Wiebe, Gray to Meet in Semifinals; Mensah Dominates Soronzonbold

By Andrew Hipps

BUDAPEST, Hungary (October 23) -- Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) and three-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) both missed last year's World Championships. Both showed they are back by reaching the semifinals with come-from-behind victories in their quarterfinal matches on Tuesday at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The two wrestlers will now meet in the semifinals at 76kg.

Wiebe trailed 2014 world champion Aline FOCKEN (GER) 4-2 with less than a minute remaining in the match before getting a takedown to take the lead on criteria. She added another takedown with 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory. 

Gray found herself in a 6-3 hole with a minute and 30 seconds remaining in her quarterfinal match against Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) before she secured a takedown and ran the Kazakhstan wrestler over for the fall with just over a minute remaining.

On the top side of the 76kg bracket, reigning world champion Yasemin ADAR (TUR) was unscored open in the opening session, picking up a 10-0 technical fall in her first match and following it up with a 7-0 victory in the quarterfinals over Hiroe MINAGAWA SUZUKI (JPN). She will face local favorite Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) in the semifinals.

Perhaps the most impressive performance of Tuesday's opening session came from Tamyra MENSAH (USA), who dominated two-time world champion Battsetseg SORONZONBOLD (MGL) 10-0 in the quarterfinals at 68kg. Mensah jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the opening period on the strength of three takedowns. She then put the match away early in the second period with another takedown.  Soronzonbold was coming off a 5-2 win over past world champion Jenny FRANSSON (SWE). 

Mensah now faces Koumba LARROQUE (FRA), who remains on track in her quest to add a senior gold medal to a resume that includes world golds at the U23, junior and cadet levels. Larroque opened her competition with two falls before earning an 11-3 victory over Olivia DI BACCO (CAN) in the quarterfinals. 

Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) and Feng ZHOU (CHN), both past world bronze medalists, will meet in the semifinals in the top half of the bracket at 68kg. 

At 65kg, Top-seeded Petra OLLI (FIN) survived a scare in her first match as she snuck past Sofiya GEORGIEVA (BUL) 4-4 on criteria. She then punched her ticket to the semifinals with a 6-2 win over Ritu RITU (IND).

Her semifinals opponent will be Ayana GEMPEI (JPN), a world champion at the U23 and junior divisions. Gempei cruised to a 6-1 victory in the quarterfinals over Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE). 

On the bottom side of the 65kg bracket, Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN), a 2010 junior world champion, picked up three takedowns en route to a 6-2 win over Forrest MOLINARI (USA). Lappage will now face Iryna NETREBA (AZE), who blanked Chuying TANG (CHN) 3-0 in the quarterfinals. 

Egypt has a semifinalist in women's wrestling in Samar HAMZA (EGY), who dominated Naruha MATSUYUKI (JPN) 12-1 in the quarterfinals at 72kg. Hamza is one win away from reaching the gold-medal match, but standing in her way is returning world bronze medalist Justina DI STASIO (CAN). Di Stacio is one of three semifinalists today for Canada, along with Lappage and Wiebe.

Three-time world bronze medalist Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL) edged Buse TOSUN (TUR) 7-6 in the quarterfinals at 72kg, setting up a semifinal meeting with Juan WANG (CHN). Wang has been dominant thus far, picking up two technical falls and outscoring her opponents 23-1. 

The semifinals will take place at 4:45 p.m. local time. 

Semifinal Matchups

Women's Wrestling

Petra Maarit OLLI (FIN) vs. Ayana GEMPEI (JPN) 
Iryna NETREBA (AZE) vs. Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN)

Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) vs. Tamyra MENSAH (USA) 

Justina DI STASIO (CAN) vs. Samar HAMZA (EGY) 
Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL) vs. Juan WANG (CHN)

Yasemin ADAR (TUR) vs. Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) 
Erica WIEBE (CAN) vs. Adeline GRAY (USA)


Surkov Dominates Stefanek to Win Gold, Basar Repeats

By Andrew Hipps

BUDAPEST, Hungary (October 27) -- Artem SURKOV (RUS) capped off a strong year by winning his first Greco-Roman world title with dominating victory over Olympic champion Davor STEFANEK (SRB) on Saturday at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

The 25-year-old Russian scored his first two points off passivity calls -- one in each period -- before executing a side lift throw for points in the second period. A failed challenge would give Surkov his seventh point for a 7-0 shutout victory over Stefanek.

This year, Surkov claimed gold medals at several events, including the European Championships, Ljubomir Ivanovic Gedza International, Kristjan Palusalu Memorial and Ivan Poddubny Tournament. 

Surkov was one of two gold medalists for Russia on Saturday. The other Russian to win gold in Greco-Roman on Saturday was Sergey EMELIN (RUS) at 60kg. 

Emelin, like Surkov, was dominant in the finals. He used two four point moves on his way to a 10-1 technical fall over Victor CIOBANU (MDA) in the gold-medal match at 60kg. 

The Russian threw Ciobanu for four points just 15 seconds into the match to grab an early 4-0 lead. In the second period, after the Moldovan scored with a step out, Emelin used a pinch headlock to score four more points. He then ended the match with a gut wrench. 

Emelin was unchallenged throughout the competition, outscoring his opposition 44-1 in five matches. 

Metehan BASAR (TUR) repeated as a world champion by defeating 2016 Olympic silver medalist Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) 2-1 at 87kg in the final gold-medal match on Saturday. 

All three points scored in the 87kg gold-medal match came from passivity calls. Beleniuk scored the first point and led 1-0 at the break. But Basar controlled the action in the final period, scoring two passivity points to take the victory. 

Bronze medals at 60kg were won by Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) and Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ). Walihan rolled to a 9-0 technical fall over Kristian FRIS (SRB) After a scoreless first minute, Walihan finished the match with a five-point throw. Sultangali edged Se Ung RI (PRK) 1-1.

Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) showcased a strong par terre game as he cruised to a 9-0 technical fall in the first bronze-medal match at 67kg. Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) blanked Danijel JANECIC (CRO) 7-0 for the other bronze medal at 67kg. 

At 87kg, Roberti KOBLIASHVILI (GEO) won his second straight world bronze medal by topping Bekkhan OZDOEV (RUS). Artur SHAHINYAN (ARM) pulled away late to defeat Islam ABBASOV (AZE) 7-1 for the other bronze medal at 87kg. 

Russia leads in the Greco-Roman team standings with 103 points, while Turkey sits in second place with 75 points. Azerbaijan (54), Hungary (53) and Armenia (46) round out the top five teams.

Finals Results


GOLD: Sergey EMELIN (RUS) df. Victor CIOBANU (MDA) by VSU1, 10-1
BRONZE: Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ) df. Se Ung RI (PRK) by VPO1, 1-1
BRONZE: Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) df. Kristian FRIS (SRB) by VSU, 9-0

GOLD: Artem SURKOV (RUS) df. Davor STEFANEK (SRB) by VPO, 7-0
BRONZE: Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) df. Danijel JANECIC (CRO) by VPO, 7-0
BRONZE: Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) df. Mamadassa SYLLA (FRA) by VSU, 9-0

GOLD: Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) by VPO1, 2-1
BRONZE: Roberti KOBLIASHVILI (GEO) df. Bekkhan OZDOEV (RUS) by VPO1, 4-2
BRONZE: Artur SHAHINYAN (ARM) df. Islam ABBASOV (AZE) by VPO1, 6-1