wrestling announced the start of ticket sales for the 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships, which are set to take place September 14-22 at the Barys Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The 2019 Wrestling World Championships should draw even more fan attention as it will serve as the first qualification event for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The top six finishers in each Olympic weight category in Nur-Sultan will secure an Olympic qualification for their nation. The remaining qualification spots will be earned at continental competitions and a "Last Chance Qualifier" during the 2020 competition calendar.

All-session passes and single-day tickets for the 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships are available NOW and can be purchased at: https://kassir.kz/category/chempionat-mira-po-borbe.

Schedule: 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships 
Saturday, September 14 
GR – 55-63-72-82kg 

Sunday, September 15 
GR – 55-63-72-82kg 
GR – 67-87-97kg 

Monday, September 16 
GR – 67-87-97kg 
GR – 60-77-130kg 

Tuesday, September 17 
GR – 60-77-130kg 
WW – 50-53-55-72kg 

Wednesday, September 18 
WW – 50-53-55-72kg 
WW – 57-59-65-76kg 

Thursday, September 19 
WW – 57-59-65-76kg 
WW – 62-68kg 
FS – 57-65kg 

Friday, September 20 
WW – 62-68kg 
FS – 57-65kg 
FS – 70-74-92-125kg 

Saturday, September 21 
FS – 70-74-92-125kg 
FS – 61-79-86-97kg 

Sunday, September 22 
FS – 61-79-86-97kg

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 
1. 
Wrestling 360: King Vlad Goes for Gold
2. #best10 from Day 6 at the Cadet European Championship in #WrestleFaenza
3. Big Moves From Day 6// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019
4. Big Moves From Day 4// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019
5. Big Move From Day 3// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019

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Big Move From Day 3// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019

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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.