Geno On Track to Repeat; Turkey, Russia Advance Two to Finals in European U23 Freestyle

By William May

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (March 29) – Defending champion Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) posted a pair of technical falls Wednesday to advance to the 125kg final for the second year in a row at the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships.

But, Russia and Turkey each advanced a pair of wrestlers to the championships finals at Arena Savaria and will challenge for the freestyle team title during the gold and bronze medal finals in the evening.

Petriashvili, a bronze medal winner at last summer’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games, rolled over Salim ERCAN (TUR), 12-2, in his opening bout and junior world champion Kazbek KHUBULOV (RUS), 10-0, in the semifinals in his bid to repeat as U23 champion.

Despite Ercan’s loss, the Turkish World Cup team member advanced to the bronze medal bouts where he will face Khubulov – each with a chance to add to their countries’ point totals in the race to the team title.

For the second day in a row, Turkey and Russia each advanced a pair of wrestlers to the gold medal bouts.  Sedat OZDEMIR (61kg) and 2015 U23 bronze medalist Murat ERTURK (86kg) will attempt to join Suleyman ATLI (57kg) in the winners’ circle.

In the 61kg final, Ozdemir will face last year’s senior European champion in Gadshimurad RASHIDOV (RUS), who also posted a pair of technical falls on his way to the gold medal match.

Erturk, who stopped junior world champ Arsen-Ali MUSALALIEV (RUS) in the quarterfinals, squares off with Bendeguz TOTH (HUN) for the title at 86kg. The bout will be the first international championship final for Toth since taking the silver medal in the 2014 European cadet meet.

Joining Rashidov in the finals for Russia will be last year’s European junior runner-up Zaurbek SIDAKOV (70kg), who notched a technical fall over last year’s U23 bronze medalist Muhammet AKDENIZ (TUR) in the semifinals.

Sidakov will be matched up with Gadjimurad OMAROV (AZE), who already owns a silver medal from last year’s U23 championships in Bulgaria.

In Wednesday evening’s finale, Petriashvili faces Vitali PIASNIAK (BLR), who grabbed a bronze medal at the Paris Grand Prix in January and secured his first age-group championships medal with a win over Kamil KOSCIOLEK (POL) in the semifinals.


Semifinal Results and Medal Match Pairings:

61kg (14 entries)
Gold – Sedat OZDEMIR (TUR) v Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS)
Bronze – Randy VOCK (SUI) v Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE)

Semifinal – Sedat OZDEMIR (TUR) df. Shota PHARTENADZE (GEO), 6-3
Semifinal – Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) df. Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE), 4-2

70kg (15 entries)
Gold – Gadzhimurad OMAROV (AZE) v Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS)
Bronze – Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) v Muhammet AKDENIZ (TUR)

Semifinal – Gadzhimurad OMAROV (AZE) df. Surkho RASHYTKHANOV (BLR) by Fall, 2:24 (6-0)
Semifinal – Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) df. Muhammet AKDENIZ (TUR) by TF, 13-3, 3:51

86kg (15 entries)
Gold – Bendeguz TOTH (HUN) v Murat ERTURK (TUR)
Bronze – Stefan REICHMUTH (SUI) v Kanan ALIYEV (AZE)
Bronze – Arsen-Ali MUSALALIEV (RUS) v Bohdan HRYTSAY (UKR)

Semifinal – Bendeguz TOTH (HUN) df. Kanan ALIEV (AZE), 8-6 
Semifinal – Murat ERTURK (TUR) df. Bohdan HRYTSAY (UKR) by Fall, 1:51 (8-0)

125kg (11 entries)
Bronze – Tamas SOOS (SVK) v Kamil KOSCIOLEK (POL)  
Bronze – Salim ERCAN (TUR) v Kazbek KHUBULOV (RUS)

Semifinal – Vitali PIASNIAK (BLR) df. Kamil KOSCIOLEK (POL) byy TF, 10-0, 2:43
Semifinal – Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Kazbek KHUBULOV (RUS) by TF, 10-0, 5:31