After 623 Days, World Championships Return with Cadets' in Budapest

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (July 18) --- When the wrestlers take the mat Monday in Budapest, Hungary, it will mark the start of a World Championships for United World Wrestling after a gap of 623 days. The last time wrestlers descended for a World Championships was back in October, 2019, incidentally in Budapest.

Though the event in Budapest will be a cadet level, more than 500 wrestlers will fight for 30 gold medals on offer in the Hungarian capital from July 19 to 25.

With the Tokyo Olympics beginning in the middle of the cadet Worlds, it may serve as extra motivation for a few who will go on to represent their respective countries in the Olympics in Paris or Los Angeles over the next two Olympic cycles.

Since the start of this year, United World Wrestling has successfully conducted international events including four Olympic qualifying tournaments, three senior continental championships, and two continental championships at the cadet level. The World Championships will only add to the success story of wrestling competitions being organized with highest preventive measures in place during the pandemic.

Six countries are bringing a full squad for 30 wrestlers each for the tournament with defending team champion in freestyle Russian Federation leading the way. Greco-Roman champions from the 2019 tournament in Sofia, Iran will look to defend their title as well.

Two international women's powerhouses Japan and China decided to give the tournament a skip owing to COVID-19 related restrictions around the world. But this gives teams like USA, third in Sofia, Russia, India and others to lay their claim for the team title.

This tournament will also see two wrestlers from the United Arab Emirates competing at the cadet Worlds for the first time after one each at the 2015 and 2016 editions.

A special condition will see Musza ARSUNKAEV (UWW) wrestling at 80kg in men's freestyle. under the United World Wrestling flag.

While the dull of 2020 saw many cadet stars shift to junior and senior groups and continue their careers, a few medalists from Sofia landed in Budapest to repeat their achievement from two years ago.

The field will be led by the only returning world champion KOMAL (IND) who won the gold medal at 40kg two years back. She will be jumping up to 46kg in Budapest.

Amit ELOR USAAmit ELOR (USA) won a bronze medal at 69kg at the cadet World Championships in 2019. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Amit ELOR (USA), a bronze medalist at 69kg from Sofia, will look to improve on her result from two years ago. She will once again wrestle at 69kg. She had lost in the semifinal last time.

With Japan and China missing from the field, the fight for the team title will be interesting especially with Ukraine women's wrestling seeing an unprecedented rise in recent times.

For that reason, all four medalists from five weight classes of cadet Euros are wrestling in Budapest. 33 medalists out of the 39 in Samokov will be in action in Hungary. All 10 gold medalists are entered.

At 40kg, Anastasiia POLSKA (UKR) won the gold at cadet Euros while her teammates from Ukraine -- Mariia YEFREMOVA (UKR)) and Iryna BONDAR (UKR) – won the top medals at 49kg and 61kg respectively .

Russia also had a few gold medalists as Millena VINOGRADOVA (RUS) won at 43kg, Natalia KHRAMENKOVA (RUS) won at 53kg and Mariia AKULINCHEVA (RUS) won at 73kg.

Belarus is sending 49kg gold medalist Sviatlana KATENKA (BLR) in a hope that she repeats her feat at the world level. The same will be expected from Viktoryia RADZKOVA (BLR) at 69kg.

Georgiana LIRCA (ROU) and Angelina PERVUKHINA (RUS) will hope for a rematch at 57kg as the Romanian came out on top in the last month's tournament.

The home country has pinned their hopes for a gold medal on Eniko ELEKES (HUN) who stunned the field at 65kg in Samokov to win the gold medal.

Kamronbek KADAMOV UZBKamronbek KADAMOV (UZB) won a silver medal at the 2019 cadet World Championships. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

In freestyle, the two biggest names are Kamronbek KADAMOV (UZB) who won a silver medal at 48kg at the Sofia Worlds but has jumped to 60kg now. The other name is Javid JAVADOV (AZE). He finished fifth in Sofia but he was a young cadet that year. Just a month ago, Javadov won the silver medal at the cadet European Championships at 51kg and will perform at 55kg in Budapest.

Out of the 40 medalists at the cadet Euros in May, 29 are entered to wrestle in Budapest with all four medalists at 80kg and 110kg sending their names.

Andranik AVETISYAN (ARM), who won the gold medal at cadet Euros will look to repeat that success at the world level as well at 55kg. Another Armenian Aren ISRAYELYAN (ARM) will be looking to do the same at 71k.

At 80kg, Oleksandr MAMROSH (UKR) will have challenges from his fellow podium finishers from Samokov, Bulgaria and a chance of rematch against Tornike SAMKHARADZE (GEO) as the two in the finals in Samokov.

Levan LAGVILAVA (FRA) will be out to prove that his cadet Euro gold at 110kg was no fluke as he also has his fellow podium finishers in the field. Add to them the champion from Pan Am Championships James MULLEN (USA).

Other Pan Am champions who are entered in the freestyle field in Budapest are Bowen BASSETT (USA) at 45kg, Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) at 48kg and Beau MANTANONA (USA) at 60kg.

A similar situation awaits in Greco-Roman. However, there is only one returning medalist from Sofia -- Tamazi GLONTI (GEO) who won a bronze at 45kg and will now compete at 55kg.

Tamazi GLONTI GEOTamazi GLONTI (GEO) won a bronze at 45kg at cadet World Championships 2019. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

While Iran has no returning medalist, the new team can still show why they are dubbed as the powerhouse of Greco-Roman wrestling. Along with Iran, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will also be challenging the world.

But a host of medalists from cadet Euros will be in action. Four weight classes have all the four medalists competing in Budapest and a total of 31 medalists out of 40 from Samokov.

Rahim HASANOV (AZE) will be looking to win a world gold as well after winning the Euro gold medal. But in his path will be the three other medalists from the same tournament and Bassett from USA who also won the 45kg Greco-Roman gold in Mexico.

Azerbaijan entered European champ Faraim MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) at 48kg and he will also look for his second gold medal of the year. At 51kg, Borislav KIRILOV (BUL) is the continental champion looking for world glory.

Another Azerbaijani, Farid KHALILOV (AZE) is the European champ entered in Budapest but so is Brock BOBZIEN (USA) who is the champion of Pan Ams at 60kg.

Ukraine will have their Euro champ at 65kg Imed KHUDZHADZE (UKR) looking to win a gold medal at Worlds but Anri PUTKARADZE (GEO), a silver medalist from Samokov, is also entered.

71kg European champion Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) is joined by Alperen BERBER (TUR) and Ruslan NURULLAYEV (AZE), silver and bronze medalist from Samkovo respectively.

The field at 80kg makes Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) and his fellow medalist -- Mihai GUTU (MDA), Ivan TSYBANEV (UKR) and Maksim MASIUKEVICH (BLR) – face each other again in less than a month's time. Ryder ROGOTZKE (USA), the Pan Am champ will also try to spring a surprise.

At 92kg, a rematch of the Euros is a possibility as gold medalist Vladyslav LUB (UKR) and silver medalist Timur CHERNYSHEV (RUS) are entered along with the two bronze medalists

Two continental champions -- Daniil CHASOVNIKOV (RUS) and Mullen – are entered at 110kg along with other medalists from Europe.

Wrestling will begin Monday with freestyle action in 48kg, 55kg, 65kg, 80kg and 110kg and run through to Sunday with Greco-Roman capping off things.


Georgia Claim #WrestleBudapest GR Title Despite Two Kyrgyzstan Gold

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (July 25) --- Just like the freestyle and women's wrestling in Budapest, a new nation claimed the Greco-Roman team title for the first time. Georgia, which claimed two bronze medals on the final day of the cadet World Championships, won their first-ever team title in the history of the tournament.

The country did not have any finalists Sunday but it finished with two gold, a silver and three bronze medals to register with 141 points, the most among all the participants.

India had claimed their first-ever freestyle team title on Wednesday while USA won the women's team title on Friday, the first for them as well in the history of the tournament.

Ukraine finished in second position in Greco-Roman with two gold, two silver and a bronze medal, giving them 127 points. Defending champions Russia were third with 124 points that accumulated via two gold, two silver and a bronze medal.

Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ)Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) won the gold at 51kg in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Though they finished fourth in the team title race, Kyrgyzstan won two gold medals Sunday as Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) and Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) won their weight classes.

Suiorkulov denied Yurii TOVT (UKR) the gold medal at 51kg as he won 3-1. This is the first time in five years that a Kyrgyzstan wrestler won the cadet Worlds. Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) had achieved this feat in 2016, becoming the second only for the country.

"I am so glad to become the world champion," Suiorkulov said. "I wasn't worried during they day. I thought I was going to win the match."

Tovt was warned for passivity in the first period which gave Suiorkulov the lead and he scored two more points from the par-terre position to lead 3-0 at the break. Suiorkulov, who was also at the 2019 Worlds, was also penalized for being passive but he defended the par-terre position and the lead to claim the gold medal 3-1.

"Since my World Championship in 2019, I was preparing well," he said. "We had some tough days. During the COVID, I kept training at home."

Asked how he took up the sport of wrestling, he said that his friends made him do wrestling but he has emerged to be the most successful one. "My friends made me start my wrestling training as we were going to the gym together," he said. "Thanks you, my friends! None of them achieve such results in wrestling though."

Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ)Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) celebrates after winning the 60kg world title in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 60kg, Beishekeev overcame Seyyedmostafa REZAEI DARYAKENARI (IRI) 4-1 in the final with ease. While it was the Iranian who led at the break 1-0 but Beishekeev scored four points in the second period for the win.

Rezaei Daryakenari was awarded the point for Beishekeev's passivity but failed to capitalize from the position. In the second period, the Iranian was called passive giving Beishekeev a 1-1 criteria lead. In the par terre position, Rezaei Daryakenari was called for fleeing and cautioned, added two more points to Beishekeev's score.

Iran challenged the call but the judges upheld the referee's decision. The added point for lost challenge made the score 4-1 for Beishekeev's score which remained till the clock expired. 

Another Iran wrestler was denied the gold medal as Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) defeated Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI) 2-1 at the 71kg final. Solovei was leading on criteria 1-1 but was struggling to match the pace of Abdevali in the final few seconds.

Abdevali tried to score via stepout in the final three seconds but was not awarded by the referee. Iran coaches challenged the call, claiming there was a clear stepout but the judge withheld the referee's call after the replay, giving the Moldovan wrestler the win.

Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA)Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) is the world champion at 71kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"Last time I lost to an Iran wrestler, but this time I was confident," Solovei said referring to his loss to Hojat REZAEI (IRI) at the 2019 cadet Worlds. "It's important to wrestle till the last second. Today I got the revenge. I am very happy to get the medal. I hope next year I'll get only the medals like this one."

Solovei has been training in wrestling for the last 10 years and aims to become the Olympic champion one day. "My father was a wrestler as well. He brought me to the sport when I was seven years old. Now I am training in the Olympic village and my biggest dream is to become an Olympic champion. Every day I am thinking only about that."

At 45kg, Ukraine added another gold after the one Saturday with cadet European silver medalist Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) denying Ozodbek KHALIMBOEV (UZB) at the 45kg weight. He snatched a close 2-1 win after scored a step out in the second period.

He was awarded passivity and led 1-0 but he failed to take advantage of the par terre position. In the seconds period, he scored a stepout with a minute and 18 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 2-0. Khalimboev was awarded point for Dementiev passivity with 34 seconds remaining. It was his chance to reverse the match but he failed to score any points on the par terre position.

Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR)Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) celebrates after winning the 45kg gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"I have been waiting for that belt and for this medal for so long." Dementiev said. "After the unsuccessful European Championships where I got the silver medal, I really wanted to become a champion."

Dementiev won the gold medal for Ukraine and said that while preparing for the final, he was trying to remain positive.

"I was thinking about how to make my parents and my coaches happy," he said. "I wanted to prove myself that I can win. My final match was a bit tough, but we made it. When I was in school, there were wrestling classes and I just decided to give it a try. Little be little I started training and now it's been 6 years."

It could have been two for them and the team title but 2021 cadet European champion Vladyslav LUB (UKR) suffered a shock defeat to cadet Euros bronze medalist Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR).

Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR)Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) avenged his cadet European loss to Vladyslav LUB (UKR) at the cadet Worlds on Sunday. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Lub's strategy for the 92kg final backfired when he was awarded the passivity in the first period. He thought he would be able to score from the par terre position but Khaslakhanau's defense proved to be too much.

On the other hand, the Belarusian scored a throw for two points from the par terre in the second period to avenge his loss from the cadet European tournament just a couple of months back.

"We have been working so hard to get this medal," Khaslakhanau, who began wrestling when he was in fifth grade, said. "But it's definitely worth it. I can't even describe my emotions, but believe me it's worth it."

In his preparation for the final, the Belarussian took some motivation from the ongoing Olympics in Tokyo to keep his mind off the match.

"I tried not to think about the match," he said. "We we walking and laughing together with the coach, we were watching the Olympics on TV. Then I just came here, and did what I was supposed to do."

Next week, he will cheering for the Belarus wrestling team as wrestling at Tokyo Olympics, which are already underway, begins from August 1. 

The cadet World Championships were the first Worlds to be held after 623 days, owing to the global health pandemic. Incidentally, the last World Championships – U23 – were also held in Budapest.

RESULTS GR Medal Bouts



GOLD: Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) df Yurii TOVT (UKR), 3-1



BRONZE: SUMIT (IND) df Bagdat SABAZ (KAZ), 8-0

GOLD: Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) df Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI), 2-1

BRONZE: Dimitar RACHEV (BUL) df Islam YEVLOYEV (KAZ), 9-0

GOLD: Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) df Vladyslav LUB (UKR), 3-1