Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! October 22, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing the U23 World Championships which start next Monday and Yanan SUN'S quest for Olympic Gold. Also looking at results from the World Military Games, Akhmad Kadyrov Cup and much more. 

1. U23 World Championships Less Than a Week Away
The U23 World Championships begin next Monday (October 28) in Budapest, Hungary, and 35 of the 631 registered athletes are returning U23 world medalists -- including ten reigning champions. 

Greco-Roman will house five of the ten returning gold medalists. There will be three freestyle wrestlers who’ll look to defend their titles, and a pair of women’s wrestling champs from a year ago.  

Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO), who last month reached the top of the senior world podium in Nur-Sultan, headlines the lengthy list of returning Greco-Roman U23 world gold medalists. His fellow compatriot, Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO), will look to defend his U23 world title from a year ago. The Georgian big man is chasing his seventh age-group world title. 

Mohamed ELSAYED (EGY) and Katsuaki ENDO (JPN) are both entered at 67kg, which could set up a colossal matchup of returning U23 gold-medal winners from last season. El Sayed is coming off a fifth-place finish in Nur-Sultan, where he qualified Egypt for the 2020 Olympic Games at 67kg. 

The fifth and final Greco-Roman champ from a year ago is Semen NOVIKOV (UKR). He’s entered at 87kg. 

Freestyle’s three 2018 gold-medal winners are Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK), Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) and Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE). They'll compete at 74kg, 86kg and 92kg, respectively. 

Japan's Saki IGARASHI (55kg) and China's Paliha PALIHA (76kg) are the two women’s wrestlers who are on a quest to repeat as U23 world champions. Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ) and Andreea ANA (ROU), who finished with bronze medals at the 2018 U23 World Championships, will join Igarashi in the 55kg bracket, while Paliha is the lone returning medalist entered at 76kg. 

The full list of the 631 wrestlers will be released this week on www.unitedworldwrestling.org. 

2. Rising Sun: Chinese Star Aims for Olympic Glory in Land of Top Rivals
Once SUN Yanan (CHN) made the bold decision at 15 to leave home for the unknown to pursue a wrestling career, she knew there was no turning back.

"At the beginning, I told myself I needed to be independent because I already left home," she recalls. "I cannot go back. If I go back, it would be shameful."

Sun has never looked back and, despite her late start in the sport, has forged a solid career that includes a world gold medal, an Olympic bronze and numerous other laurels. After a setback at the recent World Championships, the 27-year-old has her sights set firmly on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"Step by step, I felt I really enjoyed wrestling and it already became part of my life," Sun says of her development in the sport. "And I wanted to realize my dream to be more confident and become a perfect lady because of wrestling. I really grew up."

The 27-year-old Sun speaks easily and openly through an interpreter during an interview at last week's Tokyo 2020 test event, a women's tournament in the six Olympic weights. While Sun attended with the Chinese team but did not take part, the trip gave her a first glimpse of the Olympic venue, located in the Makuhari Messe convention center in neighboring Chiba city.

"I'm very excited when I imagine that next year maybe I will compete here at the Olympics," she says. "I hope I can be much stronger and show my best next year."

Sun secured a spot for China at 50kg by placing fifth at the World Championships in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan last month. Although she finished out of the medals, she showed she could still be a factor in the weight class.

Click HERE to read Ken Marantz’s full feature on Yanan SUN (CHN). 

Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) was one of three Russian wrestlers who won a World Military Games gold medal. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

3. Russia Opens Up World Military Games with Three Freestyle Golds 
Russia kicked off the 7th CISM World Military Games in Wuhan, China, by going three-for-three in gold-medal matches, while The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Gwang un PAK (57kg) won the fourth Day 1 gold medal. Taha AKGUL (TUR) and Hossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) claimed the remaining pair of freestyle gold medals, which came on the second day of wrestling in China.  

The three Russian champions were headlined by the 65kg reigning world champion, Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS). His fellow Russian compatriots who also won gold at the World Military Games were Khetik TSABALOV (RUS) and Artur NAIFONOV (RUS). Those two won the 74kg and 86kg titles, respectively. 

Rashidov, the now-three-time world finalist, outscored his four opponents 41-0 en route to his first World Military Games title. That 41-0 mark includes a 10-0 win over Vasyl SHUPTAR (UKR) in the 65kg finals. In addition to his 10-0 win over Shuptar in the finals, Rashidov also grabbed technical superiority victories over Gerchek HEMRAYEV (TKM), TIAN Zhenguang (CHN) and Bavyrzhan TOREBEK (KAZ). 

Tsavolov, a 2014 world champion and 2017 world silver medalist, took down Nurkoza KAIPANOV (KAZ), 12-0, in the 74kg finals. Artur Naifonov, a 2019 world bronze medalist, defeated Ahmed DUDAROV (GER), 10-0, in the finals at 86kg. 

Gwang un Pak, who hung on to defeat Andrei DUKOV (ROU), 2-2, was awarded the fourth opening day gold medal. 

On the second day of wrestling, Turkey’s Rio Olympic champion Taha Akgul blanked Yadollah MOHEBI (IRI), 3-0, in the 125kg finals and Iran's Hossein Mohammadian defeated Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR), 3-1, to claim gold at 97kg. 

Click here for full results from the 7th CISM World Military Games.

57kg – Gwang un PAK (PRK) df. Andrei DUKOV (ROU), 2-2 
65kg – Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) df. Vasyl SUPTAR (UKR), 10-0 
74kg – Khetik TSABALOV (RUS) df. Nurkoza KAIPANOV (KAZ), 12-0 
86kg – Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) df. Ahmed DUDAROV (GER), 10-0 
97kg – Hossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) df. Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR), 3-1
125kg – Taha AKGUL (TUR) df. Yadollah MOHEBI (IRI), 3-0 

Two-time world champion Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) grabbed the 74kg gold medal at the Akhmad Kadyrov Cup. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

4. Gazimagomedov Grabs 74kg Gold at Akhmad Kadyrov Cup; Olympic Champ Ramonov Returns 
Chechnya’s capital city of Grozny hosted the Akhmad Kadyrov Cup last weekend, and two-time world champion Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) highlighted the list of ten Russian winners. 

Gazimagomedov, up from his Budapest world-title winning weight of 70kg, won his first 74kg competition after a third-place finish at July’s Russian National Championships. His win in the finals came over Musa BAZIEV (RUS). 

Another notable champion was Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS). The two-time world bronze medalist won his third consecutive Akhmad Kadyrov Cup with a win over Muslim SAJDULAEV (RUS) in the 65kg finals. 

Outside of the champions, Rio Olympic gold medalist Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) returned to the mat after a 13-month layoff. He was recovering from back surgery. Ramonov finished in second place at 70kg, dropping his finals match to Rasul ARSANALIEV (RUS). After his runner-up finish, Ramonov took to his social media account to announce that he’ll be heading back down to his Olympic gold-winning weight of 65kg for this weekend's Vladimir Semenov Memorial -- which takes place in Nefteyugansk, Russia. 

In that post, Ramonov roughly said, “After a year's pause, the first start, yesterday I enjoyed the fights. Today I was completely empty! Unfortunately, my body was not ready to go through the whole tournament...but this is all fixable. I will work even more. The next competition is in a week, at 65kg in the city of Nefteyugansk."

57kg - Muslim SADULAEV (RUS) df. Abubakar MUTALIEV (RUS)
61kg - Zelimkhan ABAKAROV (RUS) df. Muslim MEHTIKHANOV (RUS)
65kg - Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS) df. Muslim SAJDULAEV (RUS)
70kg - Rasul ARSANALIEV (RUS) df. Soslan RAMONOV (RUS)
74kg - Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Musa BAZIEV (RUS)
79kg - Kahaber HUBEZHTY (RUS) df. Adam KHASIEV (RUS)
86kg - Muslim DADAEV (RUS) df. Dzhabrail SHAPIEV (UZB)
92kg - Anzor URISHEV (RUS) df. George RUBAEV (MDA)
97kg - Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (RUS) df. Tamerlan RASUEV (RUS)
125kg - Batradz GAZZAYEV (RUS) df. Baldan TSYZYPOV (RUS)

Haji ALIYEV (AZE), a three-time world champion, will have to travel to the European Olympic Qualifier to lock up Azerbaijan's spot at the Toyko Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

5. European Olympic Qualifier: Who Hasn't Qualified at 65kg 
The first six Olympic berths at each weight were claimed at the Nur-Sultan World Championships, and countless world medalists still have a lot of work to do to get their nation’s spot locked up for next August’s Tokyo Olympic Games. In particular, two of Europe’s best 65kg wrestlers are still in jeopardy of missing the Olympic Games, but still have two shots at locking up their nation’s spot. 

At 65kg, there are only two continents who have qualified spots for the Olympics. Those continents are Asia and Europe. Asian nations have four wrestlers, while European countries have two wrestlers. But missing out of those European qualifiers are two of the best wrestlers in the world at the weight, Haji ALIYEV (AZE) and Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO). 

Aliyev, a three-time world champion, failed to qualify Azerbaijan for the Olympics at 65kg. The Rio Olympic bronze medalist dropped his opening round match at the World Championships to eventual world champion Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS). Then, Aliyev scored a 10-1 win over Reda HUSSEN (EGY) in his first repechage match but fell to 2018 world champion Takuto OTOGURO (JPN) in a heartbreaking 11-9 match. He was knocked out of the tournament after his second loss and finished in 12th place. 

Khinchegashvili, a Rio Olympic champion and London silver medalist, also failed to qualify his nation for the Toyko Olympic Games. The Georgian opened up his 2019 World Championships campaign with a 4-0 win over YUN Junsik (KOR) but lost 5-1 in his next match to eventual bronze medalist Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN). The Hungarian dropped a 3-2 nail biter against Rashidov -- knocking Khinchegashvili out of the tournament with a 22nd-place finish. 

The pair will have to travel to the European Olympic Qualifier in Budapest, Hungary (March 19 – 22) and finish top-two to qualify Azerbaijan and Georgia for the Olympic Games at 65kg. If they fail to make the finals in Budapest, their last opportunity will be the World Olympic Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria (April 30 – May 03). 

Qualified Nation – Qualifying Wrestler 
RUS via Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (Europe)
KAZ via Daulet NIYAZBEKOV (Asia) 
IND via Bajrang BAJRANG (Asia)
HUN via Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (Europe) 
JPN via Takuto OTOGURO (Asia)
MGL via Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (Asia)

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- Sahakyan G. (POL) @gevorguww -- Senior Worlds 2019
2. The largest Referee and Coaches course ... EVER! More than 300 participants in Wuhan, China delivered by Ibrahim CICIOGLU (TUR).
3. #ScoreThat - Who came out on top of this exchange? Was it blue (@lorincztomi12) or red (@alexkessidis)?
4.  Which World Champion becomes Olympic Champion? 
5.  Happy Friday, Wrestling Fans!

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! December 10, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing the three Olympic champions who had winning weekends and Chamizo announcing that he'll compete at January's Matteo Pellicone in Rome. Also looking next week's All Japan Championships and U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier. 

1. Wiebe Outduels Di Stasio in Battle of Olympic vs. World Champion 
Erica WIEBE outdueled Justina DI STASIO in two straight matches at the Canadian Wrestling Trials, as two other Olympians cemented their spots on Canada’s Pan-American Qualifier team.

Wiebe, the 2016 Rio Olympic champion, scored back-to-back victories over 2018 world champion Justina Di Stasio in a best-of-three series and punched her ticket to the Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier. The Olympic Qualifier is set to take place in her hometown of Ottawa on March 13-15. In her post-match interview, the Rio Olympic champion said, “It’s going to be different. I’ve never wrestled in my hometown of Ottawa, and a lot is on the line, and I’ll just do a lot of what I do every day – that is get one percent better.” 

In the first match, Wiebe scored an inactivity point and held the 1-0 advantage, but Di Stasio scored a takedown and grabbed the 2-1 lead. Wiebe responded in a champion way, scoring four unanswered points and took match one, 5-2. Then, in the second match, Weibe grabbed a pair of one-point exchanges and locked up her spot on Canada’s Pan-American Qualifier team with the 2-0 victory. 

Michelle FAZZARI and Danielle LAPPAGE, who represented Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, also punched their ticket to the Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier in Ottawa. 

Fazzari, who was returning from a horrific knee injury she suffered while wrestling Adeniyi OLUWAFUNMILAYO (NGR) in the 2018 Commonwealth Games finals, downed Jessica BROUILLETTE in two straight matches. She scored the 3-0 shutout win in the first match, then edged Brouillette, 3-2, in the second match. 

Lappage, the 2018 world runner-up, dropped her first match against three-time Pan-American medalist Olivia DI BACCO, but earned her spot to the Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier after winning back-to-back matches. She won the second match, 9-0, and the third match, 4-2. 

Meanwhile, Linda MORAIS, the 59kg world champion, dropped down to the Olympic weight of 57kg and easily punched her ticket to Ottawa with a pair of falls over Hannah TAYLOR. 

Women’s Wrestling
50kg - Jessie MACDONALD df. Madison PARKS, two matches to none (7-2, 12-1)
53kg - Samantha STEWART df. Jade PARSONS, two matches to none (11-0, 2-2)
57kg - Linda MORAIS df. Hannah TAYLOR, two matches to none (via fall, via fall)
 62kg - Michelle FAZZARI df. Jessica BROUILLETTE, two matches to none (3-0, 3-2) 
68kg - Danielle LAPPAGE df. Olivia DI BACCO, two matches to one (5-8, 9-0, 4-2) 
76kg - Erica WIEBE df. Justina DI STASIO, two matches to none (5-2, 2-1)

57kg - Ligrit SADIUKU df. Aso PALANI, two matches to one (3-4, 12-2, 4-1)
65kg - Dillon WILLIAMS df. Chris MCISAAC, two matches to none (5-2, 5-1)
74kg - Jasmit PHULKA df. Tyler ROWE, two matches to none (6-2, 6-5)
86kg - Clayton PYE df. Alex BROWN-THERIAULT, two matches to one (15-4, 2-9, 13-2)
97kg - Jordan STEEN df. Nishan RANDHAWA, two matches to none (13-2, 12-2)
125kg - Amar DHESI df. Korey JARVIS, two matches to none (11-0, 10-0)

2. Olympic Champs Ramonov and Snyder Win Alans International Tournament
Olympic champions Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) and Kyle SNYDER (USA) finished atop the podium at the Alans International Tournament in Vladikavkaz, Russia, as nine Russians claimed gold medals.

Ramonov, who has been wrestling at 70kg since 2017, returned to 65kg for the first time since his magical run to Olympic gold in Rio, and defeated Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS), 3-0, in the finals at 65kg. 

The Alans was Ramonov’s third tournament back since undergoing back surgery over a year ago. The Olympic champion finished in second place at the Akhmed Kadyrov Cup and third place at the Vladimir Semenov Tournament. 

Last November, Ramonov told United World Wrestling, “It’s true that I had an operation on my back last week, but I’ve already got back to work and started physical therapy.” Ramonov went on to say, “I expect to return to the mat in January, and hopefully enter a tournament at 65kg closer to the fall.” 

America’s Kyle Snyder was the second Olympic champion who won an Alans gold medal. To win his gold, “Captain America” used a takedown and three one-point maneuvers to move past 2018 European champion Vladislav BAITSAEV (RUS), 5-2, in the 97kg finals.

Meanwhile, Ahmed IDRISOV (RUS) and Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) were also apart of Russia’s gold-medal winning cast. 

Idrisov, the younger brother of reigning world silver medalist Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS), scored a three-point win (5-2) over the two-time world bronze medalist ERDENEBAT Behbayar (MGL) in the 57kg finals.

Tsabolov, the 2014 world champion, defeated two-time world medalist James GREEN (USA), 7-4, in the 74kg finals. Up until the Alans, Tsabolov's finals opponent had competed down at 70kg for 20 consecutive tournaments and was making his first career appearance up at the Olympic weight class of 74kg.

In the finals, the Russian gave up an early takedown and trailed 2-0, but scored an inactivity point that was followed by a takedown and a pair of laces to win the match by three points. 

57kg - Ahmed IDRISOV (RUS) df. ERDENEBAT Behbayar (MGL), 5-2
61kg - Ramazan FERZALIEV (RUS) df. Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS), 10-7
65kg - Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) df. Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS), 3-0
70kg - Chermen VALIEV (RUS) df. Ramazan RAMAZANOV (RUS), 4-2
74kg - Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) df. James GREEN (USA), 7-4
79kg - Khalil AMINOV (RUS) df. Kakhaber KHUBEZHTY (RUS), 8-6
86kg - Soslan KTSOEV (RUS) df. Georgy RUBAEV (MDA), 11-1
92kg - Magomed KURBANOV (RUS) df. Mohammad EBRAHIMI (IRI), 4-2
97kg - Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Vladislav BAITSAEV (RUS), 5-2
125kg - Batraz GAZZAYEV (RUS) df. Baldan TSYZHIPOV (RUS), 10-0

Yui SUSAKI (JPN) will try to get back on Japan's women's wrestling team by winning next weekend's All Japan Championships. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

3. All Japan Championships Begin Next Week in Tokyo 
Yui SUSAKI will join Rio Olympic silver medalists Shinobu OTA and Rei HIGUCHI next week on their quest to claim All Japan Championship gold and lock up their spots on Japan’s Asian Olympic Games Qualifier team. 

The winners of the All Japan Championships, which will take place at Tokyo’s Komazawa Gymnasium on December 19-22, and will travel to China in March with hopes of doing what their fellow Japanese teammates couldn’t do at the 2019 World Championships -- qualify their respective weight for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Susaki, a two-time world champion, will be joined by career rival Yuki IRIE and Rio Olympic champion Erie TOSAKA in the 50kg bracket. Earlier this year, Susaki was stunned by Irie, which kept her from defending her world titles from 2017 and ’18. 

Meanwhile, Rio Olympic runner-ups Ota and Higuchi will be moving weight classes in preparations to improve their silver medals from 2016. 

Ota, this year’s 63kg world champion, will be moving up to 67kg. He planned on dropping down to 60kg, but Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) not only won the world title, but he also locked up his seat on Japan’s Olympic team at the weight. So that left Ota with no choice but to go up to 67kg.

Next weekend, Ota will challenge defending national champion Shogo TAKAHASHI, defending national runner-up Tsuchika SHIMOYAMADA and last year’s U23 world champion Katsuaki ENDO, for the 67kg spot.

Rei HIGUCHI, who is dropping down to 57kg from 65kg, will have to get through Yuki TAKAHASHI if he has hopes of representing Japan in a second straight Olympics. The task won't be easy, as Takahashi has been one of the best wresters at the weight over the past three years. Higuchi's potential opponent was the world champion in 2017 and world bronze medalist in 2018. But after a disappointing 10th-place finish in Nur-Sultan, Takahashi left the door open for others to challenge, which is why Higuchi is making the change. 

For more information about the All Japan Championships, visit http://www.japan-wrestling.org.

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Talks Tokyo, Burroughs, Sidakov and injury recovery.

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4. Chamizo Announces Plans to Compete at January’s Matteo Pellicone
In an interview with United World Wrestling, Italian superstar Frank CHAMIZO announced that he’ll wrestle at the first Ranking Series event of 2020, the Matteo Pellicone. “I’m going to Rome for the Ranking Series tournament. Right now, I’m training for there in New York,” said the two-time world champion. Chamizo went further, saying, “It will be good. It’s home!”

Chamizo has been one of the biggest supporters of UWW’s Ranking Series events. After winning a gold medal at the third Ranking Series tournament of the year, the Sassari City Tournament, Chamizo said, “I need the training and I need the matches. But the reason for competing so much is I need the Ranking Series points. That’s important.”

Chamizo has competed in four of the eight Ranking Series events since its inception in 2018 and has medaled in each of those four appearances. This year, Chamizo used the Ranking Series events to climb to the top of the world ranking, and ultimately the No. 1 seed at the World Championships, after collecting points at the European Championships, Dan Kolov, Sassari City Tournament and Yasar Dogu.   

With the Olympics seeding the top-four wrestlers at each weight for the first time ever, you can bet that Chamizo will again have his eye on the top seed, and his quest to grab that top seed kicks off at the Matteo Pellicone, which takes place January 15-18. 

Chamizo’s Ranking Series Resume
Yasar Dogu – gold 

Sassari – gold 
Yasar Dogu – silver 

Dan Kolov – bronze 

5. Fort Worth to Host U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier Next Week
The road to State College, Pennsylvania, for the Olympic Trials made its first stop in New York for the Bill Farrell Memorial and will make its second stop next weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, for the U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier. The Fort Worth Convention Center will host the two-day tournament from December 20-22.

According to USA Wrestling, “The Senior Freestyle top-5 finishers per weight category at the 2019 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier will earn a spot in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials,” which will take place in State College, Pennsylvania, on April 4-5.

Our friends at www.flowrestling.org have the streaming rights to the U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier. Wrestling kicks off at 11:00 (local time) on December 20. 

Selection Process for 2020 Toyko Olympic Games

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- El Sayed M. (EGY)
2. Top-10 Throws from 2019
3. Top-Five Scrambles from 2019
4. Who scored on this exchange?
5. #TBT - Semenov Smashes Coon, Giving Russia Sixth GR World Gold

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— #uww #unitedworldwrestling

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