Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! October 1, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the #WrestleNurSultan World Championships and October's Veteran and U23 World Championships. 

1. Russia Wins Second Consecutive Freestyle World Title After Five Individuals Claim Gold
The Russian Federation strengthened its stronghold on the freestyle competition by winning its second consecutive team world title. Led by their four-time world and Olympic champion Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS), Russia finished 83 points ahead of second-place Kazakhstan. They medaled in nine of ten weights and capped off the World Championships with five freestyle gold medalists. They also had a silver-medal finisher and three wrestlers who won bronze medals. More importantly, five of Russia's nine medals came in Olympic weight classes -- which helped them qualify five of the six freestyle weights for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Zaur UGUEV (57kg), Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (65kg), David BAEV (70kg), Zaurbek SIDAKOV (74kg) and Abdulrashid Sadulaev (97kg) were the five Russian champions.

Uguev, Sidakov and Sadulaev each repeated their title-winning performances from the 2018 Budapest World Championships, while Rashidov and Baev captured their first career world golds. 

Uguev, the 57kg champ, went 5-0 and rounded out his tournament with a 13-3 routing of European champion Suleyman ATLI (TUR) in the gold-medal match. He also scored a 4-3 win over European Games champion Mahir AMIRASLANOV (AZE) -- avenging his only loss of the season. 

Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) scored a step out against four-time world and Olympic champion Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) en rout to winning his second consecutive 74kg title. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

At 74kg, for the second consecutive year, Zaurbek Sidakov forged back-to-back wins over four-time world and Olympic champion Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) and two-time world champion Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) on his road to claiming the 74kg world title. 

Abdulrashid Sadulaev reached the top of the world podium for the fourth time in his career with a 4-0 shutout win over fellow Olympic champion Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) in the 97kg finals. Sadulaev's win over Sharifov came after the Azeri halted #SnyderLaev3 by stopping the two-time world and Olympic champion Kyle SNYDER (USA) in the semifinals. 

Gadzhimurad Rashidov and David Baev also claimed freestyle world titles in Nur-Sultan. 

After a pair of deflating losses in the previous two world finals (Paris and Budapest), Rashidov finally captured his long-awaited world title. Two of Rashidov's wins came against former world champions. In the opening round, Rashidov edged three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV (AZE), 4-2. Then, he stopped 2018 world champion Takuto OTOGURO (JPN), 8-1, in the third round. Finally, Rashidov carried the Russian flag around the mat after thumping Daulet NIYAZBEKOV (KAZ), 11-0, in the 65kg finals. 

Baev won the 70kg title with a 14-2 routing of Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ) in the 70kg gold-medal match. 

The lone weight Russia failed to medal at was 125kg. Their expected world representative was Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS). But the European Games champion was injured two weeks before the first whistle in Nur-Sultan and forced to pull out of the World Championships. 

J'den COX (USA) defeated Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI), 4-0, in the 92kg and claimed his second world title. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

The host nation of Kazakhstan finished in second place with 103 points -- which came from a pair of second-place finishes and a bronze medalist.  

The United States ended the team race in third place with 94 points. America's Kyle DAKE (79kg) and J'den COX (92kg) won gold for the second consecutive year and are now expected to drop down to Olympic weight classes. 

Though it's not official, but Dake is expected to drop down to 74kg to challenge Jordan Burroughs, and Cox is expected to move to 86kg to square off with David TAYLOR (USA) for the Tokyo Olympic spot. 

Iran's Olympic champion Hassan Yazdani came into the World Championships heavily favored and won his second world title and first since 2017. In addition to scoring an injury default win in the finals over India's Deepak PUNIA, Yazdani scored two wins via fall and a pair of technical superiority victories. 

At 125kg, Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) defeated Olympic champion Taha AKGUL (TUR) in an epic heavyweight battle for the second time in the last three years. Petriashvili took down Akgul with under 20 seconds left to grab the 6-6 lead on criteria. The Georgian ultimatly held on to win his third consecutive world title. 

RESULTS (Click link to watch gold-medal matches)
57kg - Zavur UGUEV (RUS) df. Suleyman ATLI (TUR), 13-3 
61kg - Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) df. Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS), 12-2 
65kg - Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) df. Daulet NIYAZBEKOV (KAZ), 11-0 
70kg - David BAEV (RUS) df. Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ), 14-2 
74kg - Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) df. Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA), 5-2 
79kg - Kyle DAKE (USA) df. Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE), 10-4 
86kg - Hassan YAZDANICHARATI (IRI) df. Deepak PUNIA (IND), via injury default 
92kg - J'den COX (USA) df. Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI), 4-0 
97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE), 4-0 
125kg - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Taha AKGUL (TUR), 6-6 

Musa EVLOEV (RUS) (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Evloev's Second World Title Helps Russia Claim Team Gold  
Though the Russian Federation failed to match their six gold-medal performance from last year’s Budapest World Championships, they did win two titles and had three wrestlers fall in gold-medal matches. Russia won the team title with 132 points -- which was 52 points ahead of second-place Uzbekistan. Russia's two Greco-Roman champions were Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (72kg) and Musa EVLOEV (97kg).

Of the five returning world champions that graced Russia’s Nur-Sultan lineup, Evloev was the only wrestler to win back-to-back world titles. He was handed the gold medal after three-time world and Olympic champion Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) injury defaulted out of the finals due to an apparent rib injury he suffered during his semifinals match. 

Mantsigov took down Aram VARDANYAN (UZB), 9-0, in the gold-medal match in the non-Olympic weight of 72kg.  

Uzbekistan had a silver medalist, a pair of bronzes and two fifth-place finishers and wrapped up their tournament in second place with 80 points.

Georgia rounded out the top three in the Greco-Roman team standings. Though they were at non-Olympic weights, Georgia’s Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) and Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) claimed titles -- catapulting their nation to the third spot in the final standings with 79 points.

In the 55kg finals, Tsurtsumia dominated Khorlan ZHAKANSHA (KAZ), 9-0, and won his first career world title at the senior level after winning the U23 world title a year ago. Gobadze, the winner of the 82kg gold medal, edged Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE), 5-3, and won his first career world title in any division after medaling four times at age-group World Championships.

Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) will represent Japan at 60kg at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

Japan matched Russia's Greco-Roman gold-medal output by winning a pair of titles over reigning world champions.

Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) locked up his spot on Japan's Olympic team after upsetting the reigning world champion Sergey EMELIN (RUS) ,10-5, in the 60kg finals. Shinobu OTA (JPN) gave Japan their second upset win over a reigning world champion when he defeated Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS), 10-4, in the 63kg finals. 

With Fumita locking up his spot on Japan's Olympic team at 60kg, Ota will be forced to move up to the Olympic weight of 67kg if he has hopes of bettering his Olympic silver medal from the Rio Olympic Games. 

In arguably the most impressive run to a world title, Olympic champion Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) knocked off four world champions to establish himself as the best in the world at 67kg. The Cuban's Nur-Sultan gold-medal run went through three-time world champion Frank STAEBLER (GER), two-time world champion RYU Hansu (KOR), U23 world champion Mohamed ELSAYED (EGY), and finally, reigning world champion Artem SURKOV (RUS). 

Borrero is now a two-time world and Olympic champion. 

Turkey’s Riza KAYAALP won his fourth world title. The Turkish superstar improved on his 15th-place finish from last year’s World Championships where he was fell in the opening round. On his way to a fourth world title, Kayaalp navigated a road that went through three world medalists, Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI), Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) and Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB). Kayaalp topped off the finals with a 3-1 win over Cuba’s now-two-time world medalist Oscar Pino Hinds. 

RESULTS (Click link to watch gold-medal matches)
55kg - 
Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) df. Khorlan ZHAKANSHA (KAZ), 9-0 
60kg - Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) df. Sergey EMELIN (RUS), 10-5 
63kg - Shinobu OTA (JPN) df. Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS), 10-4
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) df. Artem SURKOV (RUS)  , 3-1 
72kg - Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) df. Aram VARDANYAN (UZB), 9-0 
77kg - Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) df. Alex KESSIDIS (SWE), 8-0 
82kg Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) df. Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE), 5-3 
87kg  Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) df. Viktor LORINCZ (HUN), 2-1 
97kg Musa EVLOEV (RUS) df. Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM), via injury default 
130kg Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB), 3-1 

Rio Olympic champion Risako KAWAI (JPN) celebrates winning her third world title. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

3. Kawai's Third World Title Pushes Japan Past Russia in Women's Wrestling Team Race 
Per usual, Japan won the women’s wrestling team title. But it wasn’t in normal Japanese fashion. Usually, the most dominant women’s wrestling nation walks away with the team title, but they had to fight and claw their way to the team title in Nur-Sultan. Last year in Budapest, Japan had four champs and cruised to a 37 points advantage over second-place China. But this year, the margin of victory narrowed to only 29 points ahead of second-place Russia. 

Risako KAWAI (JPN) was the lone Japanese woman to win a world title in Nur-Sultan. She furthered her case to be included in the discussion as the pound-for-pound top-ranked wrestler in the world. Since dropping the 2015 world finals, Kawai has won three world titles and a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games. This is in addition to defeating four-time Olympic champion and arguably the greatest women’s wrestler ever, Kaori ICHO (JPN), to secure her spot on Japan’s Nur-Sultan world team. 

Meanwhile, the United States had a trio of champions in Jacarra WINCHESTER (USA), Tamyra MENSAH (USA) and Adeline GRAY (USA). For Winchester (55kg) and Mensah (68kg), it was their first time winning a world title. But for Gray, this was the fifth time that she cemented herself as the top wrestler in the world at her respective weight class. 

Mariya STADNIK (AZE), one of the most credentialed women’s wrestlers ever, finally won her second world title. Her win in Nur-Sultan came one decade after winning her first world title. The three-time Olympic medalist and six-time world medalist tallied a 13-0 win over Emilia VUC (ROU) in the 50kg finals. 

RESULTS (Click link to watch gold-medal matches)
50kg - 
Mariya STADNIK (AZE) df. Emilia Alina VUC (ROU), 13-0 
53kg - Yong Mi PAK (PRK) df. Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN), 12-1 
55kg - Jacarra Gwenisha WINCHESTER (USA) df. Nanami IRIE (JPN), 5-3 
57kg - Risako KAWAI (JPN) df. Ningning RONG (CHN), 9-6 
59kg - Linda MORAIS (CAN) df. Liubov OVCHAROVA (RUS), via fall
62kg - Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) df. Taybe Mustafa YUSEIN (BUL), 5-3 
65kg - Inna TRAZHUKOVA (RUS) df. Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR), 13-0 
68kg - Tamyra MENSAH (USA) df. Jenny FRANSSON (SWE), 8-2
76kg - Adeline Maria GRAY (USA) df. Hiroe MINAGAWA SUZUKI (JPN) , 4-2 

4. Five History-Making Performances From Nur-Sultan
The World Championships were filled with countless memorable moments, but there were five that top all others -- mainly because they were history-making performances.

In women’s wrestling, Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) and Yong Mi PAK (PRK) defeated reigning world champions and became their nation’s first-ever women’s wrestling world champions. Pak reached the top of the podium at 53kg and Tynybekova won the 62kg gold medal.

Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) defeated reigning world champion Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) and became Kyrgyzstan’s first-ever women's wrestling world champion. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Tynybekova became Kyrgyzstan’s first medalist in Paris when she finished with a bronze medal. In Nur-Sultan, Tynybekova upset reigning world champion Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) with a late takedown and became Kyrgyzstan’s first world champion. 

Yong Mi Pak also picked up an upset win over a reigning world champion to win her country’s first world title. Pak scored the stunning 12-1 win over two-time world champion Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) in the 53kg finals and handed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s their first women’s wrestling world title.

Myles AMINE (SMR) finished in fifth place at 86kg and locked up San Marino's first freestyle trip to the Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotunod)

In freestyle, the duo of best friends who attend the University of Michigan, Stevan MICIC (SRB) and Myles AMINE (SMR), sealed up their nation’s first-ever freestyle Olympic Games berths after finishing in fifth place at 57kg and 86kg, respectively. Micic locked up Serbia's spot at the Olympic Games with an 8-0 win over Givi DAVIDOVI (ITA) in the repechage round. He ultimately fell short in the bronze-medal bout against reigning world runner-up Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ). Amine handed San Marino their first trip to the Olympic Games with a 4-2 quarterfinals win over Germany's Ahmed DUDAROV.

Also in freestyle, Stefan REICHMUTH (SUI) made history for Switzerland after defeating Carlos IZQUIERDO (COL), 3-0, in the bronze-medal bout at 86kg. With his win over the Colombian wrestler, Reichmuth became the first Swiss wrestler to ever medal at a World Championships. 

5. October to Feature Veteran and U23 World Championships  
The Cadet, Junior and Senior World Championships are well behind us, but October is set to feature the Veteran and U23 World Championships. The Veteran World Championships will be up first. The six-day freestyle and Greco-Roman tournament will start on October 8 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The fifth and final World Championships, the U23 World Championships, will begin on October 23 in Budapest, Hungary. 

As always, the final two World Championships can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Freestyle Olympic qualifiers 
2. Women's Wrestling Olympic qualifiers 
3. Greco-Roman Olympic qualifiers 
4. Big Move Monday -- @melonin_97 (FRA) -- Senior Worlds 2019
5. #TBT - Olympic Champs SHARIFOV (AZE) and SNYDER (USA) Battle

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."