Amri, Adekuoroye First Africans to Reach Women’s Gold Medal Bouts at Wrestling World C'ships

By William May

PARIS (August 23) – Marwa AMRI (TUN) and Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) on Wednesday became the first women from Africa to march into the gold medal finals at a senior wrestling world championships. In the evening’s championship session, they will also try to become the first female world champions from Africa.

Amri, a bronze medalist from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, was the first to qualify for the gold medal round at AccorHotels Arena as she came from behind in the 58kg semifinals with a four-point takedown for an 8-7 win over two-time Asia champion Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ).

Adekuoroye, a Las Vegas 2015 world bronze medalist, rolled up a technical fall over European under-23 champion Irina KURACHKINA (BLR) in her 55kg semifinal to become the second African woman the gold medal finals. 

In the championship bout at 55kg, Adekuoroye will take on cadet world champion Haruna OKUNO (JPN), who also advanced by technical fall, stopping European champion Biliyana DUDOVA (BUL) in 4:07.

At 58kg, Amri will take on Rio 2016 gold medalist at 53kg Helen MAROULIS (USA), who rolled over four opponents by technical fall and a combine score of 41-0, including a 10-0 triumph over Michelle FAZZARI (CAN) at 2:44 of the semifinals.

In the other categories contested Wednesday, former world champion Yulia TKACH (UKR) rallied from a 1-4 deficit in the second period of the semifinals at 63kg  for a 13-5 victory over 2014 European runner-up Hafize SAHIN (TUR).

In the final, Tkach, seeking a second world title after her 2014 triumph, will face PUREVDORJ Orkhon (MGL), who has not lost in international competition since finishing seventh at Rio 2016.

In the bronze medal bouts at 63kg, Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) will join teammate Adekuoroye in the battle for medals as she takes on two-time Olympic Games bronze medalist Jackeline RENTERIA CASTILLO (COL).

At 75kg, two-time European champion Yasmine ADAR (TUR), also undefeated since Rio 2016, will try to improve on her fifth-place finish at the 2012 world championships when she meets Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) in the gold medal final.

Marzuliuk has won bronze medals in three separate world meets, most recently in 2015.

Also, in the round of 16, Rio 2016 silver medalist at 58kg, Valerie KOBLOVA-ZHOLOBOVA (RUS) defaulted to Fazzari at 3:25 after being unable to continue wrestling with a shaky knee. 

Local fans will also have a chance to get on their feet and cheer for European bronze medal winner Mathilde RIVIERE (FRA), who will be battling for a bronze medal at 55kg against Kurachikina.

Riviere fell in her opening bout to Adekuoroye, but battled back with a pair of wins in repechage to reach the bronze medal final.

Semifinal Results & Medal Final Pairings

Women’s Wrestling

55kg (24 entries)
Gold – Haruna OKUNO (JPN) v Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR)
Bronze – Becka LEATHERS (USA) v Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL)
Bronze – Mathilde RIVIERE (FRA) v Irina KURASHKINA (BLR)

Semifinal – Haruna OKUNO (JPN) df. Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) by TF, 11-0,4:07
Semifinal – Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) df. Irina KURASHKINA (BLR) by TF, 10-0, 3:21

58kg (27 entries)
Gold – Helen MAROULIS (USA) v Marwa AMRI (TUN)
Bronze – Elin NILSSON (SWE) v Michelle FAZZARI (CAN)
Bronze – RONG Ningning (CHN) v Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ)
Semifinal – Helen MAROULIS (USA) df. Michelle FAZZARI (CAN) by TF, 10-0, 2:44 
Semifinal – Marwa AMRI (TUN) df. Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ), 8-7

63kg (23 entries)
Gold – Yulia TKACH (UKR) v PUREVDORJ Orkhon (MGL)
Bronze – Valeria LAZINSKAIA (RUS) v Hafize SAHIN (TUR),
Bronze – Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) v Jackeline RENTERIA (COL)

Semifinal – Yulia TKACH (UKR) df. Hafize SAHIN (TUR), 13-5
Semifinal – PUREVDORJ Orkhon (MGL) df. Jackeline RENTERIA (COL) BY TF, 12-0, 3:28

75kg (23 entries)
Gold – Yasemin ADAR (TUR) v Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR)
Bronze – Hiroe SUZUKI (JPN) v Epp MAE (EST)
Bronze – Justina DiSTASIO (CAN) v Paliha PALIHA (CHN) 

Semifinal – Yasemin ADAR (TUR) df.  Epp MAE (EST), 8-5
Semifinal – Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) df. Paliha PALIHA (CHN) by Fall, 2:01 (4-2)