Khinchegashvili Storms from Behind to Defend European C’ships Crown

By William May

NOVI SAD, Serbia (May 4) – Rio 2016 gold medalist Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) stormed back from five points down to claim his third continental crown Thursday with a 10-9 victory at the European Senior Wrestling Championships.

Khinchegashvili, known for his unorthodox counter style of wrestling, gave up a five-point back-arching throw to world bronze medalist Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS) late in the first period of their 61kg championship bout at Spens Sport Hall.

Khinchegashvili started his long road back in the second period with a series of low-level attacks, then combined for a takedown and gut wrench to take an 8-7 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the bout. The 2015 world champ added one more takedown and gave up another for the final 10-9 tally.

In the day’s finale, defending champion and Rio bronze medal winner Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) remained patient in his 74kg final with European junior champion Murad SULEYMANOV (AZE), scoring late to secure a 6-4 win.

Earlier in the women’s events, Yasmine ADAR (TUR) defended her 75kg crown with a 10-0 technical fall over recently crown two-time European under-23 champion Zsanett NEMETH (HUN). It was her second technical fall of the day as she outscored four opponents 32-5.

In the day’s first gold medal bout, Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) avenged a 14-14 loss to Katsiaryna HANCHAR (BLR) in the final of the Dan Kolov tourney one month ago with a 9-3 triumph in the 55kg championship in Novi Sad.

Bronze Medal Bouts - Freestyle, 61kg & 74kg

Andrei PERPELITA (MDA) dropped Petr BILEICHUK (UKR) to his back for four points in the final minute of their bout at 61kg to win 10-10 on criteria.

In the second bronze medal final, Volodya FRANGULYAN (ARM) rolled to a 10-0 technical fall over Abdi ZURNACI (TUR) with a trap-arm gut wrench that included his head in his opponent’s armpit.

At 74kg, Grigor GRIGORYAN (ARM) won a cat-and-mouse match, 9-3, over Kyrillos BINENMPAOUM (GRE) and Yarygin Grand Prix titlist Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) broke to an 8-0 lead over U23 silver medalist Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA).

Bronze Medal Bouts - Women’s Wrestling, 55kg & 75kg

After a disappointing loss to Dudova in the semifinals, Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE) took former no-gi grappler Merima GALETIN (SRB) to her back with a double-leg attack and held for the fall at 48 seconds of the bout.

Mathlide RIVIERE (FRA) earned an out-of-bound point in the second period and was awarded another point from a lost challenge from the Russian corner for a 4-2 win over Alexandra ANDREEVA (RUS) at 61kg.

Svetlana SAENKO (MDA), a bronze medal winner at the 2015 European Games, defeated two-time U23 silver medalist Anna SCHELL, 8-3, while Epp MAE (EST) edged 2015 European Games champion Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR), 2-1, for her first continental medal as a senior.

Results of Thursday evening’s medal finals and semifinals:


61kg (17 entries)
Gold – Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) df. Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS), 10-9 
Bronze – Volodya FRANGULYAN (ARM) df. Abdi ZURNACI (TUR) by TF, 10-0, 1:01 
Bronze – Andrei PERPELITA (MDA) df. Petr BILEICHUK (UKR), 10-10

Semifinal – Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS) df. Volodya FRANGULYAN (ARM) by TF, 11-1, 1:31
Semifinal – Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) df. Petr BILEICHUK (UKR), 8-2

74kg (20 entries)
Gold – Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) df. Murad SULEYMANOV (AZE), 6-4
Bronze – Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA), 12-5
Bronze – Grigor GRIGORYAN (ARM) df. Kyrillos BINENMPAOUM (GRE), 9-3

Semifinal – Murad SULEYMANOV (AZE) df. Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS), 5-3
Semifinal – Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) df. Grigor GRIGORYAN (ARM), 8-6

Women’s Wrestling

55kg (10 entries)
Gold – Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) df. Katsiaryna HANCHAR (BLR), 9-3 
Bronze – Mathilde RIVIERE (FRA) df. Aleksandra ANDREEVA (RUS), 4-2
Bronze – Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE) df. Merima GALETIN (SRB) by Fall, 0:48 (6-0)

Semifinal – Katsiaryna HANCHAR (BLR) df. Mathilde RIVIERE (FRA), 4-2
Semifinal – Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) df. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE), 12-10

75kg (11 entries)
Gold – Yasemin ADAR (TUR) df. Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) by TF, 10-0, 2:25 
Bronze – Svetlana SAENKO (MDA) df. Anna SCHELL (GER), 8-3 
Bronze – Epp MAE (EST) df. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR), 2-1

Semifinal – Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) df. Svetlana SAENKO (MDA), 4-3
Semifinal – Yasemin ADAR (TUR) df. Epp MAE (EST), 5-4