Fris Wins First GR Gold Medal for Host Serbia at European Wrestling C’ships

By William May

NOVI SAD, Serbia (May 6) – Kristijan FRIS (SRB) bagged the first-ever gold medal in Greco-Roman for Serbia on Saturday as competition in the classic style got under way at the European Senior Wrestling Championships.

Fris, who last won a bronze medal in the continental championships in 2007, scored a reach-around takedown in the first period of the 59kg final at Spens Sport Hall and made it stand for a 3-1 win over former world champion Ivo ANGELOV (BUL).

The last Serbian wrestler to win a continental title was Senad RIZVANOVIC (YUG), who took the 52kg crown for Yugoslavia at the 1989 European championships in Oulu, Finland.

Meanwhile, Felix BALDAUF (NOR) also recorded an historic win by taking Norway’s first Greco-Roman gold medal since 1992 by hammering out a 2-1 victory over last year’s bronze medal winner Aleksander HRABOVIK (BLR) in the 98kg final.

Before Baldauf, Norway’s most recent Greco-Roman gold medal winner was Lars RONNINGEN (NOR), who won at 48kg in 1992. Previous to Baldauf’s heroics, Grace BULLEN (NOR) won the women’s 58kg crown for Norway on Friday.

Earlier, on Saturday, Baldauf upset Rio 2016 gold medalist Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) in the quarterfinals on an arm-spin takedown that was the tie-break advantage when the bout ended 2-2. Aleksanyan, however, rebounded for a bronze medal.

The second Rio 2016 gold medalist to fall on Saturday was Davor STEFANEK (SRB), who surrendered a technical fall to 2015 European Games gold medalist Artem SURKOV (RUS) in the 66kg final. It was Stefanek’s 

Surkov, a bronze medalist with Stefanek at the 2015 world meet, secured a pair of four-point back-arching throws in the second period that stopped the clock at 5:13 and leaving Stefanek with his career third silver medal in Europe.

In the day’s finale, Riza KAYAALP (TUR) came from three points down in sumo-like fashion in the second period to edge world student champion Balint LAM (HUN), 4-2, in the 130kg final.

The victory gave Kayaalp the European crown for the sixth year in a row and the seventh time overall.

Bronze Medal Matches – Greco-Roman, 59kg, 66kg, 98kg & 130kg

At 59kg, 2016 champion Mingiyan SEMENOV (RUS) threw Erik TORBA (HUN) by for a late takedown to cap a 5-0 win and a bronze medal. Ivan LIZATOVIC (CRO) and Joakim FAGERLUND (SWE) battled evenly to a 1-1 score, with Lizatovic winning on the last point.

At 66kg, Goga GOGIBERASHVILI (GEO) and Atakan YUKSEL (TUR) stopped banging head long enough to leave Gogiberashvili a chance for an arm throw and a 6-3 victory. Soslan DAUROV (BLR) locked around Mate KRASZNAI (HUN) twice and threw for two points and four points each for an 8-2 victory.

At 98kg, Balasz KISS (HUN) scored a four-point arm throw in the first minute of the bout to key a 4-1 victory over Oliver HASSLER (GER). Wearing a brace on his left knee, Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) scored a go-behind takedown in the second period to cap a 5-0 victory over European Games runner-up Dimitry TIMCHENKO (UKR).

At 130kg, Levan ARUBELI (GEO) scored a go-behind takedown and a pair of gut wrenches in the second period to claim an 8-0 technical fall victory over Christian JOHN (GER).

Vitali SHCHUR (RUS) tossed Nikola Petrov tourney winner Alin ALEUC-CIURARIU (ROU) for four points with an arm throw and held on for a 5-2 win.

Results from Saturday evening’s medal matches and semifinals:


59kg (16 entries)
Gold – Kristijan FRIS (SRB) df. Ivo ANGELOV (BUL), 3-1 
Bronze – Mingiyan SEMENOV (RUS) df. Erik TORBA (HUN), 5-0
Bronze – Ivan LIZATOVIC (CRO) df. Joakim FAGERLUND (SWE), 1-1

Semifinal – Ivo ANGELOV (BUL) df. Mingiyan SEMENOV (RUS), 3-2
Semifinal – Kristijan FRIS (SRB) df. Ivan LIZATOVIC (CRO), 2-1

66kg (23 entries)
Gold – Artem SURKOV (RUS) df. Davor STEFANEK (SRB) by TF, 12-1, 5:13
Bronze – Goga GOGIBERASHVILI (GEO) df. Atakan YUKSEL (TUR), 6-3
Bronze – Soslan DAUROV (BLR) df. Mate KRASZNAI (HUN), 8-2 

Semifinal – Artem SURKOV (RUS) df. Atakan YUKSEL (TUR), 2-0 
Semifinal – Davor STEFANEK (SRB) df. Soslan DAUROV (BLR), 4-1

98kg (19 entries)
Gold – Felix BALDAUF (NOR) df. Aleksander HRABOVIK (BLR), 2-1 
Bronze – Balasz KISS (HUN) df. Oliver HASSLER (GER), 4-1 
Bronze – Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) df. Dimitry TIMCHENKO (UKR), 5-0

Semifinal – Aleksander HRABOVIK (BLR) df. Balasz KISS (HUN), 3-1
Semifinal – Felix BALDAUF (NOR) df. Dimitry TIMCHENKO (UKR), 7-7

130kg (18 entries)
Gold – Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Balint LAM (HUN), 4-3
Bronze – Levan ARABULI (GEO) df. Christian JOHN (GER) by TF, 8-0, 4:25
Bronze – Vitali SHCHUR (RUS) df. Alin ALEXUC-CIURARIU (ROU), 5-3

Semifinal – Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Christian JOHN (GER) by Fall, 2:31 (7-0)
Semifinal – Balint LAM (HUN) df. Alin ALEXUC-CIURARIU (ROU), 4-1