Belenyuk Regains Crown, Russia Hangs on for Team Honors at European Champ's

By William May

RIGA (March 13) – Zhan BELENYUK (UKR) regained the continental crown he lost some nine months ago and Russia held on for team honors as the the curtain came down Sunday on the European senior wrestling championships.

Belenyuk, winner of the 2015 world title in Las Vegas, was steady throughout the day at Arena Riga with three wins at 85kg, including a 5-2 win over two-time former European junior bronze medalist Robert KOBLIASHVILI (GEO) in the championship bout.

Belenyuk earned a penalty point for Kobliashvili’s lack of activity midway through the second period for a 3-2 lead, then added a gut wrench for two points to close out the scoring in the finale of the championships.

The triumph was Belenyuk’s second in Europe after winning the title in 2014 and then slipping to second place and the silver medal at the European Games in Baku.

Asked about the difference between the 2014 victory and Sunday’s win, Belenyuk said, “The first win is like a person’s first love – you never forget it. But, this time I think I learned how to win and I know now what it takes to win.”

Kobliashvili, a two-time European junior bronze medalist, outlasted 2014 world silver medalist at 80kg Evgeni SALEEV (RUS) for a 1-1 win in the semifinals at 85kg, the last of four events contested on Sunday.

Saleev and Russia’s three remaining entries in the Greco-Roman all stumbled badly a day after Russia won three of the first four titles on offer in Riga.

Saleev and Ramazan ABACHARAEV (80kg) each posted fifth-place finishes Sunday as Russia added 12 points to its first-day total for a 48-42 win over Armenia for the team title. Azerbaijan, meanwhile, received a third place from Hasan ALIYEV (71kg) and was third place with 40 points.

In addition to Belenyuk’s victory, Armenia claimed its first champion of championships with Varsham BORANYAN (ARM) at 71kg and a bronze medal from Karapet CHALYAN (ARM) at 75kg.

Boranyan defeated challenger Aleksandar MAKSIMOVIC (SRB), 3-0, at 71kg, while Chalyan frustrated 2015 European Games gold medalist Elvin MURSALIEV (AZE) for a 4-1 win a a bronze medal match at 75kg.

In the gold medal match at 75kg, 2013 European silver medalist Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (GEO) wait patiently for a chance in par terre and converted with a lift-and-turn for two points and a 2-2 victory over European Under-23 champion Viktor NEMES (SRB).

Datunashvili won by virtue of having scored the technique of highest point value in the match.

The win was Datunashvili’s first European title after finishing with the silver medal at the 2013 championships at home in Tbilisi. Nemes, meanwhile, became Serbia’s third silver medalist of the championships.

At 80kg, Pascal EISELE (GER) locked up a wicked front headlock-and-turn for his third technical fall of the day along with a fall in the quarterfinals.

Eisele, who was fifth in the European Games and 15th at the world championships in Las Vegas, cinched up the front headlock midway through the gold medal final with Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) and quickly rolled up the 8-0 victory.

“It’s going to take me a week to comprehend this victory,” the ecstatic Eisele told reporters. “I can’t even imagine that my first senior title was at the European championships. I’m so happy.”

Actually, however, Eisele’s first title at an event on the international wrestling calendar was at the Paris Grand Prix in late January and his first medal at a senior-level event was a silver medal at the Dan Kolov Tournament in 2013 at Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

-- Results --


71kg (25 entries)
Gold – Varsham BORANYAN (ARM) df. Aleksandar MAKSIMOVIC (SRB), 3-0
Bronze – Hasan ALIYEV (AZE) df. Yunus OZEL (TUR), 8-1
Bronze – Balint KORPASI (HUN) df. Tomi HINOVEANU (ROU) by TF, 9-0, 5:07

75kg (25 entries)
Gold – Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (GEO) df. Viktor NEMES (SRB), 2-2 (technique of greater value)
Bronze – Laszlo SZABO (HUN) df. Neven ZUGAJ (CRO), 4-2
Bronze – Karapet CHALYAN (ARM) df. Elvin MURSALIEV (AZE), 4-1

80kg (21 entries)
Gold – Pascal EISELE (GER) df. Edgar BABAYAN (POL) by TF, 8-0, 2:00
Bronze – Aslan ATEM (TUR) df. Ramazan ABACHARAEV (RUS), 2-1
Bronze – Daniel ALEKSANDROV (BUL) df. Raibek BISULTANOV (DEN) by TF, 9-0, 2:36

85kg (22 entries)
Gold – Zhan BELENYUK (UKR) df. Robert KOBLIASHVILI (GEO), 5-2
Bronze – Denis KUDLA (GER) df. Laimutis ADOMAITIS (LTU), 5-2
Bronze – Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) df. Evgeni SALEEV (RUS), 3-2

Team Standings (Top Six)
1. Russia, 46 points (3 gold medals, 0 silver, 0 bronze
2. Armenia, 42 (1-2-1)
3. Azerbaijan, 40 (0-0-2)
4. Turkey, 37 (1-1-1)
5. Ukraine, 36 (1-1-1)
6. Georgia, 35 (1-1-1)

اما در روز نخست نیز اتفاقات مهمی رخ داد. مینگیان سمنوف، نایب قهرمان 2014 جهان از روسیه مقابل رومن آمویان برنده مدال برنز المپیک 2008 پکن به پیروزی هشت بر صفر رسید و مدال طلای 59 کیلوگرم را به دست آورد.

سمنوف پس از قهرمانی در اروپا گفت: از این نتیجه‌ خوشحال هستم، چرا که اولین قهرمانی من در اروپا است، اما تمرکز من کمک به تیم ‌ملی روسیه برای کسب سهمیه المپیک در وزن 59 کیلوگرم است.

همچنین اسلام بک آلبیف که چشم بازگشت به بازی‌های المپیک دارد، در فینال وزن 66 کیلوگرم مقابل داوور استفانک، قهرمان 2014 جهان از صربستان به برتری با ضربه فنی رسید.

آلبیف پس از این قهرمانی گفت: من کمی مصدومیت‌های جزئی دارم و در خاک نمی توانستم تمرین زیادی داشته باشم، اما از این که توانستم فنونم را در خاک اجرا کنم، شگفت زده شدم.