Deuces Wild at European U23s, Four Wrestlers Bid for Second Titles in Women’s Events

By William May

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (March 31) – Defending champions Tatyana KIT (UKR) and Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) advanced to the championships finals at the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships on Friday, seeking to become the first repeat champions in the women’s events.

Kit and Nemeth will be joined by 2015 champions Liliya HORISHNA (UKR) and Petra OLLI (FIN) who will also be seeking their second U23 titles in women’s wrestling at Arena Savaria.

Horishina, who has reached the U23 finals three years in a row, will take on 2015 junior world champion Leyla GURBANOVA (AZE) in the first gold medal bout at 53kg. The match will be a reprise of last year’s semifinal showdown won by Horishna.

Defending champion Kit will be seeking a repeat of last year’s win at 58kg when she takes the mat against another 2015 junior world champ, Elin NILSSON (SWE).

Victories by Horishna and Kit will also be key if Ukraine is to overtake Russia for the team title. Russia, which saw two of its wrestlers crowned on Thursday, has only one wrestler remaining the medal round with Maria KUZNETSOVA (63kg) vying for bronze medal.

In the final two gold medal bouts, Olli takes on three-time U23 finalist Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) for the gold medal at 63kg and Nemeth faces 2016 bronze medal winner Natalia LANKO (BLR) with a chance to bag her second U23 gold medal at 75kg.

Since the inaugural U23 meet in 2015, the only double champion has been Lasha GOBADZE (GEO), who won Greco-Roman titles at 80kg in 2015 and 2016. Gobadze is entered at 85kg and will be trying for a third straight U23 gold medal on Sunday, the final day of the championships.

Semifinal Resutls and Pairings for Medal Finals

Women’s Wrestling

53kg (13 entries)
Gold – Liliya HORISHNA (UKR) v Leyla GURBANOVA (AZE) 
Bronze – Janika VAKKILA (FIN) v Katsiaryna PICHKOVSKAYA (BLR)
Bronze –  Paula KOZLOW (POL) v Iulia LEORDA (MDA)

Semifinal – Liliya HORISHNA (UKR) df. Katsiaryna PICHKOVSKAYA (BLR) by Fall, 2:50 (12-2)
Semifinal – Leyla GURBANOVA (AZE) df. Iulia LEORDA (MDA) by TF, 12-2, 3:12

58kg (11 entries)
Gold – Elin NILSSON (SWE) v Tatyana KIT (UKR)
Bronze – Ronja BUROE (NOR) v Luisa NIEMESCH (GER)

Semifinal – Elin NILSSON (SWE) df. Luisa NIEMESCH (GER), 2-1 
Semifinal – Tatyana KIT (UKR) df. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE), 3-2

63kg (12 entries)
Gold – Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) v Petra OLLI (FIN)
Bronze – Sinem TOPCU (TUR) v Kriszta INCZE (ROU)
Bronze – Yuliana YANEVA (BUL) v Marie KUZNETSOVA (RUS)

Semifinal – Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) df. Kriszta INCZE (ROU) by Fall, 2:04 (2-4)
Semifinal – Petra OLLI (FIN) df. Marie KUZNETSOVA (RUS), 5-0

75kg (11 entries)
Gold – Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) v Natalia LANKO (BLR)
Bronze – Estefania RAMIREZ (ESP) v Francy RAEDELT (GER)
Bronze – Natalia STRZALKA (POL) v Iryna PASICHNYK (UKR)

Semifinal – Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) df. Francy RAEDELT (GER), 6-0
Semifinal – Natalia LANKO (BLR) df. Iryna PASICHNYK (UKR), 4-4