China and Japan Each Advance Four Women to #BuchaWrestU23 Semifinals

By Taylor Miller

Photo of Miho IGARASHI (JPN) by Martin Gabor. 

BUCHAREST, Romania – The first batch of women’s freestyle semifinals are set for the 2018 U23 World Championships in Bucharest, Romania, highlighted by four wrestlers from China and four from Japan.

There are no semifinal head-to-head matchups between the two nations.

For Japan, the four semifinalists include Miho IGARASHI at 50 kg, Saki IGARASHI at 55 kg, Yuzuru KUMANO at 59 kg and Miwa MORIKAWA at 68 kg.

Wrestling tonight for China is Junling OUYANG at 55 kg, Ningning RONG, Chuying TANG at 68 kg and Paliha PALIHA at 76 kg.

2017 U23 World champion Miho Igarashi advanced to the semis at 50 kg, where she will take on two-time age-group World bronze medalist Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU). Miho seeks her fifth World title as she is also a two-time Junior World champion and a 2014 Cadet World champion.

The other semifinal at 50 kg features 2011 Cadet World champion and two-time World silver medalist Nadezhda SOKOLOVA (RUS) and Namuuntsetseg TSOGT OCHIR (MGL).

Photo of Junling OUYANG (CHN) by Martin Gabor. 

At 55 kg, the other Igarashi, Saki, will take on 2016 Junior World bronze medalist and 2014 Cadet World bronze winner Elena Heike BRUGGER (GER). Saki was this year’s 2018 Junior World champion and claimed Cadet World silver in 2015.

On the other side of the bracket, it’s China’s Ouyang against Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ), who is a two-time Junior World medal winner.

Photo of Grace BULLEN (NOR) by Martin Gabor. 

World champions Rong of China and Kumano of Japan are on opposite sides of the 59 kg bracket.

Rong, who won the 2018 Senior World title at 57 kg two weeks ago, will battle two-time Cadet World champion and two-time Junior World medalist Olena KREMZER (UKR), while the reigning U23 World champion Kumano will face Youth Olympic Games champion and 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Grace BULLEN (NOR).

Photo of Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB) by Martin Gabor.

The last weight that features wrestlers from both China and Japan is at 68 kg.

2018 Junior World bronze medalist Morikawa will have to go through Khishigmaa MUNKHBAT (MGL) to earn a spot in the finals. Most recently, Munkhbat was 10th at the Ivan Yarygin Memorial.

Tang of China took seventh at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, last month. In order to guarantee a spot on the podium, Tang must make her way past Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB), who is a 2017 U23 World silver medalist and 2017 Junior World bronze medalist.

At 76 kg, Paliha will face 2015 Junior World bronze winner Gulmaral YERKEBAYEVA (KAZ). On the other side, 2017 U23 World finalist Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN) will go head-to-head with Aysegul OZBEGE (TUR).

Semifinals will begin Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. ET). Fans can watch live on unitedworldwrestling.org.

Semifinal matchups

50 kg
Nadezhda SOKOLOVA (RUS) vs. Namuuntsetseg TSOGT OCHIR (MGL)

55 kg
Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ) vs. Junling OUYANG (CHN)
Elena Heike BRUGGER (GER) vs. Saki IGARASHI (JPN)

59 kg
Ningning RONG (CHN) vs. Olena KREMZER (UKR)
Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) vs. Grace Jacob BULLEN (NOR)

68 kg
Miwa MORIKAWA (JPN) vs. Khishigmaa MUNKHBAT (MGL)

76 kg
Paliha PALIHA (CHN) vs. Gulmaral YERKEBAYEVA (KAZ)
Aysegul OZBEGE (TUR) vs. Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN)


Russia Wins Two Golds on Sunday, Claims #BuchaWrestU23 Team Title

By Taylor Miller

BUCHAREST, Romania – Russia claimed the men’s freestyle team title, producing two champions on Sunday night at the 2018 U23 World Championships in Bucharest, Romania.

2018 U23 European champion Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS) began the night with a gold medal for Russia, defeating Sean FAUSZ (USA), 11-1, in the 61 kg finals, fueled by three takedowns in the second period.

At 74 kg, Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) made his second World finals appearance in just a few weeks after claiming silver at the 2018 Senior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, last month.

This time, he topped the podium, sticking host country’s Maxim VASILIOGLO (ROU) in the first period at the 1:51 mark.

Winning the crown at 86 kg was Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI), a 2013 Cadet World bronze medalist. Ghasempour controlled the entire match, giving up only one point to 2017 Junior World champion Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) in a 4-1 win.

Scoring 10 points in the second period, 2018 U23 European champion Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) toppled Aslanbek SOTIEV (RUS) with a 13-8 comeback win for the World title at 92 kg.

In the last 90 seconds, Zubairov scored two takedowns plus exposure points to get ahead.

Ending the night with another gold medal for Russia was 2015 Junior World champion Said GAMIDOV (RUS), who pinned Youssif HEMIDA (USA) in 2:07 for his second age-group World title.

Sending five to Sunday’s medal matches, Iran went 4-1, picking up one gold and three bronzes to earn a spot on the podium, taking third with 105 points. Georgia finished second in the team race with 108 points. Rounding out the top five was Japan and USA.

Final results

61 kg
GOLD: Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS) df. Sean FAUSZ (USA), 11-1
BRONZE: Minghu LIU (CHN) df. Iman Mokhtar SADEGHIKOUKANDEH (IRI), 3-3

74 kg
GOLD: Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) df. Maxim VASILIOGLO (ROU), fall
BRONZE: Timur BIZHOEV (RUS) df. Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK), 5-2
BRONZE: Navid ZANGANEH (IRI) df. Andranik GABRIELYAN (ARM), 10-0

86 kg
BRONZE: Murad SULEYMANOV (AZE) df. Alexander MOORE (CAN), 10-0
BRONZE: Gankhuyag GANBAATAR (MGL) df. Arif OZEN (TUR), 4-1

92 kg
GOLD: Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) df. Aslanbek SOTIEV (RUS), 13-8
BRONZE: Bohdan HRYTSAY (UKR) df. Sargis HOVSEPYAN (ARM), 4-0

125 kg
GOLD: Said GAMIDOV (RUS) df. Youssif HEMIDA (USA), fall
BRONZE: Amin TAHERI (IRI) df. Kamil Tomasz KOSCIOLEK (POL), fall
BRONZE: Rolandi ANDRIADZE (GEO) df. Yasuhiro YAMAMOTO (JPN), 4-0

Team results
1. Russia – 181
2. Georgia – 108
3. Iran – 105
4. Japan – 93
5. USA – 92