Stadnik, Chasing Olympic Gold, Confirms Run for '24 Paris Games

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (January 10) – Mariya STADNIK (AZE) officially put an end to the rumors that she’s hanging up her wrestling shoes, as she told United World Wrestling she's committed to competing through the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. 

There was a slew of retirement announcements following the Tokyo Olympics, and it was heavily speculated that the 33-year-old mother-of-two would call an end to her career after she won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games – her fourth Olympic medal in as many tries. But the nine-time European champion (seven European Championships and two European Games) squashed the rumors, saying she still believes in her potential and has a burning passion for the sport.

“I think that as long as I have the desire to wrestle, I should fulfill all my potential,” Stadnik said. “I made this decision to continue wrestling as soon as I came back home [from Tokyo]. All my relatives and friends believe in me very much.  My son wants me to go on wrestling because he says I am very strong.”

Stadnik, who has a combined ten Worlds and Olympic medals and only ten losses since she made her senior-level debut at the 2008 Golden Grand Prix in Baku, sits alongside Kaori ICHO (JPN) and Saori YOSHIDA (JPN) as the only women in the Games history to claim a quartet of Olympic medals.

If she reaches the podium in Paris, she’d become the first-ever wrestler – male or female – to win five Olympic medals in one style. Furthermore, if Stadnik wins that long-awaited Olympic gold, she’d become the oldest Olympic champion in women’s wrestling by a long shot.

Icho, who won her Rio Olympic title at 32-years-and-2-months-old, holds the current record. Stadnik will be 35-years-and-8-months-old during the ’24 Paris Games.

“I would really love to have five Olympic medals. Each medal is a part of my life story; it’s a part of my way. There are five Olympic Rings, so having five Olympic medals would make history," she said.

But Stadnik, who won a bronze in Beijing and silver in London and Rio, understands that to sustain greatness at her age, she has to listen to her body and can’t compete as often as she once did.

“Competing four or five tournaments a year is perfect for me,” Stadnik explained. “The only problem I might have before going to Paris is I don’t know how my body would react to training. I have some experience that I need to use in the right way in order to compensate for that energy I had when I was 20 years old.”

Owing to a similar reason, the 2019 world champion has limited her participation in tournaments in past. In 2019 and 2021, she participated only in two competitions each year, perhaps to keep her body healthy and reduce the burden of cutting weight before competitions. Although she didn’t say when she plans on lacing up her shoes next, Stadnik is expected to compete at the ’22 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary (March 28 – April 3).

Stadnik's Resume:
Olympic Games: 🥈🥈🥉🥉
World Championships:🥇🥇🥈🥈🥈🥉
Euro Championships: 🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇🥇
European Games: 🥇🥇


Big changes in freestyle rankings after continental championships

By Vinay Siwach

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY (May 25) -- After the completion of four continental championships, United World Wrestling has released a new set of rankings. Wrestlers from all three styles around the world got a chance to improve their ranks which will help them attain seeds at the World Championships.

The European Championships kicked off the season in March followed by the Asian Championships in April before Pan-Am and African Championships rounded off in May. The top eight wrestlers who acquired the most points from the four Ranking Series events and the Continental Championships will earn a seed for September's World Championships, held in Belgrade, Serbia.

Here are the top performers in freestyle after the four tournaments. Full rankings can be accessed at uww.org

Ravi KUMAR (IND)Ravi KUMAR (IND) is ranked second at 57kg. (Photo: UWW / Sachiko Hotaka)

Thomas GILMAN (USA) consolidated his position at the top after winning his first Pan-Am title in May. He had taken the lead over Olympic champion Zavur UGUEV (RWF) by winning the '21 World gold. He has 92200 points.

But Uguev has now slipped to third after Ravi KUMAR (IND) won his third straight Asian title. Having competed at 61kg at the Yasar Dogu Ranking event, Kumar dropped down to 57kg for Asian Championships and collected 10000 points. He now has 51400 points while Uguev is at 51000 points.

At the European Championships Vladimir EGOROV (MKD) won the gold to break into the top-10 at ninth position.

Other movers in top-15 were Guesseppe REA VILLARROEL (ECU) at 13th and Oscar TIGREROS URBANO (COL) at 15th for his bronze finish at the Pan-Ams.

fixAbasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RWF), red, and Daton FIX (USA) are one and two in 61kg rankings. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

A close race is ensuing between Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) and Daton FIX (USA) as both won their respective continental titles. The former is second with 44000 points while Fix has jumped to third with 42000 points. World champion Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RWF) holds a slender lead at the top with 45000 points.

Tokyo Olympian Georgi VANGELOV (BUL) won bronze at Euros to climb to the fifth spot with 27700 points. Asian bronze medalist Ulukbek ZHOLDOSHBEKOV (KGZ) is close behind at sixth with 25100 points.

Suleyman ATLI (TUR), Eduard GRIGOREV (POL), Akbar KURBANOV (KAZ), and Mangal KADYAN (IND) broke into top-15 after finishing in the top five at their respective continental championships.

Tulga TUMUR-OCHIR (MGL)Tulga TUMUR-OCHIR (MGL) is at number two in the 65kg rankings. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Haji ALIYEV (AZE) competed for the first time since winning the silver medal at the Olympics and won a silver at the European Championships. He moved past Olympic champ Takuto OTOGURO (JPN) and is back at number three with 52400 points.

But he could not overtake Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL) who has 53500 points to sit second in the rankings led by world champion and Yasar Dogu silver Zagir SHAKHIEV (RWF).

Bajrang PUNIA (IND) remained at fifth despite a silver at Asian Championships but Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN) closed the gap with him with gold at European Championships. Punia has 42200 points while Muszukajev has 36000 points at seventh position.

Pan-Am champion Joseph MC KENNA (USA) moved to 13th but his opponent in the final Sebastian RIVERA remained a spot ahead of him at 12th.

Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO)Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) is the top ranked wrestlers at 70kg. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

Ernazar AKMATALIEV (KGZ) had a chance to overtake topper Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) with gold at Asian Championships but he finished with a silver and remained at second with 53520 points. Iakobishvili won the gold at European Championships to move to the top with 54200 points after winning the bronze Yasar Dogu Ranking Series event.

Arman ANDREASYAN (ARM) moved from eighth to fifth with silver at Euros and now has 36000 points.

Other big movers with European bronze Nicolai GRAHMEZ (MDA) as he broke into the top-10 at ninth and Asian bronze Syrbaz TALGAT (KAZ) moving to 12th.

Pan-Am champion Emmanuel OLAPADE (CAN) and African champion Bacar NDUM (GBS) are at 15th and 16th respectively with 10000 points each. Asian champion Taishi NARIKUNI (JPN) is at 17th with the same points.

Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK)Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK), red, is now second while Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) is back in top-10. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

World champion Kyle DAKE (USA) moved further clear at the top with Pan-Am gold. He now sits at the top with 92200 points. Silver to him at Worlds Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) won the European Championships to move past Olympic champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RWF) and is now second with 52000 points.

Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) returned to top-10 at sixth with his silver at the European Championships but is lagging behind with only 36000 points.

African champion Amr RAMADAN (EGY) jumped to the 10th spot by collecting 13000 points for his gold. He now has 29200 points and is ahead of Asian champion Yones EMAMICHOGHAEI (IRI) [27000 points] and European bronze medalist Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) [26500 points].

Jordan BURROUGHS (USA)Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) has 63000 points to be ranked top at 79kg. (Photo: UWW / Osvaldo Aguilar)

It will take some doing for any wrestler to catch Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) at 79kg as the five-time world champion has now moved to 63000 points after winning the Pan-Am title. The next best in world silver medalist Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI (IRI) who has only 37000 points.

Arman AVAGYAN (ARM) finished fifth at the European Championships to move to third with 33000 points while the champion in the tournament Georgios KOUGIOUMTSIDIS (GRE) is fourth with 31200 points.

Saifedine ALEKMA (FRA), the seventh placer at Euros, is currently eighth in the rankings with 21475 points while Asian champion Ali SAVADKOUHI (IRI) is a spot behind at ninth with 20200 points. European silver Ashraf ASHIROV (AZE) finishes off the top-10 with 19200 points.

Pan-Am silver Samuel BARMISH (CAN) is at the 11th spot with 18300 points followed by Euros bronze Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO) [18020 points]. Arsalan BUDAZHAPOV (KGZ) broke into top-15 with a bronze at Asian Championships and has 16700 points.

Hassan YAZDANI (IRI)David TAYLOR (USA), red, and Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) are the top two wrestlers at 86kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

David TAYLOR (IRI) and Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) both decided to skip their respective continental championships but still remain one and two respectively.

But the two biggest movers were Olympic bronze Myles AMINE (SMR) who won the European title and now has 47200 points at the fourth position. Silver to him at the Euros and world bronze Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) is now fifth with 42000 points.

Boris MAKOEV (SVK) moved to sixth from 10th despite his ninth-place finish at the Europeans. He now has 36100 points, a mere 100 points more than Osman GOCEN (TUR) [36000 points] who won a bronze at the Euros.

Asian Championships finalists Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) and Deepak PUNIA (IND) take the eighth and ninth spots with 35000 points and 31000 points respectively.

10th at the European Championships Akhmed AIBUEV (FRA) has 30600 points to be placed at the 10th spot while Pan-Am bronze Ethan RAMOS (PUR) takes the 11th spot with 24700 points.

African champion Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG), Taimuraz FRIEV (ESP) and the European fifth Uri KALASHNIKOV (ISR) all have 17000 points to be in 13th, 14th and 15th position.

Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI)Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) has 45000 points at the top at 92kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

No wrestler has been able to move past world champion Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) at 92kg despite him skipping the Asian Championships. He has 45000 points at the top.

The closest who came to take his spot was world bronze medalist Osman NURMAGOMEDOV (AZE) with 37500 points but he finished with bronze at European Championships. He only got 6500 points for that to be second. But he managed to move ahead of Magomed KURBANOV (RWF) [37000 points] with that performance.

Pan-Am champion and world bronze J'den COX is fourth with 36000 points.

Others have some work to do to catch up with the top four wrestlers. Pan-Am silver medalist Jeremy POIRIER (CAN) is seventh with 21000 points but the eighth, ninth and 10th spots are taken by wrestlers with 18200 points, Erhan YAYLACI 16000 points and Akhmed MAGAMAEV 15500 points and none of them competed at their continental championships.

At 11th, Orgilokh DAGVADORJ (MGL) has 15400 points for his silver medal at the Asian Championships while fifth place at the same tournament Takuma OTSU (JPN) has 14000 points and is at 13th spot.

European fifth Georgii RUBAEV (MDA) has 13200 points at the 14th position while Asian bronze medalist Viky CHAHAR (IND) is 15th with 13020 points.

Sadulaev SnyderAbdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF) and Kyle SNYDER (USA) are clear of the rest of the field as top two at 97kg. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

Kyle SNYDER (USA) won the Pan-Am Championships but could not move ahead of Olympic and world champion Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF). Snyder has 88400 points while Sadulaev has 96000 points.

The rankings are much closer if the top two are removed. World bronze medalist Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) remains at third with 38500 points while European seventh Magomedgadji NUROV (MKD) has 36100 points at sixth position.

Batzul ULZIISAIKHAN (MGL) won a silver medal at the Asian Championships to total 36100 points and is now at the seventh position. World bronze medalist Mojtaba GOLEIJ (IRI) is the only other wrestler to remain in the top-10 as he has 31000 points.

Three wrestlers bronze into top-15 as Mohammadhossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) won the Asian title and improved to 12th position with 26400 points.

Radu LEFTER (MDA) survived to move out of the top-15, thanks to the 3100 points he got at the European Championships. He now has 20100 points at the 14th position. Asian bronze medalist Satywart KADIAN (IND) also has 20100 points and is ranked 15th.

akgulTaha AKGUL (TUR) took over the 125kg top rank from Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) after winning the European Championships. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Taha AKGUL (TUR) and Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) once again met in the 125kg European Championships final. It was also a battle for the top spot in rankings and in both, Akgul came out on top. Akgul won the gold and now has 88200 points at the top while Petriashvili has 86400 points.

World champion Amir ZARE (IRI), who skipped the Asian Championships, is third with 79200 points. Another wrestler who skipped the Asian Championships was Lkhagvagerel MUNKHTUR (MGL) and with 65400 points, he remains at the fourth spot.

But Nicholas GWIAZDOWSKI (USA) moved to the sixth spot despite losing the final at Pan-Am Championships. His silver took his tally to 38800 points.

No other substantial change was seen in the rankings apart from Pan-Am champ Amarveer DHESI (CAN) breaking into the top-10. He is now 10th with 22800 points.

African champion Youssif HEMIDA (EGY) also moved up and is now at the 11th spot with 22000 points followed by European bronze medalist Robert BARAN (POL) at 12th with 20800 points.

Daniel LIGETI (HUN) also won a bronze at the European Championships which helped him move from 22nd to 14th. He now has 16700 points.