Women's Wrestling Takes Centerstage at #WrestleUfa

By Vinay Siwach

UFA, Russia (August 17) -- Amit ELOR (USA), Emily SHILSON (USA) and Irina RINGACI (MDA) highlight a field of 19 former age group world medalists as women's wrestling gets underway at the Junior World Championships Wednesday in Ufa, Russia.

Though Japan and China are going to miss a second consecutive age-group World Championships, USA will look to repeat their team title winning performance from the cadet World Championships in Budapest, Hungary last month.

Elor was with that team winning the gold medal at the 69kg weight class in dominating fashion. Still 17, she will be at her first junior Worlds and is the prime contender for the gold medal.

USA is bringing a strong team to Ufa with former world champion at the cadet level Shilson looking for her first junior world title. She also had a silver medal in 2017.

But SIMRAN (IND) would like to avenge her loss from the Youth Olympic Games final against Shilson. She is also entered the competition at 50kg.

Two more wrestlers from that 2018 Worlds are also entered in Natallia VARAKINA (BLR), bronze medalist and Viktoriia ALEKSANDROVA (RUS), also a bronze medalist.

For Elor, she is unlikely to face trouble from any of the competitors and this tournament could mark the start of a long title-winning career for her.

Another wrestler from the USA to look out for is Kennedy BLADES (USA) at 72kg who stunned everyone with her run at the US Olympic team trials by reaching the final. She lost to Taymra MENSAH STOCK (USA) who won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

At 65kg, Alara BOYD (USA) will try to capture the gold after winning a silver and bronze at the cadet Worlds level. But a big match up against Ringaci awaits her.

Ringaci is the most accomplished wrestler in the field with gold medals at the senior and U23 European Championships in 2021, a gold at the U23 Worlds in 2019.

Kylie WELKER (USA), who wrestled Adeline GRAY (USA) in the final of the US Team Trial, will be hoping to improve on her bronze medal finish at the 2019 cadet Worlds, which she won at 61kg.

Kseniya DZIBUK (BLR), who won bronze for Ukraine at that Worlds, will also entered at 76kg and so is 2021 European champion Melisa SARITAC (TUR).

Four former world medalists are entered at 55kg as well. Alesia HETMANAVA (BLR) won a bronze medal at the 2019 cadet Worlds and will be looking to improve on that performance in Ufa. From the same Worlds, Kalmira BILIMBEK KYZY (KGZ) won a silver medal.

Munkhgerel MUNKHBAT (MGL) also has won a bronze medal at the 2019 cadet Worlds at the 49kg and is now entered at 55kg.

A former junior World Championships bronze medalist Mansi AHLAWAT (IND) is entered at 57kg and she will be looking to make her first final at this level. But home favourite Anastasiia KOZLOVA (RUS) and Claire DICUGNO (USA) will be big threats for her.

At 59kg, Anna SZEL (HUN) will be the favourite given she already has two cadet World medals apart from a host of European medals.

Women's wrestling begins Wednesday with five weight classes -- 50kg, 55kg, 59kg, 68kg and 76kg -- followed by the remaining five on Thursday.


Russia Wins GR Team Title after Five Golds at #WrestleUfa

By Vinay Siwach

At the last Junior Worlds Championships in 2019, Russia returned home with four gold, two silver and a bronze medal to claim the team title. Two years later, they repeated the same but with five gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

As the Junior World Championships concluded in Ufa, Russia, the Greco-Roman celebrated their title win at home with 183 points while Iran finished second with 130 points. Azerbaijan were third as they managed only 101 points.

Russia had finished second in both the freestyle and women's wrestling competition with Iran and USA winning those team titles respectively.

Dinislam BAMMATOV (RUS) and Evgeni BAIDUSOV (RUS) were the two gold medalists for Russia Sunday while three had won the top medal Saturday. Aleksei MILESHIN (RUS) was the only Russian wrestler to reach the final but not winning the gold.

A bit of history was also created at the Ufa Arena as Marcel STERKENBURG (NED) defeated Karen KHACHATRYAN (ARM) 6-3 in 82kg final and became the first wrestler from the Netherlands to win a junior Worlds gold in the last 43 years.

The final gold medal of the night was won by Pavel HLINCHUK (BLR) who looked in some serious form in the tournament with five dominating wins over the course of two days.

Bammatov, the Dagestan wrestler, defeated Saeid ESMAEILI LEIVESI (IRI) 7-3 in the 60kg final to get the Russian team going. He was awarded a point for the Iranian's passivity to open the scoring. In par terre, Bammatov lost top position after slipping off the right side gut wrench. He surrendered a reversal, but stopped an Iranian gut attempt, planting Esmaeili Leivesi on his back for the two exposure points. With the action back on their feet, Bammatov snapped Esmaeili Leivesi down and spun behind for a takedown. He went right into a gut wrench and carried the 7-1 lead into the second period.

Bammatov gave up two stepouts in the closing period, but capped off his run to the 60kg junior world title with a 7-3 victory.

The second gold medal for Russia was won by Evgeni BAIDUSOV (RUS) as he overcame Giorgi CHKHIKVADZE (GEO) in a tight final to win 3-2. In the most evenly matched finals of the night, Baidusov narrowly edged ahead when he struck first. He tried hitting a duck under early in the first period, but as Chikhikvadze defended the attempt from his knees, the Russian threw a headlocked and put two points on the board. His Georgian opponent reversed him to his back for the exposure and gained the 2-2 criteria advantage.

To the dismay of the Georgian fans in the second period, Baidusov toed the line and circle to the center before pushing Chkhikvadze out for the 3-2 lead.

Baidusov's medal winning celebrations were marred by some unruly behaviour from the Georgian fans in the stands which was brought to the attention of the organizing committee as well.

But Pavel HLINCHUK (BLR) ruined Russia's perfect final record in the 97kg finals as he handed Aleksei MILESHIN (RUS) an 11-0 thrashing to Belarus their first gold medal of the Greco-Roman competition.

He hit back-to-back guts after earning an inactivity point and controlled the comfortable five point lead. With less than 20 seconds left in the opening period, the Belarusian tossed Mileshin for two points and his lead grew to 7-0.

Before the whistle sounded in the first, he backed his heels to the edge of the mat and planted Mileshin on his back for four points and earned the 11-0 world-title winning victory.

The historic medal for the Netherlands won by Marcel STERKENBURG (NED) came after his brother failed to do the same Sunday. The twin brother Tyrone finished with a silver medal after suffering a defeat in the 77kg final.

But the 82kg final began with Karen KHACHATRYAN (ARM) scoring two points from a left-side gut wrench after being awarded a point for Sterkenburg’s inactivity.

But it was all Marcel STERKENBURG (NED) in the second period. He bolted out to an early takedown in the first period and cut Khachatryan’s lead to 3-2. At the two-minute mark, Sterkenburg scored a stepout and gained the 3-3 criteria lead before his Armenian opponent was hit with inactivity.

Leading 4-3, Sterkenburg gutted Khachatryan and increased his lead to 6-3, and ultimately gave the Netherland’s their first junior world title in the last 43 years.

The 67kg gold medal went to Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) as the cadet world champion managed to shutout Sahak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) 7-0 in the final.

The match was chippy and barred with referee stoppages. Jafarov earned top position in par terre after Sahak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) was called for inactivity. He was unable to pick up exposure points, but scored two correct throw points and led 3-1 after the opening period.

A pair of accidental head butts slowed down the second period and brought medical attention for Jafarov. The first two were deemed accidental, but after a third headbutt in the period, Jafarov’s opponent was hit with a caution-and-two – giving the Azeri wrestler the 5-0 lead.

Shortly after, Jafarov pushed Hovhannisyan to the edge and stopped a double-overhook throw attempt and extended his lead to 7-0. He defended it until the clock expired.

The focus now shifts to the Senior World Championships which begins in Oslo from October 2 to 10.

Results GR Medal Bouts


BRONZE: Mert ILBARS (TUR) df Arslanbek SALIMOV (POL), 8-0
BRONZE: Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE) df Shermukhammad SHARIBJANOV (UZB), 5-1


BRONZE: Muslim IMADAEV (RUS) df Gagik SNJOYAN (FRA), 9-0


BRONZE: Attila TOESMAGI (HUN) df Amir ABDI (IRI), 9-6
BRONZE: Shant KHACHATRYAN (ARM) df Khasay HASANLI (AZE), via fall


BRONZE: Mohammad Aziz NAGHOUSI (IRI) df Mykyta ALIEKSIEIEV (UKR), 11-5

GOLD: Pavel HLINCHUK (BLR) df Aleksei MILESHIN (RUS), 11-0

BRONZE: Morteza ALGHOSI (IRI)  df Marcus WORREN (NOR), 5-3
BRONZE: Braxton AMOS (USA) df Arkyt OROZBEKOV (KGZ), 8-0