#WrestleOslo: Gray Grabs 6th World Title as Teen Fujinami Lives Up to Hype

By Ken Marantz

OSLO, Norway (October 6) -- As Adeline GRAY (USA) maintained her tenuous grip on the women's 76kg title by winning a U.S.-record sixth world gold, teenager Akari FUJINAMI (JPN) put on a golden performance well beyond her years.

Gray was forced to rally before securing a last-second fall over Epp MAEE (EST) in the 76kg final to cap a historic fifth day of action at the World Championships in Oslo on Wednesday.

"I am a smart wrestler and adjust and that's what smart wrestlers do -- make mid-match adjustments," Gray said. "My coach helped me understand where my power was and found a few positions where my strength really is."

Fujinami, a 17-year-old dynamo making her international senior debut, stole the show at the Jordal Amfi arena by storming to her fourth straight technical fall -- all without conceding a point -- to take the 53kg gold by crushing Iulia LEORDA (MDA).

Moldova, denied first by Fujinami, got its first-ever female world champion in the next final, when Irina RINGACI (MDA) forged out an 8-6 victory over Miwa MORIKAWA (JPN) at 65kg in a clash of current and past world junior champions.

"Here as well as at the junior worlds, we have a small team, only three girls flew in Norway, and two out of three got medals," Ringaci said. "We have made history for our country."

Japan won the other women's title at stake, when 2019 world cadet champion Remina YOSHIMOTO (JPN) came from behind in the 50kg final to defeat Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) 5-3.

Adeline GRAYAdeline GRAY (USA) celebrates after winning her record sixth World title. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Two days after Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) joined Gray as a five-time world champion by winning the freestyle 79kg gold, she became the sole U.S. leader again by taking a sixth.

"Great feeling," Gray said. "Better than five times is six. Sixth one feels good. Jordan is still chasing me. so that's good."

The victory, however, was never a sure thing until the final minute.

Maee, who previously lost to Gray at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships, seemed to have come up with the right strategy to emulate Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER), who stunned the American in the final at the Tokyo Olympics in August.

After gaining an activity point, Maee scored on the edge with a high ankle pick, which became a 4-0 lead after an unsuccessful challenge of the call. In the second period, Gray got on the scoreboard by bulling Maee over for 2.

With :42 left, Gray took the lead on criteria with a takedown off a counter. She then added to the tally with a 2-point trap-arm exposure. It looked like she would run out the clock, but she kept applying the pressure and secured a fall with two seconds left.

"I could have finished the last shot a bit better," Maee said. "It's hard to tell about these things right after the match, but there is still a lot going on here [in the mind]. First period, I really thought I was in control, but at this level one mistake matters everything.

Adeline GRAYAdeline GRAY (USA) and Epp MAEE (EST) were involved in a tense battle in the 76kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Gray added to the world titles she won in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019, giving her a total of eight world medals. Adding to her elation was the fact that her latest gold came with falls in all four matches.

"How many times do you pin your way to the world title?" Gray said. "I was so jealous when Helen [MAROULIS] did it, or Yui [SUSAKI] doing 42-0 at the Olympics. I mean that's dominance. That's power. That's dynamic wrestling and not letting people score. To have four pins in a world championship, I've never done that."

Gray accomplished the feat despite problems dealing with the fast turnaround trying to get ready for Oslo so soon after the Olympics.

"It was a struggle every single day and my coaches were talking me into it," Gray said. "It's just too short of a time period to cope with everything that happened."

While Japan did not enter its Olympians, which included four women's gold medalists, nor was China entered at all, Gray was among all but one U.S. medalist who committed to participating in Oslo.

"That buzzing high kind of stayed through the Olympics because 14 days later we had to decide if we had to do this world or not," Gray said. "Especially when we saw the lineup of the people and how many No. 1s were not there. I looked up to [U.S. coach] Terry [STEINER] and asked why we were sending our No. 1s. So it was just a lot of decisions through the way.

"I am glad we did this but it's hard and wouldn't recommend it."

Akari FujinamiAkari FUJINAMI (JPN) outscored her opponents 41-0 en route the 53kg title. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Fujinami, a 2018 world cadet champion, came to Oslo amid a mountain of hype and high expectations, despite the fact that her only other senior-level tournaments were the two national championships over the past year that served as qualifiers to the World Championships.

Fujinami won both, beating a two-time world champion and a world silver medalist along the way at each. She has not lost since the final at the 2017 national junior high school championships and, adding in the four victories in Oslo, now has an 83-match win streak.

"I feel amazing, I am so grateful, thank you to my family, my friends, my teammates, the people who supported me," Fujinami said in English, before continuing her post-match comments in Japanese.

In the final, Fujinami blitzed Leorda with a barrage of lightning-quick single-leg takedowns, ending a 10-0 rout with a 2-point exposure at 2:14.

Fujinami had said before the tournament that she felt excited instead of nervous, and that's how she described her feeling before the final.

"Everyone says I'm 17 and I'm young, but thinking about all the time I've put into wrestling up to now, I think the time I spent thinking about wrestling wasn't wasted," she said. "I think the reason [for being excited] was how confident I was taking the mat."

With the one-sided victory, Fujinami ended up with four wins by a combined score of 41-0.

"I don't really think about not giving up a point," she said. "I only keep in mind to keep attacking. And that just leads to these results."

Asked if any of her wins stood out above the others, she said, "Really, all of them left an impression. It's a first experience for me. All of the matches will be remembered. I'm really happy to be able to compete on this stage. I really want to get back to this stage and win again many times."

Fujinami, who is coached by her father at Inabe Gakuin High School in central Japan's Mie Prefecture, said she received encouragement from her classmates.

"Before the final, our teacher sent a video of everyone together saying 'Ganbare (fight hard)! That made me really happy," she said. "It made me feel they were really behind me and I had to win for them."

Akari FujinamiAkari FUJINAMI (JPN) won the world title on senior debut. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

Looking ahead, Fujinami is ready to clash with Tokyo Olympic 53kg champion Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) in her quest to make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics. The gold in Oslo only adds to her confidence.

"Mukaida is a really strong wrestler," Fujinami said. "From the time I was small, I looked up to her. She is strong, but I am absolutely determined to be the one going to Paris [in 2024]. When the time comes to face her, I definitely want to win."

Leorda, this year's European bronze medalist, joined Ringaci as Moldova's first-ever female world medalists, although she would not become the first to get to the top of the podium.

Still, a silver is a noteworthy accomplishment for a wrestler who had never placed higher than seventh at seven previous World Championships.

Irina RINGACIIrina RINGACI (MDA) became her country's first-ever world women's wrestling champion. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 65kg, the 20-year-old Ringaci came out on top by wrestling a tactically strong match, continually fending off the aggressive 2019 world junior champion Morikawa and scoring on counters.

After Ringaci scored two takedowns in the first period, Morikawa finally broke through with a double-leg takedown to start the second. But Ringaci picked up a crucial 4-point counter to go ahead 8-2, then held on as Morikawa scored two takedowns late in the match.

"All the matches were tough," Ringaci said. "The Japanese girls are the best in the world in women wrestling, so it was really difficult to wrestle in the final, especially to win."

Ringaci nearly lost out on her chance to make history for her country when she trailed 8-2 in her semifinal against Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL), only to use a counter to reverse the tide and score a fall.

"It’s really emotional," Ringaci said. "I have no words to explain it. I am just really happy."

Ringaci has had quite a year, winning both the European senior and U23 titles before taking the world junior crown two months ago in Ufa, Russia. Her only slip-ups were at the two Olympic qualifiers and the European juniors.

She said she does not plan to go for a "triple crown" at the world U23 next month in Serbia.

"I think I showed quite a good result at senior worlds, so I’ll give the change to somebody else to wrestle at the U23 worlds," Ringaci said.

YoshimotoRemina YOSHIMOTO (JPN) reclaimed the 50kg world title for Japan. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

With Japan's Olympians opting not try to make the team to Oslo, Yoshimoto made the most of a rare chance to compete on the senior level at 50kg, where Tokyo gold medalist Susaki has become a fixture.

In the final, Hildebrandt, the 2018 world silver medalist at 53kg, took a 3-0 lead on an activity point and 2-point exposure off a counter, before Yoshimoto cut the gap with a takedown to end the first period.

"She's a veteran, and I can feel her strong determination," the soft-spoken Yoshimoto said. "But I was determined to not lose and to fight to the end, and it was good that I did it."

Yoshimoto went ahead on criteria with a stepout, then clinched the win with a 2-point exposure off a wild scramble in which both wrestlers had a grasp of an ankle or thigh.

"I wasn't able to attack much, but I could stop her when I needed to stop her, and I got points when I could," Yoshimoto said. "I made it smoothly to the final, but the final wasn't so easy.

"I had confidence in my strength during the match, and in the second period, I was thinking that I definitely wanted my hand to be raised at the end."

Yoshimoto's ability to hold up in the pressure-cooker that is a World Championships stems from being on the team at Shigakkan University, the powerhouse that has produced innumerable world and Olympic champions, many of whom still train there after graduating.

"I got advice from many people, Risako [KAWAI], Yukako [KAWAI], Eri [TOSAKA]," Yoshimoto said. "Risako and Yukako always helped with techniques. That I was able to make good use of what I learned, I see as a way of honoring them."

Asked about knocking Susaki off the 50kg perch, Yoshimoto said, "I will keep practicing and work to get stronger not only physically, but technically and emotionally. We will probably butt heads someday, so until then, I want to get stronger and challenge her."

Samar HAMZASamar HAMZA (EGY) became Egypt's first senior World Championships medalist. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

In the bronze-medal matches, Samar HAMZA (EGY) added Egpyt to the list of countries with a female world medalist when she became the country's first with a 2-1 win over Kiran GODARA (IND) at 76 kg.

Hamza, a four-time African champion and two-time Olympian, scored a double-leg takedown in the first period and made that hold up to notch the historic victory.

Hamza, the product of a UWW scholarship program to help prospective wrestlers in emerging countries, had one of the more entertaining bouts at the Tokyo Olympics when she lost a 16-12 barnburner in the first round to Natalya VOROBIEVA (ROC).

Two-time Asian silver medalist Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ), who finished fifth at the Tokyo Olympics, earned her first world medal with a 12-1 rout of 2018 European U23 champion Anastasiia OSNIACH SHUSTOVA (UKR) for the other bronze at 76kg.

Medet Kyzy finished off a second takedown with three lace-lock rolls to end the proceedings in 1:39.

At 53kg, Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) denied a bid by Luisa VALVERDE (ECU) to become her country's first-ever world medalist of either gender when she rode a 4-point arm throw to a 7-1 victory.

The victory gave Krawczyk, a 2018 European bronze medalist, her first world medal after two fifth-place finishes in five previous World Championships dating back to 2011.

The other bronze went to 2016 Pan American champion Samantha STEWART (CAN), who gave 2018 world U23 bronze medalist Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR) no chance by backtripping her to the mat and securing a fall in 1:59.

DolgorjavOtgonjargal DOLGORJAV (MGL) won a bronze medal at 50kg. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

At 50kg, unheralded Otgonjargal DOLGORJAV (MGL) showed no fear in overpowering two-time world runner-up Emilia VUC (ROU) for a 10-0 technical fall.

Dolgorjav, the 2018 world cadet silver medalist appearing in just her fifth senior-level event, stormed to an 8-0 first-period lead when she fought off a headlock for a takedown, immediately went to two gut wrenches, then added a takedown.

In the second period, she scored the decisive takedown off a single at 4:18 to finish off Tokyo Olympian Vuc, denying her a third world medal just two days after her 28th birthday.

The other 50kg bronze went to two-time world U23 medalist Nadezhda SOKOLOVA, who had a pair of 4-point moves in a 12-2 technical fall over Bohdana KOKOZEI YASHCHUK (UKR).

Sokolova used a headlock for her first 4-pointer, then later dumped the Ukrainian with a fireman's carry to end the match at 2:29.

At 65kg, Forrest MOLINARI (USA) finally made the medal podium after two previous fifth-place finishes by overwhelming 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist Maryia MAMASHUK (BLR) with a 12-1 technical fall in 4:50.

Johanna MATTSSON (SWE) picked up her second world bronze, adding to the one she won back in 2010, without a fight when Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) defaulted the other match at 65kg.

Podium 65kgThe four medalists at 65kg at the World Championships in Oslo. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

Day 5 Results

Women's Wrestling

50kg (20 entries)

BRONZE: Nadezhda SOKOLOVA (RWF) df. Bohdana KOKOZEI YASHCHUK (UKR) by TF, 12-2, 2:29
BRONZE: Otgonjargal DOLGORJAV (MGL) df. Emilia VUC (ROU) by TF, 10-0, 4:10

53kg (17 entries)
GOLD: Akari FUJINAMI (JPN) df. Iulia LEORDA (MDA) by TF, 10-0, 2:14

BRONZE: Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) df. Luisa VALVERDE (ECU), 7-1
BRONZE: Samantha STEWART (CAN) df. Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR) by Fall, 1:59 (4-0)

57kg (17 entries)
Semifinal: Helen MAROULIS (USA) df. Sae NANJO (JPN), 6-4
Semifinal: Anshu MALIK (IND) df. Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) by TF, 11-0, 3:54

59kg (17 entries)
Semifinal: Akie HANAI (JPN) df. Maya NELSON (USA), 4-1
Semifinal: Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) df. Sarita MOR (IND), 3-0

65kg (19 entries)
GOLD: Irina RINGACI (MDA) df. Miwa MORIKAWA (JPN), 8-6

BRONZE: Johanna MATTSSON (SWE) df. Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) by Def.
BRONZE: Forrest MOLINARI (USA) df. Maryia MAMASHUK (BLR) by TF, 12-1, 4:50

68kg (15 entries)
Semifinal: Rin MIYAJI (JPN) df. Tamyra MENSAH STOCK (USA) by Fall, :20 (2-0)
Semifinal: Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ) df. Khanum VALIEVA (RWF), 3-3

72kg (14 entries)
Semifinal: Zhamila BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ) df. Buse CAVUSOGLU TOSUN (TUR) by TF, 13-2, 5:44
Semifinal: Masako FURUICHI (JPN) df. Anna SCHELL (GER), 6-2

76kg (18 entries)
GOLD: Adeline GRAY (USA) df. Epp MAEE (EST) by Fall, 5:58 (6-4)

BRONZE: Samar HAMZA (EGY) df. Kiran KIRAN (IND), 2-1
BRONZE: Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) df. Anastasiia OSNIACH SHUSTOVA (UKR) by TF, 12-1, 1:37


#WrestleOslo Top Historical Moments: Sadulaev, Geraei Double Up; Moldova Claims Firsts

By Vinay Siwach

OSLO, Norway (October 19) -- After the World Championships in Oslo, an uncharacteristic number of wrestlers etched their names in wrestling's history books. 

For the first time in wrestling's tradition-rich history, the World Championships and Olympics took place in the same year, which led few with the opportunity to become a champion at both events. Then, a few first-timers reached the pinnacle in Oslo. 

Here are the top moments from the annual event.

FS 97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF)


Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF) is chasing history and greatness. He became a two-time Olympic champion in Tokyo after winning the 97kg gold medal, adding to his 86kg gold from Rio.

In 2021, once the IOC announced the postponement of the Tokyo Games, it provided a unique opportunity for Sadulaev to win an Olympic and World Championships medal in the same year. A gold in both tournaments may well give the wrestlers extra motivation to wrestle at the highest level twice in two months.

Sadulaev did precisely that. After capturing the gold in Tokyo, he wrestled his arch-rival Kyle SNYDER (USA) in the 97kg final in Oslo, Norway and came home with a gold medal, making him the only freestyle wrestler to achieve the rare feat.

The Russian Wrestling Federation wrestler has seven World or Olympic gold medals. He's tied for fourth on the all-time list, which Alexander MEDVED leads with ten combined gold medals from Worlds or Olympics. Three former wrestlers have eight gold medals, while Buvaisar SAITIEV (RWF) sits number two with nine titles.

In a rematch of the Olympics final, Sadulaev won 6-3. He handed Snyder a 6-0 loss in Oslo and improved the head-to-head record to 3-1. His lone defeated came in 2017 at the Paris World Championships.

GR 67kg - Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI)


Like Sadulaev, Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) also wrote his name in history books after becoming an Olympic and world champion in the same year.

He won the top medal at the 67kg Greco-Roman weight class in Oslo, two months after Tokyo.

Geraei, the younger brother of world medalist at 77kg Mohammadali, was the only Olympic champion entered in the Greco-Roman. He proved why he's Iran's next superstar.

The U23 world champion burst into the scene when he won the senior Asian title in 2019 and followed that with the U23 world title. Earlier this year, he claimed the gold at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers and later the Olympics.

In Oslo, Geraei kept his fans on the edge of their seats. On multiple occasions, his bouts ended in a close affair. In the first bout against Tsuchika SHIMOYAMADA (JPN), he trailed 6-1 in the second period before the Japan wrestler went for a big throw but got caught in the move and Geraei secured a pin. In the semifinal, Geraei defeated Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO), 7-6, after the Georgian was cautioned twice for fleeing, giving up four points. He defeated Nazir ABDULLAEV (RWF) 5-2 in the final.

WW 65kg - Irina RINGACI (MDA)


For the 18 years Moldova participated in women's wrestling at the World Championships, they never won a medal. However, in Oslo, they had two. 

Irina RINGACI (MDA) won the country's first-ever world title in women's wrestling, while Iulia LEORDA (MDA) ended with a silver medal. Ringaci outperformed her 65kg rivals and claimed her second world title in less than two months.

Ringaci, who came to Oslo after winning the junior world title in August, defeated Miwa MORIKAWA (JPN) 8-6 in the final. Earlier in the semifinal, she had a close call when she secured a fall over Tokyo Olympian Mimi HRITSOVA (BUL). Trailing 8-0, she completed a big throw for four and then kept the Bulgarian on her back to win.

Since winning the silver at the 2020 Individual World Cup in 2020, Rigaci has been on a stellar run which includes winning the senior and U23 European titles.

But the 20-year-old pioneer of Moldovan women's wrestling has already racked up wins at the senior level and will not be a pushover in the coming years.

GR 60kg - Victor CIOBANU (MDA)


It was a historical final and Victor CIOBANU (MDA) came out on top. The Moldovan wrestler won the gold medal at the 60kg weight class in Oslo, Norway, thus denying Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) and Kyrgzstan its first-ever Greco-Roman senior world title.

Ciobanu came close to winning the title in 2018 but reversed his luck this year and with his high-scoring throws, won 9-3 in the final. Sharshenbekov now has two silver medals from the World Championships as his country waits for the gold.

Earlier this year, the Moldova wrestler ended a 25-year-wait for his country to send a wrestler to the Olympics, and he came agonizingly close to winning a medal as well.

He wrestled Sharshenbekov in Tokyo as well and blanked him 9-0 in the quarterfinals.

Apart from the final, Ciobanu had a great run throughout the tournament. He began with a win over Zhora ABOVIAN (UKR), then defeated 2018 world champion Stepan MARYANYAN (RWF) and later won against Gevorg GHARIBYAN (ARM) in the semifinal. Barring the first match, his bouts were close-affairs as he beat Maryanyan, 7-6, and Gharibyan, 9-6.

With Ciobanu's win, Moldova now has atleast one senior world champion in each of the three wrestling styles.

FS 70kg - Mogomedmurad GADHIEV (POL)


The Russian Wrestling Federation dominated the freestyle competition, along with the USA and Iran. But among the three wrestling powerhouses, Poland had its first world champion in freestyle as Magomedmurad GADHIEV (POL) claimed the gold medal at the 70kg weight class.

Ever since his first senior World Championships in 2015, Gadzhiev had won two medals, including a silver in 2017 and a bronze medal at the 2019 edition.

But in a bid to qualify for the Olympics, the European champion dropped down to 65kg but failed to medal there. However, he came back to 70kg and claimed the gold medal in Oslo after beating Ernazar AKHMATALIEV (KGZ) in the final.

In the quarterfinal, he had to go past 2017 world champion Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO), 4-1, and the U23 world champion Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE), 4-2, in the semifinal.

In 2020, he claimed the gold medal at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia at 70kg. The veteran was a former Russian Wrestling Federation wrestler till 2012 and also won a junior world title in 2008.

Before Gadzhiev, Pawel KURCZEWSKI (POL) in 1971, Wladyslaw STECYK (POL) in 1977, Marian SKUBAZ (POL) in 1981, Adam SANDURSKI (POL) in 1982 and 1983, and Marek GARMULEWICZ (POL) in 1998 had reached the final but fell short to claim the coveted gold.

WW 76kg - Samar HAMZA (EGY)


Samar HAMZA (EGY) could have retired after the Olympics (she did for a brief time), and yet she would have been the most successful women's wrestler from her country. But she decided to wrestle one more time at the Senior World Championships in Oslo.

The only female wrestler to compete at the Olympics for her country, Hamza improved her resume after she became Egypt's first-ever world medalist. She won a bronze medal in the 76kg weight-class

Hamza can be proud of herself as she reached the semifinal in Oslo and only lost to world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) in the tournament. Then, in the bronze-medal bout, she defeated Kiran GODARA (IND) to claim the historic medal.

FS 79kg - Jordan BURROUGHS (USA)


A familiar name was back on the top of the podium. Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) won his last world title in 2017 and after a gap of four years, he returned to the gold-medal position in Oslo, Norway, by winning the 79kg weight class.

With that, Burroughs became the first male wrestler from America to win the gold medal five times at the Worlds, surpassing John SMITH (USA) who has four of them. Combining World and Olympic titles, the two are tied with six each as Burroughs won the gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

In Oslo, Burroughs was wrestling at a new weight class for the first time internationally after giving up his position at 74kg to Kyle DAKE (USA). Burroughs failed to win the Olympic Team Trials as Dake claimed the best of three series. Dake later won a bronze medal at the Olympics to confirm his direct participation in Oslo.

But Burroughs was unchallenged in Oslo. He stormed to his fifth world title outscoring his opponents 30-6, including wins over Radik VALIEV (RWF) and junior world champion Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI (IRI).

The win gives him a shot at becoming the most successful male American wrestler if he can win another gold medal until the end of his career, which is likely to continue until the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Burroughs now has an Olympics gold, five gold and three bronze from the World Championships.

WW 57kg - Anshu MALIK (IND)


As a 20-year-old, Anshu MALIK (IND) did what no other Indian female wrestler ever could. The former cadet world champion reached the final of the Senior World Championships in Oslo and became the first wrestler to achieve the feat in women's wrestling. She won a silver medal in 57kg after losing to Helen MAROULIS (USA) in the final.

The Asian champion wrestled in Tokyo as well but lost in her first bout. After getting a chance in the repechage, she failed to get past Valeria KOBLOVA (RWF) and had to exit her first Olympics without a medal.

But in Oslo, she reached the final after beating junior world champion Nilufar RAIMOVA (KAZ) in the first bout, Davaachimeg ERKHEMBAYAR (MGL), 5-1, in the quarterfinal, U23 European champion Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) in the semifinal, but she suffered a fall in the final.

Before her, India had five bronze medalists at the World Championships dating back to 2006 when Alka TOMAR (IND) won a bronze. Geeta PHOGAT (IND) and Babita PHOGAT (IND) won in 2012, Pooja DHANDA (IND) won one in 2018 while Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) won the medal in 2019. In Oslo, Sarita MOR (IND) also won a bronze, making it the first time that Indian women's wrestlers had two medals at the same Championships.

WW 76kg - Epp MAEE (EST)


Epp MAEE (EST) has been the pioneer of women's wrestling for Estonia. She is the only wrestler to compete at the senior level be it the World Championships or Olympics. In 2015, she became the first female wrestler from the country to win a medal at the World Championships. She repeated the feat in 2019.

Two years later in Oslo, she became the first wrestler from Estonia to reach a World Championships final in women's wrestling. At 76kg, she made a spectacular run and reached another milestone for her country. However, she fell to six-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) in the final.

Back in 2014, Maee wrestled in her first-ever medal bout but ended up losing that in Tashkent. After winning the medal in 2015 which also gave her the qualification for Rio Olympics, she finished fifth in 2017 and 2018. But she was once again back on the podium in Nursultan.

At the 2021 Worlds, Maee won her first two bout via technical superiority and survived a scare against Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) in the semifinal, winning 3-3 on criteria. Trailing 1-3 with 20 seconds remaining, Maee hit a single-leg and continued the pressure to claim an exposure with five seconds remaining to enter the final.

GR 130kg - Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI)


Iran brought the best to Oslo and did not disappoint. After their freestyle team put on a show, the Greco-Roman team also mesmerized the fans with four gold medals. Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI) won the 130kg gold medal and became Iran's first-ever Greco-Roman heavyweight world champion.

Yousofi earned his shot in Iran's lineup after a lucky break. It was only after the original entry, Tokyo bronze medalist Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI) tested positive for COVID-19 infection that Yousofi earned his berth to Oslo. 

And he returned home with the gold medal, defeating Zurabi GEDEKHAURI (RWF) in the final.

He began with a win over David OVASAPYAN (ARM) and later handed local boy Oskar MARVIK (NOR) in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal, he faced the tough task of beating Tokyo Olympic fifth-place finisher Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI). But a perfectly planned bout helped him go past the Chilean wrestler, 2-1. The final was also a story of passivity and stepout points as he won 6-1.