Betschart Ready to Rewrite Swiss Record Books

By Eric Olanowski

TRNAVA, Slovakia (September 18) - Ramon BETSCHART (SUI) will take the mat Tuesday night with an opportunity to rewrite the Swiss Greco-Roman wrestling books when he competes for his country’s first junior world gold medal. 

His historic Trnava run comes a year after Betschart left Tampere, Finland with a 15th place finish at the 2017 World Championships. “I don’t regret anything from those championships, and not much has changed in my life over the past year. I attribute this year’s success to the recent rules changes. Particularly the par terre rule changes.” 

Prior to his Monday semifinal win, Switzerland's highest Greco-Roman finish came from Thomas ROETHISBERGER at the 1992 World Championships when he finished in fourth place.

“I didn’t know the history behind my semifinals match,” said Betschart. “Walking to the mat, I wasn’t thinking about making history, only concentrating on my match. I was just focused on the match and nothing else. But if it was me or another Swiss wrestler, I would have been happy.”

After his semifinals win, flanked by his Swiss teammates, Betschart said “This is an amazing feeling. It’s pure happiness. I really have no word for how I feel. I just hope I get the gold medal tomorrow.” 

Waking up Tuesday morning, nothing is going to change for Betchart. “Preparation-wise, I’m not going to change anything. Normal preparation and focusing on my warmup is going to be key.”  

Betschart will take on the 2018 Asian junior champion Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) in the 87kg gold-medal bout. 

 “I know I will wrestle Mohammadhadi Saravi in tomorrow’s finals. But I don’t think much about my opponent. I have my way, the Swiss way, and that’s all I think about.”

If Betschart scores the gold medal on Tuesday night, he’ll join his uncle Hugo DIETSCHE (SUI) in rewriting the Swiss Greco-Roman record books. Dietsche won Switzerland’s first Olympic medal in 36 years when he finished with the bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angles Olympic Games. That 1984 bronze medal still stands as Switzerland’s last Greco-Roman Olympic medal. 


Russia Wins Fifth Gold Medal, Junior World Team Title

By Eric Olanowski

TRNAVA, Slovakia (September 23) – Russia closed out the 2018 Junior World Championships winning the freestyle team title on the backs of five individual gold medals. Heading into the final day of wrestling, the Russian Federation led the second-place United States by 31 points and finished 67 points ahead of the returning champions. 

Russia grabbed a trio of gold medals on the sixth day of competition and seized championships from Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) and Soslan KHINCHAGOV (RUS) on the seventh day of wrestling at Trnava’s City Sports Hall. 

Abasgadzhi Magomedov improved his 2015 cadet runner-up finish, ending the 61kg finals bout early, grabbing the 10-0 technical superiority victory over Georgia’s Ramaz TURMANIDZE. 

The 2016 junior European champion technically and tactfully scored three takedowns via short drags, and two gut-wrenches, ending the gold-medal bout in 2:50. 

Soslan KHINCHAGOV (RUS), who was competing in his first age-level world championship since claiming the silver medal at the 2015 Cadet World Championships, shutout Aly BARGHOUT (CAN), 7-0 in the 125kg finals, giving Russia their fifth and final gold medal of the tournament. 

Overall, Russia capped off the 2018 Junior World Championships with seven medalists. In addition to their five gold medals, they also won a silver and bronze medal. Though they had seven medalists a year ago, there five gold medals are an improvement from last year’s four gold medals. 

Meanwhile, in his third career freestyle tournament, Mekhi LEWIS (USA) sealed the team silver medal for the United States with a 5-1 win over Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) in the 74kg finals.

Lewis trailed 1-0 in the opening period, surrendering a passivity point before scoring a takedown and stepout, controlling a 3-1 lead into the final period. In the second period, Lewis scored a brutality point and a second stepout to give America their first champion across any division of the 2018 Junior World Championships. 

In the 86kg gold-medal bout, Arif OZEN (TUR) stopped Deepak PUNIA (IND) from winning India’s first freestyle junior world gold medal since 2001. 

The Turkish wrestler struck first, scoring an early takedown, which ended up being the match-deciding takedown. Ozen gave up a stepout as time expired, but won the match, 2-1, giving Turkey their first freestyle gold medal of these championships.

Abbas Ali FOROUTANRAMI (IRI) put on a takedown clinic in the 92kg championships bout, blanking Alisher YERGALI (KAZ), 11-0.

After three-minutes, Foroutanrami commanded the 3-0 lead before firing off four takedowns in the second period to end the match with the technical superiority victory.   


Team Scores 
GOLD – Russia (182 points)
SILVER – United States (115 points)
BRONZE –  Iran (98 points)
Fourth – Azerbaijan (91 points)
Fifth – India (84 points)

GOLD – Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Ramaz TURMANIDZE (GEO), 10-0 

BRONZE - Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) df. Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB), 9 - 3
BRONZE - Syrbaz TALGAT (KAZ) df. Minsu CHO (KOR), 10-4 

GOLD - Mekhi Kevin LEWIS (USA) df. Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE), 5-1 

BRONZE - Devid BETANOV (RUS) df. Sachin RATHI (IND), 11 - 1

GOLD - Arif OZEN (TUR) df. Deepak PUNIA (IND), 2-1 


GOLD - Abbas Ali FOROUTANRAMI (IRI) df. Alisher YERGALI (KAZ), 11-0 

BRONZE - Askhab HAMZATOV (AZE) df. Makhsud VEYSALOV (UZB), 9 - 3
BRONZE - Erhan YAYLACI (TUR) df. Khokh KHUGAEV (RUS), 7-3

GOLD - Soslan KHINCHAGOV (RUS) df. Aly Medhat Abde BARGHOUT (CAN), 7-0 

BRONZE - Khasanboy RAKHIMOV (UZB) df. Amir Nader YARI (IRI), 6 - 4
BRONZE - Samhan JABRAILOV (MDA) df. Rahid HAMIDLI (AZE), 3-1