Deng and Olli Among History Makers of the Year Recipients
Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 15:38 By Eric Olanowski
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 15) -- United World Wrestling has named China’s DENG Zhiwei, Finland’s Petra OLLI, and Russia’s Greco-Roman world team the History Makers of the Year award.
Deng Zhiwei captured a silver medal at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary and became China’s first-ever freestyle world medalist. Prior to the 2018 World Championships, China had reached the bronze medal match four times and failed to win a bronze in each of those four matches.
Deng’s road to finals was sparked by a 4-1 opening round victory over Canada’s 2014 junior world champion, Amarveer DHESI. In the quarterfinals, the Chinese big-man outlasted defending world bronze medalist, Nicholas GWIAZDOWSKI (USA), 5-4. In the semifinals, Deng rolled pasted India’s Sumit SUMIT, 5-0, securing his spot in the Chinese wrestling record books.
After his semifinals win over Sumit, Deng said, “I’m always having dreams about wrestling, and I’ve dedicated my life to the sport for the past 16 years…Now I get to bring honor to my country.”
Deng ultimately fell short in the finals, dropping the 125kg gold-medal bout to Georgia’s two-time world champion, Geno PETRIASHVILI.
In women’s wrestling, Petra OLLI (FIN) improved on her 2015 World Championships silver medal finish when she avenged her Poland Open finals loss and hung on to beat Canada’s Danielle LAPPAGE, 6-5. Olli’s final win at 65kg granted Finland their first-ever women’s wrestling gold medal and first world title since Marko YLI-HANNUKSELA (FIN) won Greco-Roman gold at the 1997 Wroclaw, Poland World Championships.
In addition to her gold medal at the World Championships, Olli also won titles at the Klippan Lady Open, the International Ukrainian Tournament, and the European Championships.
In Greco-Roman, Russia made history by winning six of ten possible gold medals. Russia’s 2018 Greco-Roman team outdid their fellow countrymen who set the gold medal record when they won five world titles in 1994. The six Russian wrestlers who won gold medals in Budapest were Sergey EMELIN (60kg), Stepan MARYANYAN (63kg), Artem SURKOV (67kg), Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (77kg), Musa EVLOEV (97kg), and Sergey SEMENOV (125kg).
The Russian Federation finished the 2018 World Championships with a record of 37-6. Of those six Russian defeats, their opponents went on to win two golds and four bronze medals.
The next award to be released is the Biggest Rivalries of the Year award. That'll come out on Wednesday.