Kayaalp, Maskevich Dominate Through Finals; Russia Wins WW Title

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (April 23) -- No spectators were allowed at the Sportowa COS Torwar stadium in Warsaw, but if they were, Kiryl MASKEVICH (BLR) and Riza KAYAALP (TUR) would have received the loudest cheer as both made it the finals of their respective weight categories in style.

While their both reached the summit clash, their paths were contrasting. Kayaalp used his experience to set up the opponents before dominating them in the three wins he needed to reach the final at 130kg. Kayaalp is chasing his 10th senior European title and is one step away from that.

Maskevich was more aggressive and had some hiccups before he entered the final at 87kg. After battling a world medalist, a world champion and even coming from behind to win, the young Belarussian phenom will look to win his first senior European title on Saturday.

Kayaalp led the way as three Turkish wrestlers made it to the final followed by two from Russia. Azerbaijan, Hungary, Belarus, Serbia and Georgia also had a finalist each.

The senior European Championships in Warsaw, Poland entered its fifth day with Greco-Roman action beginning in five weight categories – 55kg, 63kg, 77kg, 87kg and 130kg. The medal bouts of the five women's weight category were also held as Russia won the team title.

Close to two months after he won the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series gold medal, Kayaalp was back on the mat. Beginning with the qualification round, the Turkey legend got going with a technical superiority win over Oleksandr CHERNETSKYY (UKR).

In the quarterfinal, Alin CIURARIU (ROU) had no chance one Kayaalp had been down on the mat. He completed a 8-0 win over the Romanian to move into the semifinal.

He took some time but once Eduard POPP (GER) was called for inactivity, Kayaalp got two turns and then a fall to reach his 11th European championship final.

Testing him in the final on Saturday will be 2019 World bronze medalist and European Games champion Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) who defeated Romas FRIDRIKAS (LTU) 5-0 in the other semifinal.

This will be a rematch of the 2019 European Championships final which the Turkey wrestler won with ease.

Kiryl MASKEVICH European Championships 2021
Kiryl MASKEVICH (BLR) reacts after beating Milad ALIRZAEV (RUS) in Warsaw. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Another rematch in the final will be at 87kg as Maskevich will face Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (SRB) for the gold medal. The two met four months ago at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, for a quarterfinal spot which Maskevich, the eventual champion, won 10-3.

Maskevich was one to enthrall live viewers from the word go as he opened up with a big opening round win against multiple time world medalist Viktor LORINCZ (HUN). He launched a pair of lifts to finish the bout in the first period itself with a score of 9-0.

But his tournament was well over when Individual World Cup winner at 82kg Milad ALIRZAEV (RUS) led, 6-0. Maskevich then launched a headlock to pin the Russian to his back and he held it long enough to get the fall. He let out a loud roar before consoling his opponent.

Tornike DZAMASHVILI (GEO) was his next victim as he scored a 9-1 win over the Georgian to reach the semifinal and win it against Turpan BISULTANOV (DEN) 9-1.

Serbian transfer from Georgia Datunashvili had a field as well on the other side of the 87kg bracket as he defeated world champion Zhan BELENIUK (UKR), 1-1, in the quarterfinal before humbling Rio Olympic bronze medalist and world silver medalist Denis KUDLA (GER),2-1, in the semifinal.

At 55kg, a pair of world champions failed to reach the finals as Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) defeated 2019 world champion at 55kg Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO), 9-0, in the quarterfinals before losing his semifinal against Emin SEFERSHAEV (RUS) 5-4.

This was Azizli's second straight win over Tsurtsumia after winning the semifinal at the 2018 World Championships. But he could not keep up his performance as he lost 4-5 against Sefershaev.

Azizli led 2-1 in the semifinal after the first period as he gave a point for inactivity but Sefershaev failed to roll him, instead gave up two points.

The second period saw Azizli getting another passive warning which made the score 2-2. A pushout, which was challenged by Russia, gave him a 4-2 lead which was intact until 18 seconds were left in the bout.

Sefershaev jumped over Azizli and grabbed him for a reverse lock and exposed him for two. The call was challenged by Azerbaijan but with no luck. In the end, it was a close, heartbreaking loss for Azizli.

From the other side of the bracket, 2018 world bronze medalist Ekrem OZTURK made it to the finals after beating Rudik MKRTHCHYAN (ARM), 5-4, and producing a technical superiority win over Artsiom KATSAR (BLR) in the semifinal.

Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS) European Championships 2021

Another thriller was seen at 63kg as World Cup winner Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS) scored nine points in the second period after trailing 0-5 against junior European champion Leri ABULADZE (GEO) to win 9-5.

As if waiting for the passivity call against Abuladze, Lokyaev lifted him twice for four-point throws and won the battle.

He will face Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) in the final as the Azerbaijan wrestler defeated Aleksandrs JURKJANS (LAT) 7-1. Had the Latvian wrestler reached the final, it would have been his country's first senior European medal in 83 years.

Mammadov and Lokyaev wrestled in the quarterfinal at the Individual World Cup in November last year with the Russian claiming a 2-0 win.

Another world champion to make it to the final with ease was Tamas LORINCZ (HUN). He had little to no trouble to reach the 77kg final against Yunus BASAR (TUR).

In the semifinal, Lorincz won 5-0 against Michael WIDMAYER (GER) while Basar was happy with a 4-0 win over Dmytro PYSHKOV (UKR), who had earlier ended the tournament for 72kg world champion Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) with 12-3 win.

Ringaci avenges loss, Russia win title

As soon as the 65kg final finished, Irina RINGACI (MDA) ran to her coach for a long hug. The Moldova wrestler ran back to the mat as the referee raised her hand as the champion of Europe. While it was an overwhelming feeling for her, it became even more emotional given the manner in which she won the gold medal.

Over four months ago, Ringaci was in the final of the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia, and a win away from winning the gold. But all her dreams came crashing down as Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) defeated her, 14-4.

Cut to April in Warsaw, the two faced each other in the European Championships final, and this time, Ringaci makes no mistake and claims a technical superiority 10-0 win over Rizhko.

Ringaci got a body lock from behind to send Rizhko flying for a four before she came out on top in scramble she initiated using a slide-by. Two chest wrap exposures were enough for her to claim the gold medal in the Polish capital.

That denied Ukraine three gold medals which could have propelled them to a team title on the final day of women's wrestling. Russia claimed the title after Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (RUS) won the 53kg gold medal while Evgeniia ZAKHARCHENKO (RUS) won the bronze at 72kg.

Ukraine's two gold medals came via Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) at 62kg as she denied Marianna SASTIN (HUN) her first European gold medal. Alla BELINSKA (UKR) also won a gold medal for her country as she defeated Yuliana YANEVA (BUL) 6-3 in the 72kg final.

Sastin tried hard to get a big attack in the final seconds of the 62kg final but Koliadenko was strong enough to hold her 4-1 lead and win the gold medal. This was Sastin's seventh European medal but none of them the top one.

Olympic silver medalist Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS)'s troubles continued at 62kg as she lost the bronze medal bout 0-5 to Veranika IVANOVA (BLR). On Thursday, she had suffered a loss by fall in the semifinal.

The second bronze at 62kg went to Katarzyna MADROWSKA (POL) as world silver medalist Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) opted out.

In the 53kg final, Khoroshavtseva was totally dominant against Rio Olympian Maria PREVOLARAKI (GRE) and gave no chance to her in the final. Three takedowns and a lost challenge from Greece handed her a 7-0 win.

The bronze medal at 53kg went to Iulia LEORDA (MDA) who defeated Tatyana VARANSOVA (AZE) 10-0 and Annika WENDLE (GER) who came out on top against Mariia VYNNYK (UKR), 8-1.

Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) ended the dream run and home country's gold medal hope Anhelina LYSAK (POL) by beating her 15-4 in the 57kg final.

Evelina NIKOLOVA (BUL) fought out a close bronze medal bout against Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS) at 57kg but won 8-7. Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR) completed a victory via fall over Francesca INDELICATO (ITA) to win the second bronze at the weight.

Kriszta INCZE (ROU) and Aleksandra WOLCZYNSKA (POL) captured the bronze medals at 65kg with a 4-3 win and a victory by fall over IrIna Petrovna NETREBA (AZE) and Alina ANTIPOVA (LAT), respectively.

In the final weight category of the day, 72kg, Dalma CANEVA (ITA) battled it out against Maria SELMAIER (GER) for a 3-2 win and the bronze medal. Zakharchenko won the other with an 11-0 win over Merve PUL (TUR).

Greco-Roman Semifinal Results


SEMIFINAL - Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) df. Artsiom KATSAR (BLR), 8-0

GOLD - Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS) vs. Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE)

SEMIFINAL - Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS) df. Leri ABULADZE (GEO), 9-5
SEMIFINAL - Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) df. Aleksandrs JURKJANS (LAT), 7-1

GOLD - Yunus BASAR (TUR) vs. Tamas LORINCZ (HUN)

SEMIFINAL - Yunus BASAR (TUR) df. Dmytro PYSHKOV (UKR), 4-0




SEMIFINAL - Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Eduard POPP (GER), via fall

European Championships 2021 WW 62kg podium

Day Five WW Medal Results


BRONZE - Iulia LEORDA (MDA) df. Tatyana VARANSOVA (AZE), 10-0
BRONZE - Annika WENDLE (GER) df. Mariia VYNNYK (UKR), 8-1

GOLD - Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) df. Anhelina LYSAK (POL), 15-4

BRONZE - Evelina NIKOLOVA (BUL) df. Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS), 8-7
BRONZE - Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR) df. Francesca INDELICATO (ITA), via fall

GOLD - Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) df. Marianna SASTIN (HUN), 4-1

BRONZE - Katarzyna MADROWSKA (POL) df. Taybe Mustafa YUSEIN (BUL), via fall

GOLD - Irina RINGACI (MDA) df. Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR), 10-0

BRONZE - Kriszta Tunde INCZE (ROU) df. IrIna Petrovna NETREBA (AZE), 4-3
BRONZE - Aleksandra WOLCZYNSKA (POL) df. Alina Aleksandra ANTIPOVA (LAT), via fall

GOLD - Alla BELINSKA (UKR) df. Yuliana Vasileva YANEVA (BUL), 6-3

BRONZE - Dalma CANEVA (ITA) df. Maria SELMAIER (GER), 3-2
BRONZE - Evgeniia ZAKHARCHENKO (RUS) df. Merve PUL (TUR), 11-0


Saravi Dominates #WrestleWarsaw to Claim Spot on Iran Olympic Team

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (June 13) --- After the 97kg Greco-Roman final, Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI) went up to the judge to seek answers. His actions were justified as he had not only lost the gold medal to compatriot Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) but also the opportunity to represent Iran at the Tokyo Olympics.

Iran, treating the Poland Open as the selection trial for Tokyo Games, had entered the two and on Sunday, they dominated the field and reached the final. This was the last category that was undecided for Iran after three freestyle and one Greco-Roman class finalized in Warsaw.


Poland Open

They had to wait till the end of the day as it was the final bout and then more as both Iran wrestlers had mistakenly wore opposite singlets. 50 seconds into the bout they changed the singlets and resumed the bout. Saravi got the advantage of Balihamzehdeh being passive in the first period and he got an exposure to lead 3-0.

Balihamzehdeh was hoping that Saravi will be warned for inactivity as well but that did not happen as the latter kept on the pressure throughout the period. It ended 3-0 in favour of Saravi, completing the Iran team for the upcoming Games.

His gold medal also pushes him to third position in the Tokyo seeding as he collected 16 points. His total of 52 points takes him ahead of Cenk ILDEM (TUR) who is now out of the seeding.

Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) finished fifth in Warsaw and collected 10 points for a total of 42 to edge past Ildem by a point.

There was no other major shuffle in the Olympic seedings for the weight classes that were in action on Sunday.

At 87kg, veteran Uzbek wrestler Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) won a bronze medal to collect 12 points but that doesn't change his third position in the seedings.


The gold medal was captured but he upcoming star and two-time U23 world champion Semen NAVIKOV (UKR). In the final, he defeated Istvan TAKACS (HUN) 2-1 with all points scored on referees call.

Takacs had earlier stopped Rio Olympic bronze medalist Assakalov's run in the tournament with a 2-1 win in the semifinal. The Uzbek then came back in the bronze medal bout against Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL) with a big fall.

The next big thing in Ukrainian wrestling Navikov will not be at the Olympics as another star wrestler Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) is scheduled to wrestle in the Japanese capital city.

In the remaining three weight categories, hosts Poland captured two gold medals while the third went to Uzbekistan.

Michal TRACZ (POL) wrestled Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) in the 60kg final and held on for 3-2 win for his home country. In the nordic style bracket, he won two bouts to reach the semifinal in which he came out on top against Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) 3-2.

Ozturk had a back-and-forth semifinal against Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL) as the two scored 26 points in the stipulated six minutes. In the end, Ozturk won 15-11 to reach the final.

Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) won the second gold medal for Poland as he defeated Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB) 4-3 in the 72kg final.

The Pole had some tough bouts throughout the day as he began with a 3-1 win against Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) 3-1 before pulling through a 1-1 win against compatriot Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL).

From the other side, Rakhmatov defeated Juan AAK (NOR) 9-0 in the qualification before clinching a 7-0 win over Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) in the quarterfinal. He had a tough one against Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) in the semifinal but managed to pull off 5-4.

Uzbekistan did get it's gold medal on Sunday as five-time ranking series finalist Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) managed to hang on and defeat Ayata SUZUKI (JPN) 5-3 in the 63kg final. Suzuki was awarded a point for Bakhramov's passivity and he later got an exposure from par terre to lead 3-0. But Bakhramov reversed it and completed a head-pinch to make it 3-2.

In the second period, he got the point for Suzuki's inactivity and then exposed him from the par terre position to lead 5-3. The Japanese did try quite a few arm throws but failed to get any points.

From Japan, world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) was also scheduled to make the Poland trip but pulled out at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances. Fumita has now not competed internationally since winning the gold medal at the Asian Championships in New Delhi in February, 2020.

Poland Open 63kg


GOLD: Michal TRACZ (POL) df Ekrem OZTURK (TUR), 3-2
BRONZE: Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) df Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL), 10-2

GOLD: Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. Ayata SUZUKI (JPN), 5-3
BRONZE: Christopher KRAEMER (GER) df. Artor HAGERUP (NOR), via fall
BRONZE: Krisztian KECSKEMETI (HUN) df. Mairbek SALIMOV (POL), 4-0

GOLD: Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) df. Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 4-3
BRONZE: Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) df. Juan AAK (NOR), 2-1
BRONZE: Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) df. Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL), 3-1

GOLD: Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) df. Istvan TAKACS (HUN), 2-1
BRONZE: Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) df. Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL), via fall
BRONZE: Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Bachir SID AZARA (ALG), 1-1

GOLD: Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) df. Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI), 3-0
BRONZE: Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Gerard Cyprian KURNICZAK (POL), 4-0