Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! March 26, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Russia's European C'ship lineups and the 12 reigning world champions who will compete in Bucharest. Also looking at the U23 Asian C'ship results and this week's African C'ships and Hollywood Wrestles Bollywood. 

1. World Champs Sadulaev, Sidakov, and Uguev to Sit Out European C'ships
Registration for the 2019 European Championships has closed, and the Russian Federation has elected to sit out the majority of their No. 1 wrestlers. The reasoning behind the decision to sit their top wrestlers seems to be they'll be preparing for the European Games, which take place June 25-30 in Minsk, Belarus.

Most notably, reigning world champions Abdulrashid SADULAEV, Zaurbek SIDAKOV, and Zaur UGUEV will sit out of the European Championships. Muslim SADULAEV, Magomed KURBANALIEV, and Vladislav BAITCAEV will be replacing the defending world champions at 57kg, 74kg, and 97kg respectively. 

This will be Muslim Sadulaev's first trip to the European Championships, but Kurbanaliev and Baitcaev both represented Russia at last year’s European Championships, where they reached the top of the podium and claimed gold medals.

*The European Championships happen yearly, while the European Games only happen every four years.

Russia’s European Lineup
57kg - Muslim SADULAEV
61kg - Magomedrasul IDRISOV
65kg - Nachyn KUULAR
70kg - Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV
74kg - Magomed KURBANALIEV
79kg - Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV
86kg - Dauren KURUGLIEV
92kg - Magomed KURBANOV
97kg - Vladislav BAITCAEV
125kg - Anzor KHIZRIEV

2. Iran and Mongolia Capture Titles at First U23 Asian Championships
The host country Mongolia captured the women’s wrestling title at the first edition of the U23 Asian Championships, while Iran shined, winning team titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.

In women’s wrestling, the host country Mongolia won four gold medals and captured the team title. India also won four gold medals, and the other two titles went to Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei.

Iran claimed the freestyle and Greco-Roman team titles. 

In freestyle, Iran had seven finalists and ended up taking home four golds to win the team title with 200 points (4 gold, three silver, two bronze).

In Greco-Roman, Iran battled Kyrgyzstan but ultimately came out on top of the team race. 

Both countries had four golds and two bronze medal winners, but Iran grabbed one more silver medal and captured the title with 202 points (four gold, three silver, two bronze). Kyrgyzstan placed second with 182 points (four gold, two silver, two bronze), and Kazakhstan came third with 167 points (two gold, two silver, three bronze).

FULL RESULTS

3. African Championship Underway in Tunisia
The African Championships kicked off Monday in Hammamet, Tunisia, and will last until Sunday (March 31). 

The cadets and juniors wrestle until Thursday, and the senior-level competition begins on Friday. 

The African Championships will be the first senior-level continental championships where the revamped point system will be used. The winner of the continental championships will receive 12 Ranking Series points, with the second, third, fifth, seventh, and eighth-place finishers receiving 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2 points respectively. 

In addition to the placement points, wrestlers will also receive additional entry points based on the number of wrestlers in their brackets. 

For weight categories with 10 or fewer entries, an additional six (6) points will be added. For categories with 11-20 wrestlers entered an additional eight (8) points will be added. Ten (10) points will be added to any weight category with more than 20 entries.

SCHEDULE 

4. Hollywood Wrestles Bollywood This Sunday 
Women's Wrestling stars from the United States and India will battle each other on Sunday in the 'Hollywood Wrestles Bollywood' at Los Angles' historic Wiltern Theater.

According to www.beatthestreets-la.org, "The dual will be a part of Beat the Streets Los Angeles’ 5th Annual Benefit and International Competition, which is a yearly fundraising and awareness event for the LA-based wrestling non-profit."

There will be eleven top-15 ranked wrestlers in action, with six of those being ranked in the top-5 of the latest world rankings. (The latest rankings can be found on www.unitedworldwrestling.org 's homepage) 

Of the ten star-studded bouts, the most intriguing matchup comes at 53kg, where returning world runner-up and top-ranked Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) will take on No. 11 Vinesh VINESH (IND). 

This will be a rematch of last month’s Dan Kolov semifinals, where Vinesh stuck Hildebrant to put herself in the Ranking Series tournament finals. She ultimately fell to China's PANG Qianyu in the finals. 

The dual starts at 15:00 on March 31. 

United States vs. India 
50kg: No. 15 Whitney CONDER vs. Sheetal TOMAR 
53kg: No. 1 Sarah HILDEBRANDT vs. No. 11 Vinesh VINESH
55kg: No. 6 Jacarra WINCHESTER vs. Pinki PINKI
57kg: Jenna BURKERT vs. No. 6 Pooja DHANDA
59kg: Alli RAGAN vs. No. 4 Sarita SARITA
62kg: No. 5 Mallory VELTE vs. Sakshi MALIK  
65kg: No. 2 Forrest MOLINARI vs. Navjot KAUR 
68kg: No. 2 Tamyra MENSAH vs. Divya KAKRAN 
72kg: Rachel WATTERS vs. No. 12 (at 76kg) Kiran KIRAN 
76kg: No. 1 Adeline GRAY vs. Sudesh SUDESH

Reigning world and European champion Petra Maarit OLLI (FIN) is set to compete at the 2019 European Championships. She'll wrestle her world championship weight of 65kg. 

5. European Championships Begin April 8 
The most dominant wrestling continent on the plant, Europe, begins its continental championships on April 8. The early registration closed and of last year's eighteen defending world champions who hailed from Europe, 12 are set to compete in Bucharest, Romania. 

The three women's wrestling European world champions will wrestle, but only two of the five freestyle world champions have entered their names into the field. As mentioned above, Russia's Abdulrashid Sadualev, Zaurbek Sidakov, and Zaur Uguev are the reigning freestyle world gold medalists who won't make the trip to Romania.

Of the ten European Greco-Roman world champions, seven will wrestle in Bucharest. The three who won't be in action will be Peter BACSI (HUN), Aleksander CHEKHIRKIN (RUS), and Frank STAEBLER (GER). 

Though Russia will be without 77kg Greco-Roman world champion Aleksander Chekhirkin, they've entered two-time Olympic champion Roman VLASOV (RUS), who will make his return after missing the 2018 world championships after having knee surgery. 

SCHEDULE

Returning World Champions Competing
55kg (GR) - Eldaniz AZIZLI(AZE)
60kg (GR) - Sergey EMELIN (RUS) 
62kg (WW) - Taybe Mustafa YUSEIN (BUL) 
63kg (GR) - Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) 
65kg (WW) - Petra Maarit OLLI (FIN) 
67kg (GR) - Artem SURKOV (RUS) 
68kg (WW) - Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) 
70kg (FS) - Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV
82kg (GR) - Metehan BASAR (TUR) 
97kg (GR) - Musa EVLOEV (RUS)
125kg (FS) - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) 
130kg - (GR) - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- Vladen KOZLIUK (UKR) -- U23 Europe
2. Highlights from the 2019 Freestyle World Cup #wrestleyakutsk #uww #wrestling
3. Freestyle wrestlers started competing today at #U23AsianChampionship in Mongolia.🥇61 kg - Ulukbek Zholdoshbekov🇰🇬 🥇92 kg - Arashk Mohammadkazem Mohebi🇮🇷
4. Egypt's Yassar NASR punches his ticket to the 65KG final tonight with a powerful preformance in the Semifinal. #wrestling #uww#unitedworldwrestling#WrestleHammamet
5. Day 1 Wrestlers preparing to take to the mats at the 2019 African Championship.  #wrestling #uww#unitedworldwrestling#WrestleHammamet

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Big Move Monday -- Vladen KOZLIUK (UKR) -- U23 Europe

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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