Wrestlers from Six Different Countries Advance to Women’s Finals at #WrestleSofia

By Taylor Miller

Photo of Yulia LESKOVETS (UKR)

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Japan and China each put three athletes in gold-medal matches for the last day of women’s freestyle action at the 2019 Cadet World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. India, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and USA also have wrestlers in the finals.

There will be two head-to-head matchups between Japan and China in tomorrow’s gold matches.

2017 Cadet World champion Hanano SAKURAI (JPN) looks to win another gold medal but will have to face Xueing LIANG (CHN) at 46 kg.

The last bout of the night will feature two-time Cadet World champion Honoka NAKAI (JPN) at 69 kg, facing off against 2019 Cadet Asian bronze medalist Cun LIU (CHN). The two did not meet up in the Asian Championships as Nakai did not go.

Nakai won her last two gold medals at 65 kg.

Japan is also featured in the final at 61 kg, where 2018 Youth Olympic champion and 2018 Cadet World champion Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) will face off against 2019 Cadet European champion Yulia LESKOVETS (UKR).

At 53 kg, the third representative from China, Zhaojing SHI (CHN), will battle for gold. Shi, a 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist, takes on Kalmira BILIMBEK (KGZ), who was fifth in the world last year.

Shi and Bilimbek were at different weights last year.

The finals will take place on Friday at 6 p.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET) live on unitedworldwrestling.org.

Finals matchups
40 kg: Sterling DIAS (USA) vs. Komal KOMAL (IND)
46 kg: Xueing LIANG (CHN) vs. Hanano SAKURAI (JPN)
53 kg: Zhaojing SHI (CHN) vs. Kalmira BILIMBEK (KGZ)
61 kg: Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) vs. Yulia LESKOVETS (UKR)
69 kg: Honoka NAKAI (JPN) vs. Cun LIU (CHN)



Iran wins two individual championships for the Greco-Roman team title at #WrestleSofia

By Taylor Miller

SOFIA, Bulgaria – The 2019 Cadet World Championships came to a close with the last five gold-medal matches in Greco-Roman on Sunday night in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Reza SAKI (IRI), a 2019 Cadet Asian silver medalist, defeated Stepan STARODUBTSEV (RUS), who was second at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, for the crown at 71 kg.

Starodubtsev led, 1-0, at the break, but just moments into the second period, Saki scored on a four-point arm throw. He held onto the lead for the remainder of the bout, winning gold with a 4-1 victory.

For the title at 51 kg, Saeid ESMAEILI LEIVESI (IRI) used a first-period takedown to give him an eventual 2-1 win over Elmir ALIYEV (AZE). It was both wrestlers’ first World Championships.

At 92 kg, 2019 European silver medalist and 2018 European bronze medalist Lachin VALIYEV (AZE) outlasted 2017 Cadet World silver medalist Muhammed EVLOEV (RUS) for the title.

After a scoreless first period, Valiyev scored an early takedown. Evloev could only respond with a pair of step outs. Valiyev held on for the 2-2 win on criteria.

In the title match at 60 kg, 2019 Cadet European champion Maksim SKURATOV (RUS) faced two-time Cadet European medalist Elmir ALIYEV (AZE) in a rematch of the European Championships finals.

Last time they wrestled, Skuratov claimed an 11-0 victory. This time, Aliyev kept the bout more competitive; however, it was not enough. Skuratov won the Cadet World title with a 5-0 win.  

To open the night, 2019 Cadet Asian champion Samatbek IZIMGALI (KAZ) spent only 59 seconds on the mat to claim the gold medal at 45 kg, defeating Asadbek BAKHRAMAOV (UZB) by fall.

Securing two individual champions on Sunday, Iran won the team title with 148 points, followed by Azerbaijan with 123 points and Russia with 99 points.

Finals matchups
45 kg
GOLD - Samatbek IZIMGALI (KAZ) df. Asadbek BAKHRAMAOV (UZB), fall 1:00
BRONZE - Tamazi GLONTI (GEO) df. Vladyslav KURKURIN (UKR), 4-0
BRONZE - Farid SADIKHLI (AZE) df. Mahdi Kioumars AHADI ZENAB (IRI), 8-1

51 kg
BRONZE - Volodymyr VOITOVYCH (UKR) df. Denis MIHAI (ROU), 12-9
BRONZE - Edmond Armen NAZARYAN (BUL) df. Arshad ARSHAD (IND), fall 2:56

60 kg
GOLD - Maksim SKURATOV (RUS) df. Mert ILBARS (TUR), 5-0
BRONZE - Arman VARDANYAN (ARM) df. Zhanbolot TURATBEKOV (KGZ), 6-0
BRONZE - Nika BROLADZE (GEO) df. Seyed Danial Seyed Shamsollah SOHRABI (IRI), 8-6

71 kg
GOLD - Reza SAKI (IRI) df. Stepan STARODUBTSEV (RUS), 4-1
BRONZE - Furkan TAS (TUR) df. Aliaksei PIAKHOTA (BLR), 7-0
BRONZE - Alexandrin GUTU (MDA) df. Rauf Abdulla ALIYEV (AZE), 6-0

92 kg                           
GOLD - Lachin VALIYEV (AZE) dec. Muhammed EVLOEV (RUS), 2-2
BRONZE - Oktay DEMIR (TUR) df. Maik HAIMOV (ISR), 8-0
BRONZE - Richard KARELSON (EST) df. Laszlo Csaba VARSANYI (HUN), 3-0

Team results
1. Iran – 148
2. Azerbaijan – 123
3. Russia – 99
4. Kazakhstan – 73
5. Armenia – 73
6. Turkey – 70
7. India – 63
8. Georgia – 63
9. Ukraine – 62
10. Uzbekistan – 49