Moldova Lightweights Light Up Opponents in European U23 Greco-Roman

By William May

WALBRZYCH, Poland (March 28) – Moldova’s Victor CIOBANU (59kg) and Daniel CATARAGA (71kg) lit up seven opponents to advance the gold medal finals on the opening day of Greco-Roman competition at the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships. 

Senior European runner-up Ciobanu and 2013 junior bronze medal winner Cataraga outscored seven opponents, 58-9, in the morning session and will be looking for their first continental crowns on Saturday evening.

Ciobanu will square off with 2012 junior world champion Zaur KABALOEV (RUS) for the first gold medal of the Greco-Roman events and Cataraga will face junior Nordic champion Daniel SOINI (SWE) in the 71kg final.

Other championship bouts on tap at Aqua Zdroj Sports Center will feature junior world bronze medalists Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) and Sargis KOCHARYAN (ARM) battling for the 80kg crown, and Tuomas LAHTI (FIN) and Fatih BASKOY (TUR) meeting in the day’s finale at 98kg.

The Turkish faithful in the arena were especially excited to see Baskoy battle his way into the championship round since it will be Turkey’s first chance at a gold medal in Walbrzych -- after seven bronze medals in the men’s and women’s freestyle events.
Along with Baskoy, Turkey will seek to add to its bronze medal haul with former cadet world team member Firat MURAT (59kg) and Dogan GOKTAS (80kg), who finished in fifth at the 2013 junior world meet.

Georgia also has a pair – Khvitcha TCHITAVA (59kg) and two-time junior European bronze medalist Kukuri KIRTSKHALIA (98kg) – seeking to join Gobadze on the medals podium.

Pairings for Saturday evening’s medal finals:

59kg (17 entries)
Gold - Zaur KABALOEV (RUS) v Victor CIOBANU (MDA)
Bronze - Firat MURAT (TUR) v Khvicha TCHITAVA (GEO)
Bronze - Tamas NADJ (SRB) v Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE)

71kg (20 entries)
Gold - Daniel SOINI (SWE) v Daniel CATARAGA (MDA)
Bronze - Nicolas CHRISTEN (SUI) v Zoltan LEVAI (HUN)
Bronze - Tsimur BERDIEV (BLR) v Aleksei KIYANKIN (RUS)

80kg (16 entries)
Gold - Sargis KOCHARYAN (ARM) v Lasha GOBADZE (GEO)
Bronze - Radik KULIEV (BLR) v Jonas PLATO (SWE
Bronze - Dogan GOKTAS (TUR) v Zoltan KERI (HUN)  

98kg (15 entries)
Gold - Toumas LAHTI (FIN) v Fatih BASKOY (TUR)
Bronze - Kukuri KIRTSKHALIA (GEO) v Peter OHLER (GER)
Bronze - Martin Hamlet NIELSEN (NOR) v Evgeni GENCHEV (BUL)