Beach Wrestling World Series grows to 3 continents in 2023

By United World Wrestling Press

CROSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (March 7) -- The Beach Wrestling World Series continues to gather popularity with its incredible athleticism, non-stop action, easy-to-understand points system and rules, as well as a growing recognition in relevance from the world of sports.

Already the fastest-growing style on the United World Wrestling (UWW) calendar, beach wrestling gets underway in a brand new location. The season opener will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 7-8, following UWW's senior Pan-American Championships, It will mark the return of the World Series to the continent for the first time since the inaugural season in 2019.

The tour will then head to its first-ever stop on Asian sands as it touches down in Singapore on June 10 and 11, making its debut on the continent.

The first two stops of the World Series are also qualifying events for the ANOC World Beach Games, which will take place in Bali on August 11 and 12. Beach Wrestling is a core event at the Games.

The third stop will see the wrestlers move to the sensational sands of Saint Laurent du Var, bringing that Cote D’Azur French flair to the season for the third year in a row with the event doubling up as the sport's U17 and U20 European Championships.

The penultimate event will take place on September 9 and 10 on magical Mamaia Beach in Constanta, Romania which has been the venue for the final stop of the World Series’ past two seasons. With the U17 and U20 World Championships taking place in the days before, the sand will be warmed up for the seniors to show their skills.

The final stop will see the Kings and Queens of the Beach coronated in Sarigerme, an area of marvelous Mugla, Turkey, and the site of the 2022 season opener, on October 14 and 15 as the curtain comes down on another year of the strongest show on the sand.

The Beach Wrestling World Series is popular with fans and athletes alike, providing a festival atmosphere as the sun shines on the sand, the music plays and the spectators’ "ooohs" and "ahhhs" accompany the wrestlers on their way to gold.

The adrenaline-filled action helps feed the vibe and it’s easy to see why the sand side crowd continues to grow with each event. With Beach Wrestling being named one of ANOC’s Beach Games core disciplines for 2023 and 2025, the popularity of the sport is sure to continue to grow at the rapid rate it has so far.

More than 700 athletes from 48 countries have participated in the World Series since its introduction in 2019 with 267 women and 445 men taking to the sand with World Series gold in their sights. More new faces, talents and potential title challengers are expected for the new season.

Registration is open for four different weight categories for both men and women, with the men's competing in -70kg, -80kg, -90kg and +90kg, and the women competing in -50kg, -60kg, -70kg and +70kg. Each bout lasts three minutes, or first to three points.

The UWW has put prize money of 1000 Swiss Francs for the gold medalists, 500 Swiss Francs for the silver medalists and 250 Swiss Francs for each of the two bronze medalists. Along with that, the ‘Top Technique’ award for the best move over the weekend, voted by the fans via the World Series’ official Instagram page, will see the winners take home 1000 Swiss Francs for each gender.

Who will take home the gold in this series? Will the Big Gun, Azerbaijan’s Oyan Nazariani make a victorious return after an injury-hit 2022? Will the Glorious Georgians go on another gold run? Will anyone be able to match Romania’s 50kg ‘heavyweight’ Stefania Princeputu? Can the ever-growing Team USA make an impression this year?

Will the impressive Indian team continue its upwards trajectory, or will the Brilliant Bulgarians shine on the sand? It’s anyone’s guess as we head towards the start of the series with competitors from all over the world gearing up for the biggest Beach Wrestling World Series to date.

Tune in to see how the drama unfolds and who will be the Kings and Queens on Sand, come October in Mugla.

Dates and Locations, Beach Wrestling World Series 2023
Stop 1 – Buenos Aires (ARG), May 7-8, 2023  
Stop 2 – Singapore (SGP), June 10-11, 2023
Stop 3 – Saint-Laurent-du-Var (FRA), June 29-30, 2023
Stop 4 – Constanta (ROU), September 9-10, 2023
FINAL – Mugla (TUR), October 14-15, 2023

UWW Beach Wrestling
UWW, then known as FILA, codified the form of beach wrestling in 2004. Beach Wrestling is standing wrestling done by wrestlers inside a sand-filled circle measuring 7 meters (23 ft) in diameter. The style originally mirrored the rules used before the use of wrestling mats, and Beach Wrestling has been regarded as the oldest version of international competitive wrestling. The international rules were modified by UWW in 2015, with the current rules allowing wrestlers to score points via takedowns, pushing their opponent out of bounds, or bringing the opponent down to their back.

Introduced in 2019, the Beach Wrestling World Series crowns the world champions during the finals of the five-legged competitive season in beach locations across South America, Asia and Europe.

Weight Classes
Women: 50kg, 60kg, 70kg, and +70kg
Men: 70kg, 80kg, 90kg, and +90kg

Find out all about the Beach Wrestling World Series at www.beachwrestling.org

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Marchenko wins gold for Ukraine; Romania best at U20 Worlds

By Vinay Siwach

CONSTANTA, Romania (September 2) -- When Romania hosted its national championships for beach wrestling, more than 800 wrestlers registered across age groups. Perhaps Romania is by far the most active country in the sport.

So it was no surprise when seven of the eight finalists at the U20 World Championships at the Mamaia beach in Constanta, Romania were from the host country.

Winning three out of the four gold medals, Romania ended the championships as the best team in the women's category, as it did at the U17 edition a day before.

The only non-Romanian wrestler who managed to win the gold on Friday was Sofiia MARCHENKO (UKR), winning the 60kg title after beating Viorica ADAM (ROU) in the final.

While Adam, a silver medalist from the U17 World Championships last year, was the favorite, Marchenko dug deep to upset the local in the final minute of the bout.

Surprised by the constant attacks from Adam, Marchenko took time to adjust to Adam's style. On a few occasions, Adam almost got the fall but Marchenko managed to defend the attempted throws.

After two minutes of no action, Adam got the first point but Marchenko answered with a takedown four seconds later. But since she had a caution against her, Adams led 1-1 on criteria.

But Marchenko remained calm and scored a stepout with just 18 seconds remaining to win the gold medal.

"The final match was tough," Marchenko said. "The girl [Adam] was really active. I was risking with the hip-toss, but I did everything right and won."

Marchenko finished ninth at the U17 Worlds where Adams won the silver but has been training for the championships and it paid off.

"I practice freestyle wrestling, but when it’s getting warmer in summer I practice beach wrestling," she said.

The 18-year-old showed her class in the semifinal as well when she defeated Ana PUIU (ROU) 3-2 in the semifinal. She took a 1-0 lead with a snap down in the first four seconds but Puiu countered with an ankle pick. As the bout neared its end, Puiu took the lead when Marchenko's knee touched the sand.

With 37 seconds remaining, Puiu was happy defending her lead but Marchenko scored via a strong snap. She ended the bout with another snap down.

But Romania's three gold medalists came at 50kg, 70kg, and +70kg.

'21 U20 world bronze medalist Ana PIRVU (ROU) upgraded her medal to gold this year as she won her four bouts at 50kg to remain undefeated.

She began with a 1-0 win over Fanny VIGOUROUX (FRA) in Round 2 before beating Andreea BARAGA (ROU) 3-1 in Round 3, Nicoleta BAJAN (ROU) 3-0 in Round 4 and  Cristina ANDUJAR (ESP) 3-0 in Round 5.

At 70kg, Teodora SIRBU (ROU) defeated compatriot Paula ROTARU (ROU) 3-1 in the final to claim the gold medal. Sirbu had missed out on a medal last year but dominated the field on Friday to win her first world title in beach wrestling.

Drosoula TZIANAKOPOULOU (GRE) won the bronze medal after she beat Georgiana ANDRIES (ROU) 3-0. She won her second bronze in two days as she was a medalist at the U17 Worlds as well.

In the +70kg weight class, Elena MARGAS (ROU) pulled off a thrilling 2-2 win over Andreea SCARLATESCU (ROU) to win the gold medal.

Both wrestlers were tied 0-0 for the first two minutes before the referee penalized Margas for passivity. Scarlatsecu then scored a stepout to lead 2-0.

But Margas managed to get a point with five seconds remaining. She then got another throw in the final second to win 2-2.

Amalia RATUNZEANU (ROU) defeated Maren ANDERSON (USA) 3-0 in the bronze medal bout to ensure a sweep of the podium for Romania.

Georgian TRIPON (ROU)Georgian TRIPON (ROU), dark, won the +90kg gold medal. (Photo: FRL)

3 gold for Romania men

Like the women's category, Romania dominated the show in men's as well, winning three out of the four gold medals on offer.

At 70kg, Daniel SANDU (ROU) put the Round 1 loss against Alin CIORICI (MDA) behind him to reach the semifinals in which he defeated Rubail IBRAHIMLI (AZE) 3-2 in a close decision. Ibrahmili got behind Sandu and almost forced the Romanian's knee to touch the sand but his own knee touched first which gave Sandu the win.

In the final, he defeated Ion MARCU (MDA) 3-1 to be crowned champion, an improvement from his bronze medal at the U17 Worlds last year.

The final was expected to be a rematch between Sandu and Ciorici but in the semifinal, the Moldovan was tied 0-0 with Marcu. In such a case, the wrestler with lower weight wins. But both Marcu and Ciorici had the exact weight of 69.85kg.

As luck would have it, Marcu's draw number was lower than Ciorici which gave him the win over his teammate.

Ibrahimli bounced back in the bronze medal bout and defeated Ciorici 3-0 for the win.

At 80kg, Thor MICHAELSON (USA) looked in some form as he dominated his way to reach the semifinals against Ion MARCU (MDA). He was trailing 2-0 when he scored a three-point move to win and reach the final against Denis CHIRICA (ROU).

He once again came from behind with a lead 2-2 on criteria against Chirica but as he tried defending his lead with 10 seconds left, Chirica used a snap down in which Michaelson's knee touched the sand the Romanian won 3-2.

Marcu returned to beat Luca FINIZIO (ITA) 3-0 and win the bronze medal.

The Nordic bracket was followed at 90kg and Farid JABBAROV (AZE) emerged as the unbeaten wrestler after Round 5. 

He began with a win against Razvan PAVALASC (ROU), followed by Alexandru OLTEAN (ROU) and David MITRAN (ROU). In Round 5, he defeated Konstantinos TSAKNAKIS (GRE) to claim the gold medal.

Oltean with three wins was the silver medalist while Pavalasc took home the bronze with two wins.

Azerbaijan could have won a second gold medal but Georgian TRIPON (ROU) defeated Zafar ALIYEV (AZE) in the +90kg final to deny it.

In a rematch of the Round 3 bout which Tripon won, 3-2, Aliyev tried to avenge that loss but Tripon was well prepared for the final which he won 2-1.

The bronze medal was won by Rafail GKIRNIS (GRE) who defeated Eduard POPESCU (ROU) 2-0.