Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! July 2, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing special wrestle-offs for Russia, Canada, and Japan. Also looking at the European Games and the Yasar Dogu entries. 

1. Russian National Championships Begin This Week 
The Ice Palace Sports Arena in Adler, Krasnodar, Russia, will host the National Championships for the defending freestyle world champions July 4-7. But, only four wrestlers will lock up their spot on the world team spot. The other winners will have to wait until early August to hopefully book their trip to Kazakhstan. 

The reason being, and as I mentioned late last week on Twitter, with a slight adjustment, the Russian Federation released European Games champions: Abdulrashid SADULAEV, Zaurbek SIDAKOV, Dauren KURUGLIEV, and Anzor KHIZRIEV, and bronze medalists Zaur UGUEV and Akhmed CHAKAEV from this week’s tournament. Russia will now hold a special wrestle-off at the Poland Open (Aug. 2-4) to determine the six remaining world team representatives. The special wrestle-offs were originally scheduled to take place at the Tbilisi GP but were moved after recent travel restrictions between Russia to Georgia.

SCHEDULE
July 4th (Thursday) 

17.00-17.30 - Draw for weight categories up to 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.

July 5th (Friday)
08.30-09.00 - Medical examination and weigh in for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.
11.00-18.00 - Preliminary matches for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg. 
18.00-18.30 – Draws for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125 kg.
18.30-20.30 - Semifinal for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.

July 6th (Saturday) 
08.30-08.45 - Weighing in for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.
08.45-09.15 - Medical examination and weigh in for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.
11.00-18.00 - Consolation matches for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.
11.00-18.00 - Preliminary and semifinal matches for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg. 
18.00-18.30 - Opening ceremony. 
18.30-20.30 - Finalsl for 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg.

July 7 (Sunday) 
08.30-08.45 - Weighing in for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.
11.00-13.00 - Consolation for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.
13.00-15.00 - Final matches for 61kg, 70kg, 79kg, 92kg, 125kg.

2. Lappage Gains World Team Spot, Named Canada’s Rep at 68kg
Budapest world silver medalist Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) bumped up from her world championship weight of 65kg to the Olympic weight of 68kg and defeated Olivia DI BACCO (CAN), two matches to none (2-1 and 11-1) and gained the Canadian world team spot. 

With her win last week, Lappage will represent Canada on the world stage for the third time in her career. In her first trip to the World Championships (2014), she finished in eighth place, then rounded out last year with a world silver medal. In addition to her three times representing Canada at the World Championships, Dappage also represented Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games where she suffered an injury during warms up and was forced to medically forfeit out of her opening round match.

To top off her week, the newly minted 68kg world team rep also won a Canada Cup title. Lappage stomped Jayden LAURENT (USA), 10-0 and took home her first 68kg medal of the year after falling in the finals of the Sassari and the Grand Prix of Germany. 

3. Japan's Olympic-Weight World Team to be Finalized This Weekend
After the July 6 winner-take-all wrestle-offs, Japan will have their world team spots locked up at the Olympic weight classes. There are still three freestyle, two women’s wrestling and one Greco-Roman spot up for grabs, but all eyes will be locked into the three matches where a reigning world champion is one match away from defending their world gold. 

Starting with the 50kg match where two-time defending world champion Yui SUSAKI will meet her nemesis Yuki IRIE. 

Irie, the reigning Asian champion, is the only wrestler on Earth who has defeated Susaki multiple times. She gained the advantage over Susaki after winning December’s All-Japan Championships (Emperor’s Cup) - - a tournament in which Susaki was forced to sit out after she dislocated her elbow. 

Susaki then defeated Irie en route to her Meiji Cup gold and forced the July 6 wrestle-off. 

In the second highly anticipated match, Olympic champions Risako KAWAI and Kaori ICHO will meet for the world team spot at one of the deepest women’s weights in the world, 57kg. 

Rio Olympic champion Kawai fell to four-time Olympic champion Icho in the All-Japan finals but got revenge at the Meiji Cup and redeemed herself with a 6-4 victory. 

The third match featuring a returning world champion will take place at 65kg where Japan’s youngest male world champion in wrestling history Takuto OTOGURO will square off against Rio silver medalist Rei HIGUCHI.

Otoguro fell in his Meiji Cup final to Higuchi, 15-5, and will need to win on July 6 to regain his 65kg spot on the freestyle team.

4. Yasar Dogu Entries Released 
The most anticipated freestyle Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu, will take place July 11 to 14 in Istanbul, and more than 275 wrestlers from 21 countries are expected to make the journey to Turkey's most populated city. The goal remains simple: try to pocket the remaining Ranking Series points before heading to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, for September's World Championships. 

Since the Budapest World Championships, wrestlers have been stashing away Ranking Series points with hopes of becoming one of the forty top-four seeded wrestlers come September. The Yasar Dogu leaves those on the cusp of earning a top-four seed one last opportunity to gain those additional much-needed Ranking Series points. 

Heading into Istanbul, five wrestlers have seized the No. 1 seed, 17 wrestlers have cemented at least a top-four seed, leaving 23 seeds open for the taking in Istanbul. Though they're not all entered, there are still 150 wrestlers who could steal a seed from a current top-four seeded wrestler if they were to win a gold medal in a weight class with 20+ wrestlers in Turkey. 

Click HERE for full list of entries. 

5. Successful European Games Conclude in Minsk, Belarus 
The 2nd European Games wrapped up in Minsk, Belarus, with Russia winning the freestyle and Greco-Roman team titles, while Ukraine walked off with the women’s wrestling team title. 

In freestyle, Russia finished with six medalists, four of which were gold, and won the team title 20 points ahead of second-place Azerbaijan, and 52 points ahead of third place Georgia. The main storyline coming from the freestyle side of the competition was Abdulrashid Sadulaev becoming the first freestyle wrestler to win back-to-back European Games titles. 

In Greco-Roman, Russia won the team title, while 2016 Olympic champion Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) got back to his winning ways after failing to medal in Budapest. Aleksanyan lifted and tossed his way to his first European Games title at 97kg in Greco-Roman. The 27-year-old Armenian shut out local favorite Aliaksandr HRABOVIK (BLR) 5-0 in the gold-medal match.

In women’s wrestling, Ukraine finished in first place, 18 points ahead of the host nation Belarus, while two women made history by reaching the podium for a second consecutive time. 

Sweden’s Sofia MATTSSON and Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) became the first women two-time champions in the short history of the European Games. 

In the finals, Mattsson, a Rio Olympic bronze medalist, narrowly edged Yulia KHAVALDZHY (UKR), 6-6 after giving up a what seemed to be a match-deciding takedown. However, after a Swedish challenge, Mattsson luckily found herself on the winning end of the match and became the first-ever wrestler to win two European Games golds.  

Marzaliuk was the second women to win two straight European Games titles. Her finals match went a little different than Mattsson's, as she dominated Francy RAEDELT (GER), 9-0 in the 76kg finals.

Click HERE for the European Games event hub. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media! 

1. Big Move Monday -- N. NARMANDAKH (MGL) -- 2017 Cadet Worlds
2. #best10 from Day 4 at the U-15 European 
3. HERSTORY MADE! @sofiammattsson becomes the first-ever two-time European Games champion! 
4. Has Mahir AMIRASLANOV (AZE) been the most impressive wrestler of the European Games thus far?
5. Tickets for #WrestleNurSultan are on sale! Go to http://ow.ly/obUz50uM54Q to buy your tickets and come support the best wrestlers in the world. Are you in?