Koblova Leads Russian Teammates on March into Medal Finals

By William May

WALBRZYCH, Poland (March 27) – World silver medalist Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS) marched into the gold medal final at 58kg as Russia edged nearer a second team title at the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships.

Koblova, last year’s senior European champion, fashioned a pair of points victories to earn a berth in the gold medal finals while Yarygin Grand Prix winner Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (53kg) and European junior champion Anzhela KATAEVA (75kg) will wrestle for bronze medals.

Koblova will face senior European bronze medal winner Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) for the under-23 gold medal.

At 75kg, host Poland will have one of its own in the final medal bouts for the second straight discipline. Daria OSOCKA (POL), who defeated junior world champion Sabira ALIYEVA (AZE) in the quarterfinals, will face Paris Grand Prix runner-up Epp MAE (EST) for the gold medal.

With Osocka guaranteeing Poland a medal in women’s freestyle, Agnieszka KROL (POL) will try to add a bronze medal at 63kg against European junior silver medalist Elmira GAMBAROVA (AZE).

Two days earlier, Robert BARAN (POL) won a bronze medal at 125kg at the conclusion of the men’s freestyle competition of Poland’s only medal in the discipline.

Belarus, which started the final day of women’s freestyle trailing Russia 29-25, has two wrestlers in the gold medal bouts – Iryna KURACHKINA (48kg) and Mariya MAMASHUK (63kg) – and Natalia LANKO (75kg) in a bronze medal final.

Kurachkina will square off with rival Liliya HORISHNA (UKR) in a rematch of their bronze medal bout at the European junior championships last June in Katowice, Poland. Horishna won that encounter 10-6.

Senior European silver medalist Mamashuk, meanwhile, takes on European junior bronze medalist Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE), who nailed down a pair of come-from-behind falls to advance to the gold medal match. 

Hanzlickova will be seeking to become the Czech Republic’s first woman to win a European wrestling crown at the junior or senior level.

Pairings for Friday evening’s medal finals:

53kg (14 entries)
Bronze - Mercedesz DENES (HUN) v Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (RUS)

58kg (11 entries)
Gold - Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS) v Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) 
Bronze - Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN) v Laura MERTENS (GER) 
Bronze - Tetiana OMELCHENKO (UKR) v Kriszta Tunde INCZE (ROU)

63kg (11 entries)
Bronze - Agnieszka KROL (POL) v Elmira GAMBAROVA (AZE)
Bronze - Dalma CANEVA (ITA) v Buse TOSUN (TUR)

75kg (8 entries)
Gold - Daria OSOCKA (POL) v Epp MAE (EST)
Bronze - Sabira ALIYEVA (AZE) v Zsanett NEMETH (HUN)
Bronze - Natalia LANKO (BLR) v Anzhela KATAEVA (RUS)