Defending Champs Nezgovorova, Kumano Advance, Sanchez 1st for Cuba at Jr Wrestling World C'ships

By William May

TAMPERE, Finland (August 3) – Defending champions Ksenia NEZGOVOROVA (RUS) and Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) each advanced to the gold medal finals in women’s wrestling on Thursday, the third day of the Junior World Wrestling Championships.

Nezgovorova, who also won the European junior title in June, notched a pair of falls and a technical fall on her way to the 51kg finals, while Kumano wrapped up a pair of technical falls and a 10-2 win in the semifinals to book her place in the 59kg final at Tampere Exhibition and Sport Center.

Nezgovorova will face a familiar foe in Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR) in the 51kg final. Bereza fell, 2-1, to Nezgovorova in the semifinals at last year’s world meet and again in the European junior final in June, 4-3.

Bereza’s path to Thursday evening’s final included two technical falls and an 8-2 triumph over LIAO Xuejiao (CHN), last year’s junior Asia champion and junior world silver medalist.

Kumano, meanwhile, was one of six world champions from Japan last year, and will face the 2016 European junior champion Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) in the 59kg final.  Nichita will be seeking to snap a string of second-place finishes in age-group events over the last 12 months – the cadet world, European under-23, and European junior championships.

In the morning session on Thursday, Nichita slipped behind three-time junior European champion Grace BULLEN (NOR) in the closing seconds of their semifinal bout for a 7-6 triumph. In June, Bullen defeated Nichita by technical fall for her third junior European title.

Joining Nezgovorova and Kumano in the gold medal round will be teammates Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) and Manami UENO (JPN). Velieva and Ueno both won titles at the cadet world meet in Tbilisi last September.

Velieva, who also won the junior European crown in June, will meet junior Pan American silver medalist Yudaris SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB) in the 67kg final. Sanchez, also a senior Pan American silver medalist in 2016, becomes the first Cuban woman to reach a world championship final for any age group.

On her way to the final, Sanchez pinned junior European runner-up Hedda STRAND (NOR) in the round of 16 and defeated junior Asia champion Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ), 5-2, in the semifinals.

Ueno, who turns 18 next Monday, pinned European junior champion Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU) in the 44kg semifinals and will face Asia junior champion CHEN Yumei (CHN), who recorded three technical falls to reach the gold medal final.

Event Page

Medal Pairings & Semifinal Results

Women’s Wrestling

44kg (15 entries)
Gold – CHEN Yumei (CHN) v Manami UENO (JPN)
Bronze – Alexia SEAL (CAN) v Oveionce RAY (USA)
Bronze – Fatme MANDEVA (BUL) v Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU)

Semifinal – CHEN Yumei (CHN) df. Oveionce RAY (USA) by TF, 13-2, 4:39
Semifinal – Manami UENO (JPN) df. Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU) by Fall, 1:43 (12-2)

51kg (20 entries)
Gold – Ksenia NEZGOVOROVA (RUS) v Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR)
Bronze – Cameron GUERIN (USA) v BAT ORSHIKH Bolor Erdene (MGL)
Bronze – Nao TANIYAMA (JPN) v LIAO Xuejian (CHN)

Semifinal – Ksenia NEZGOVOROVA (RUS) df. BAT ORSHIKH Bolor Erdene (MGL) by Fall, 4:42 (6-1)
Semifinal – Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR) df. LIAO Xuejian (CHN), 8-2 

59kg (19 entries)
Gold – Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) v Anastasia NICHITA (ROU)
Bronze – Kumari MANJU (IND) v Ilona PROKOPEVNIUK (UKR)
Bronze – JIANG Jing (CHN) v Grace BULLEN (NOR)

Semifinal – Yuzuru KUMANO (JPN) df. Ilona PROKOPEVNIUK (UKR), 10-2
Semifinal – Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) df. Grace BULLEN (NOR), 7-

67kg (18 entries)
Bronze – Hedda STRAND (NOR) v Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ)
Bronze – Naruha MATSUYUKI (JPN) v Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU)

Semifinal – Yudaris SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB) df. Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ), 5-2
Semifinal – Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) df. Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU) by Fall, 1:16 (6-0)