Incze Upsets World Medalist for Chance to Strike Gold at European Jr C’Ships

By William May

BUCHAREST (June 24) – Krista INCZE (ROU) upset world bronze medalist Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS) Friday to book her first-ever trip to the gold medal finals at the European Junior Wrestling Championship.

Incze, twice a bronze medalist in the continental meet, forced Kuznetsova out of bounds with an arm throw in the final minute of the 63kg semifinal bout and then added a go-behind counter to Kuznetsova’s desperate leg attack to nail down a 6-2 victory.

The win ensures Incze her best finish ever in four trips to the age-group event and a chance to become only the third Romania woman to win a junior European wrestling title and the first since Mihaela MUNTEANU (ROU) won the 51kg crown in 2010.

In Friday evening’s final, Incze squares off with Luzie MANZKE (GER), only 15th in last year’s continental meeting but who raked in a bronze medal at the German Grand Prix in May in the junior-senior division.

Meanwhile, Russia and Germany each advanced a pair of the wrestlers to the gold medal finals on Friday, the final day of women’s events at the championships.

Russia, which opened up a commanding lead in the team rankings with four bronze medalists the day before, also put two more into the bronze medal matches to sew up the team title before Friday evening’s session.

Former cadet world champion Nadeshda SOKOLOVA (RUS) held on for a 9-8 win over Tatyana YAFREMENKO (BLR) in the semifinals at 48kg while Felicia GALLO (FRA) pinned 2015 bronze medalist Dominika SZYNKOWSKA (POL) for her first trip to an international final.

A pair of bronze medalists from last year’s meet in Istanbul, Daria SHISTEROVA (RUS) and Francy RADELT (GER), square off at 72kg in the women’s tournament finale.

In Friday’s only gold medal final without a Russian or German representative, Elif YANIK (TUR) defeated defending champion Patricia LIUZZI (ITA), 10-6, in the quarterfinals and will face European cadet champion Anastasia NICHITA (MDA), in the final at 55kg.

Semifinal Results & Pairings for the Medal Finals

Women’s wrestling

48kg (12 entries)
Gold – Felicia GALLO (FRA) v Nadeshda SOKOLOVA (RUS)
Bronze – Kim GMEINER (AUT) v Dominika SZYNKOWSKA (POL)
Bronze – Annika WENDLE (GER) v Tatyana YAFREMENKO (BLR) 

Semifinal – Felicia GALLO (FRA) df. Dominika SZYNKOWSKA (POL) by Fall, 1:49 (4-8)
Semifinal – Nadeshda SOKOLOVA (RUS) df. Tatyana YAFREMENKO (BLR, 9-8

55kg (15 entries)
Gold – Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) v Elif YANIK (TUR)
Bronze – Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) v Alicija CZYZOWICZ (POL)
Bronze – Madalina CAIA (ROU) v Viktoria VAULINA (RUS)

Semifinal – Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) df. Alicija CZYZOWICZ (POL), 6-4 
Semifinal – Elif YANIK (TUR) df. Viktoria VAULINA (RUS), 7-6 

63kg (12 entries)
Gold – Luize MANZKE (GER) v Kriszta INCZE (ROU)
Bronze – Virginia TSAKNAKI (GRE) v Olivia HENNINGSSON (SWE)
Bronze – Yuliana YANEVA (BUL) v Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS)

Semifinal – Luize MANZKE (GER) df. Olivia HENNINGSSON (SWE) by TF, 10-0, 4:37
Semifinal – Kriszta INCZE (ROU) df. Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS), 6-2 

72kg (14 entries)
Gold – Daria SHISHTEROVA (RUS) v Francy RADELT (GER)
Bronze – Vivien SZARAZ (HUN) v Evgenia ANDREICHENKO (BLR)
Bronze – Natalie STRZALKA (POL) v Aysegul OZBEGE (TUR)

Semifinal – Daria SHISHTEROVA (RUS) df. Evgenia ANDREICHENKO (BLR), 12-4
Semifinal – Francy RADELT (GER) df. Aysegul OZBEGE (TUR) by Fall, 2:45 (6-0)