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! 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."