Bullen, Larroque Roll into Gold Medal Finals at European Jr C’ships

By William May

BUCHAREST (June 23) – Former cadet rivals Grace BULLEN (NOR) and Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) rolled into the gold medal finals together Thursday as the women’s events got under way at the European Junior Wrestling Championships.

Bullen breezed to three one-sided wins in the morning session to advance to the gold medal match at 59kg against Emma JOHANSSON (SWE), while Larroque notched a fall and a technical fall on her way to a meeting with Elis MANOLOVA (AZE) in the 67kg final.

Defending champ Bullen opened with a pair of technical falls and then flattened junior world bronze medalist Arianna CARIERA (ITA) in the semifinals in just 50 seconds. Johansson scored a fall against European under-23 bronze medalist Derya BAYHAN (TUR) in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Ksenia STANKEVICH (BLR) advanced to the gold medal final at 44kg, hoping it is “third-time lucky” after taking home silver medals the last two years.

But before she can don the gold medal, Stankevich will have to get past sprightly Oksana LIVACH (UKR), who ran over three opponents by a combined score of 36-3 in the morning session. Livach will seek her first continental title since winning the cadet crown in 2014.

And, with no clear favorites in a wide-open field at 51kg, the gold medal final comes down to Hilary HONORINE (FRA), a fifth-place finisher at the Paris Grand Prix in 2015, and Elena BRUGGER (GER), a cadet world bronze medalist in 2014. 

Semifinal Results & Final Pairings

Women’s wrestling

Gold – Ksenia STANKEVICH (BLR) v Oksana LIVACH (UKR)
Bronze – Beata KOSLA (POL) v Bianka RECZI (HUN)
Bronze – Fatme MANDEVA (BUL) v Veronika GURSKAYA (RUS)

Semifinal – Kseniya STANKEVICH (BLR) df. Bianka RECZI (HUN) by Fall, 1:36 (8-0)
Semifinal – Oksana LIVACH (UKR) df. Veronika GURSKAYA (RUS) by TF, 12-2, 4:33

51kg (13 entries)
Gold – Hilary HONORINE (FRA) v Elena BRUGGER (GER)
Bronze – Fatima SIDAKOVA (BLR) v Mehlikla OZTURK (TUR)
Bronze – Katerina MASHKEVICH (UKR) v Luiza SULEYMANOVA (RUS)

Semifinal – Hilary HONORINE (FRA) df. Mehlikla OZTURK(TUR), 4-3
Semifinal – Elena BRUGGER (GER) df. Luiza SULEYMANOVA (RUS), 7-4

59kg (16 entries)
Gold – Emma JOHANSSON (SWE) v Grace BULLEN (NOR)
Bronze – Derya BAYHAN (TUR) v Maria MATYUSHENKO (RUS)
Bronze – Viktoria VILHELM (HUN) v Arianna CARIERI (ITA)

Semifinal – Emma JOHANSSON (SWE) df. Maria MATYUSHENKO (RUS) by Fall, 4:36 (2-0) 
Semifinal – Grace BULLEN (NOR) df. Arianna CARIERI (ITA) by Fall, 0:50 (2-0)

67kg (12 entries)
Gold – Elis MANOLOVA (AZE) v Koumba LARROQUE (FRA)
Bronze – Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) v Asli TUGCU (TUR)
Bronze – Yulia LISOVSKA (UKR) v Enrica RINALDI (ITA) 

Semifinal – Elis MANOLOVA (AZE) df. Enrica RINALDI (ITA) by Fall, 1:31 (8-0)
Semifinal – Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) df. Asli TUGCU (TUR) by TF, 11-0, 1:33