Khinchegashvili Wins 2nd, Turkey Takes Two at European Championships

By William May

RIGA (March 10) – World champion Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) won his second continental title and Turkey crowned two new champions Thursday, the third day of the European wrestling championships.

Khinchegashvili, the reigning world champ at 57kg, eased past challenger Georgi KALIEV (BLR), 6-1, at Arena Riga to add the 61kg European crown to the bantamweight title he won in Vantaa, Finland two years ago.

Meanwhile, European Games silver medalist Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) stood on the top of the medals dais at a continental championships for the first time in his career and Yasmine ADAR (TUR) became the country’s first-ever European champion in the women’s events.

Demirtas defeated two-time European champion Yabrail HASANOV (AZE), 2-1, for the 74kg crown in a bout decided without an offensive point being scored, while Adar took the women’s 75kg crown with a 7-0 win over veteran Alena STARODEBTSEVA (RUS).

Adar now joins male compatriots and world champions Taha AKGUL (125kg) in freestyle and Riza KAYAALP (130kg) in Greco-Roman as one of the top heavyweights in Europe.

Akgul will seek to remain the top freestyle super heavyweight in Europe for a fifth straight year on Friday while Kayaalp will target his sixth continental title in Greco-Roman on Saturday.

Earlier on Thursday, Khinchegashvili emerged the victor in the battle of world champions with a tactical 4-2 victory over Haji ALIEV (AZE) in the 61kg semifinals. The 57kg world champ scored a second period takedown to come from behind against Aliev for the win.

Two-time world champ Aliev, however, rebounded in the bronze medal matches with three solid leg attacks in a 7-0 mastery of Volodya FRANGULYAN (ARM), the winner of the European under-23 championship title last year.

At 74kg, Demirtas received points off the activity clock on both sides of the break and then calmly absorbed a penalty point with only four seconds remaining in his championship battle with Hasanov.

In the women’s events, Adar scored from the front headlock position with a spin-under for a 3-0 lead at the break, then added two more spin-behind takedowns in the second period to make European wrestling history.

World bronze medalist Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) recovered from an 8-4 loss to Starodebutseva in the semifinals for a 5-0 win over Svetlana SAENKO (MDA) for the bronze medal. Four of Marzaliuk’s points came off double-leg takedown in the first 30 seconds of the bout.

Epp MAE (EST), a world bronze medal winner in Las Vegas along with Marzaliuk, however, lost by fall to Adar in the first round Thursday morning and was edged 6-3 in repechage by eventual bronze medal winner Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) to finish eighth overall.

In the first gold medal final of the evening at 55kg, two-time world silver medalist Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS) got rolling in the second period with a pair of takedowns and then held on for a 6-4 win over Las Vegas bronze medal winner Tatyana KIT (UKR).


Men’s Freestyle

61kg (13 entries)
Gold – Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) df. Georgi KALIEV (BLR), 6-1
Bronze – Ivan GUIDEA (ROU) df. Petr BILEICHUK (UKR) by TF, 11-1, 5:11
Bronze – Haji ALIEV (AZE) df. Volodya FRANGULYAN (ARM), 7-0

74kg (19 entries)
Gold – Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) df. Yabrail HASANOV (AZE), 2-1
Bronze – Yakob MAKARASHVILI (GEO) df. Miroslav KIROV (BUL) by TF, 10-0, 4:09
Bronze – Zaur MAKIEV (RUS) df. Andrzej SOKALSKI (POL) by TF, 11-0, 1:17

Women’s Wrestling

55kg (15 entries)
Gold – Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS) df. Tatyana KIT (UKR), 6-4
Bronze – Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN) df. Simona PRICOB (ROU) by TF, 10-0, 5:18
Bronze – Roksana ZASINA (POL) df. Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR), 8-1

75kg (11 entries)
Gold – Yasmine ADAR (TUR) df. Alena STARODUBTSEVA (RUS), 7-0
Bronze – Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) df. Svetlana SAENKO (MDA), 5-0
Bronze – Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) df. Daria OSOCKA (POL) by TF, 10-0, 2:06