Chen Ends 28-Year Olympic Hiatus for Chinese Taipei Wrestling

By William May

ASTANA (March 18) – Chen Wen-ling (TPE) ended a 28-year drought for Chinese Taipei wrestling Friday by snaring the final ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on offer the first day of the Asian Olympic Games qualifying tournament in the Kazakhstani capital of Astana.

Chen, competing in a five-wrestler pool at 69kg, defeated Bakhtigul BALTANIYAZOVA (UZB), 5-0, in Friday’s evening session for her third win of the day against one loss to book her place on the Chinese Taipei squad headed to Rio de Janiero in August.

“I’m so happy,” the 21-year-old university student after her match at Daulet Sports Complex. “I want to thank my coach and everybody.”

Despite her happiness, however, Chen explained that her lack of a celebration after the bout that sends her to Rio was because “I wanted to do my best, but I didn’t reach my goal – which was to make all of my attacks.”

Still, as the reality of her accomplishment sunk in, Chen said of her preparations for Rio, “I will follow my coach and I will believe in my coach.”

Earlier in the day, Chen fell to local favorite Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) in the opening round of the Nordic competition system in which all of the wrestlers in the group wrestle each other to determine the winner.

Syzdykova, who finished seventh in the world championships last September, won all four of her bouts in the morning session – two by fall -- to secure her place on top of the 69kg category along with a ticket to Rio 2016.

Chen, meanwhile, was steady in winning her next three bouts to nailed down second place and become Chinese Taipei’s first wrestler at an Olympic Games in 28 years – and Chinese Taipei’s first-ever entry in women’s wrestling at the Olympic Games.

With the top two entries at each weight category qualifying for Rio 2016, the winners of the semifinals in five of Friday’s first six categories secured berths in Rio 2016 for their national Olympic committees.

Japan led the charge in the morning session as Shinobu OTA (JPN) kicked off the morning session with a stunning victory over world and Olympic champion Hamid SORYAN (IRI), riding that emotion all the way into the final.

“We knew that he could do it,” coach Shingo MATSUMOTO (JPN) said later. “We only told him to stay calm and keep the pressure on.”

Along with Ota, Japan also has to find room on a flight to Rio de Janeiro for national team newcomer Rei HIGUCHI (57kg) and 2014 world silver medalist Sosuke TAKATANI (74kg).

Takatani who was injured and had not been doing much sparring forged a 4-2 win over Asian Games gold medalist Rashid KURBANOV (UZB).

Along with Japan’s three berths, host Kazakhstan grabbed two with 2014 world team member Galimzhan USSERBAEV (KAZ), winning by injury default in the finals at 74kg.

China also earned a pair of trips to Rio in Greco-Roman with WANG Lumin (59kg), who finished eighth at last fall’s world championships in Las Vegas, and Asian Games bronze medalist FENG Pei (85kg). Wang and Peng also closed out the day in the finals between the two Rio 2016 qualifiers.


57kg (8 entries)
Gold – Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) df. YUN Jun-Sik (KOR), 4-0
Bronze – Rahul AWARE (IND) df. Berdi ATBAYEV (TKM) by TF, 10-0, 2:06
Bronze – Samat NADYRBEK UULU (KGZ) df. LI Liang (CHN) by TF, 10-0, 5:24

Semifinals – Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) df. Rahul AWARE (IND) by TF, 10-0, 1:09
Semifinals – YUN Jun-Sik (KOR) df. Samat NADYRBEK UULU (KGZ), 9-8

74kg (10 entries)
Gold – Galimzhan USSERBAEV (KAZ) df. Sosuke TAKATANI (JPN) by Injury Default, 0:25 (1-0)
Bronze – Azamat SUFIEV (TJK) df. Ilgiz DZHAKYPBEKOV (KGZ), 3-1
Bronze – Rashid KURBANOV (UZB) df. Dauletmurat ORAZYLOV (TKM) by Injury Default, 0:05 (0-0

Semifinals – Galimzhan USSERBAEV (KAZ) df. Ilgiz DZHAKYBEKOV (KGZ), 6-4
Semifinals – Sosuke TAKATANI (JPN) df. Rashid KURBANOV (UZB), 4-2

Women's Wrestling

53kg (8 entries)
Gold –ERDENECHIMEG Sumiya (MGL) df. NGUYEN Thi Lua (VIE), 8-2
Bronze – Kumari BABITA (IND) df. LEE Shin-Hye (KOR), 4-4
Bronze – Zukhra MUSTANOVA (UZB) df. CHIU Hsin-ju (TPE) yb TF, 13-3, 5:37

Semifinals – ERDENECHIMEG Sumiya (MGL) df. Kumari BABITA (IND), 15-8
Semifinals – NGUYEN Thi Lua (VIE) df. Zukhra MUSTANOVA (UZB) by Fall, 4:48 (4-5)

69kg (5 entries, Nordic system)
1. Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ), 4 wins, 0 losses, 14 classification points
2. CHEN Wen-ling (TPE), 3-1, 9 CP
3. Kaur NAVJOT (IND), 2-2, 8 CP
4. JEONG Eun-Sun (KOR), 1-3, 4 CP
5. Bakhtigul BALTANIYAZOVA (UZB), 0-4, 1CP

RR5 – CHEN Wen-ling (TPE) df. Bakhtigul BALTANIYAZOVA (UZB), 5-0
RR5 – Kaur NAVJOT (IND) df. JEONG Eun-Sun (KOR) by Fall, 4:52


59kg (10 entries)
Gold – WANG Lumin (CHN) df. Shinobu OTA (JPN), 8-8
Bronze – Kara AL BETHANI (IRQ) df. Ravinder SINGH (IND), 9-6
Bronze – Firuz TUKHTAEV (UZB) df. KIM Seung-Hak (KOR), 3-0

Semifinal – WANG Lumin (CHN) df. Kara AL BETHANI (IRQ) by TF, 10-0, 2:16
Semifinal – Shinobu OTA (JPN) df. KIM Seung-Hak (KOR) by TF, 10-2, 5:36

85kg (8 entries)
Gold – PENG Fei (CHN) df. Yanarbek KENZHEEV (KGZ), 8-2
Bronze – Azamat KUSTUBAEV (KAZ) df. Thirayut BUNPHET (THA) by TF, 8-0, 0:33
Bronze – Ravinder KHATRI (IND) df. Taichi OKA (JPN), 6-1

Semifinal – PENG Fei (CHN) df. Azamat KUSTUBAEV (KAZ), 2-1
Semifinal – Yanarbek KENZHEEV (KGZ) df. Taichi OKA (JPN) by TF, 8-0, 1:41