LIVE BLOG: European Olympic Qualifier, Day Three (Session Two)

By Eric Olanowski

BUDAPEST, Hungary (March 19) --- The third day of wrestling at the #WrestleBudapest European Olympic Qualifier is underway in Hungary.

Day Two Finals Recap: Belarus Crowns Three Champs, Armenia’s Tevanyan Keeps Hot Streak Alive
Day Two Semifinals Recap: Four Nations Earn Pair of Olympic Berths on Friday

19:50: Kiril MILOV (BUL) earns an Olympic berth for Bulgaria at 97kg after walking to a 9-0 semifinals shutout win over Artur OMAROV (CZE).

19:19: Thanks to wins from Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) and  Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO), Georgia has punched two tickets to the Olympic Games through tonight's Tokyo qualification round. 

19:00: Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL) and Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) are leaving everything they have on the mat. What a match with an Olympic spot on the line. 

18:38: Balint KORPASI (HUN) has world medals trickled throughout his resume, but the one thing the former world champion's resume was missing was an Olympic appearance. At 33-year-old, that's all going to change. The Hungarian dominated Donior ISLAMOV (MDA), 6-0, and booked Hungary's ticket to the Olympics at 67kg. 

18:25: That was insane! That's not something you see every day. Etienne KINSINGER (GER) trailed Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) with nine seconds left when he left his feet and locked up a side headlock. He threw everything he had into it and scored four points. He won the match 5-4 and punched Germany's ticket to the Olympic Games.

18:14: Next up at 60kg is Etienne KINSINGER (GER) and Murad MAMMADOV (AZE).

18:12: Kerem KAMAL (TUR) had to dig deep in the 60kg semifinals, but the 21-year-old sparkplug earned the narrow 5-4 win over Erik TORBA (HUN) and handed Turkey a berth to the Olympic Games.

Start of the Greco-Roman Tokyo Qualification Matches

17:14: That'll do it for the women's wrestling medal matches. We'll take a short break and see you back here at 18:00 for the Greco-Roman Tokyo Olympic Qualification round. 

17:05: No much to talk about in the final two gold-medal matches. Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) claimed gold after Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) injury defaulted out of the finals and Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS) beat Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR), 2-0.

16:45: Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) was the Perfromer of the Tournament. She destroyed everyone she competed against -- including Rio silver medalist Maryia MAMASHUK (BLR) and European champion Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT).

16:28: Bulgaria got a second gold of the night via injury default victory. At 57kg, Evelina NIKOLOVA (BUL) claimed gold after her Ukrainian finals opponent Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR) injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match.

16:21: That was quick! What a dominating performance by Mattsson as there was still 90 seconds left on the clock when she ended the match with the Belarusian two-time world champion, 10-0.

16:13: It's a battle of world champions for 53kg gold as Vanesa KALADZINSKAYA (BLR) and Sofia Magdalena MATTSSON (SWE) are going toe-to-toe.

16:08: Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) is your 50kg European Olympic Games Qualifier champion. Her finals opponent Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR) injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match. 

Greco-Roman Semifinal Matchups (as they come in): 




SEMIFINAL -  Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) vs. Milad Valerikovitch ALIRZAEV (RUS)

SEMIFINAL - Kiril Milenov MILOV (BUL) vs. Artur OMAROV (CZE) 



15:38: Smart challenge from Kamal. He asks for an additional two for exposure and wins the challenge. He'll wrestle in tonight's semifinals after collecting the 9-1 victory over the Moldovian.

15:32: Turkey's Kamal was just down 1-0. In the blink of an eye, he's up 7-1 on European champion Ciobanu.

15:16: Switzerland's Ramon BETSCHART (SUI) downed Mihail BRADU (MDA), 10-2, and moved into the semifinals. He's one match away from punching Switzerland's ticket to Tokyo. If he wins his next match, he'd be the 12th wrestler from his country to qualify for the Olympic Games.

15:06: '19 world champ Lasha Gobadze is coming up next on Mat B. Last round, the Georgian defeated Turkey's two-time world champion Metehan Basar

15:00: Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM) is an interesting guy to watch wrestle. He's at least a head taller than everyone else at 67kg but he's learned to use to height and leverage to his advantage. The Armenian is up now against Islambek DADOV (AZE) on Mat A.

14:50: Chekhirkin just earned a reversal point after he stopped a gut attempt from Nemes. He's leading 3-1 with short time left. It looks like he's going to move into tonight's semifinals. 

14:46: That loud scream you just heard was from Oldrich VARGA (CZE). He edged Evrik NIKOGHOSYAN (FRA), 3-2, and is one match away from sending the Czech Republic to the Olympic Games at 77kg. He'll meet Bozo Starcevic in tonight's semifinals.

14:39: Rio Olympian Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO) and Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) are tied over on Mat C. The Croatian was just awarded an inactivity point but he's down in par terre with less than a minute to go.

14:32: Coming up next on Mat C, it'll be a battle of world champions Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) and Viktor NEMES (SRB).

14:28: Here we go! The quarterfinals are underway in Budapest. These wrestlers are only two matches away from earning Olympic berths.

14:06: We'll hold the quarterfinal matches until the final pair of 1/8 matches wrap up. It'll probably be 15 minutes until the quarterfinals kick-off. 

14:05: Hungarian wrestlers are ruining Norway's day. First, it was Korpasi knocking out Thoresen, now it's Torba taking down Berge.

13: 52: World champ sighting on Mat C. Sergey Semenov is up 4-0 in the first period against  Luca GODINO (ITA).

13:52: Kerem KAMAL (TUR) trailed 1-0 but just put up five straight and leads Irakli DZIMISTARISHVILI (GEO), 5-1. 

13:38: Norway has been having a rough few days. Their Rio Olympic bronze Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR) has an opportunity to change that. He's wrestling Hungary's Eric TORBA on Mat A in two matches. 

13:37: Ciobanu moves through to the quarterfinals with a 7-1 win over Daurov.

13:30: European champion and world runner-up Victor CIOBANU (MDA) is leading Soslan DAUROV (BLR), 4-0, at the break. That match is taking place on Mat B. 

13:15: Gobadze hangs on to defeat two-time world champion Basar, 1-1. 

13:04: World champions Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) and Metehan BASAR (TUR) are wrestling on Mat B. Gobadze is up from his '19 world-title winning weight of 82kg.

12:58: Not much to say about that match. Nemes and Galkinas traded inactivity points, but the Serbian scored last so he moves into the quarterfinals. He'll meet fellow world champion Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) for a spot in the semifinals. 

12:47: Serbian world champion Viktor NEMES will wrestle Paulius GALKINAS (LTU) next on Mat A.

12:40: Thoresen falls to Korpasi, 4-1, ending the European champ's quest at earning an Olympic berth for Norway through this week's qualifier.

12:39: Thoresen gets the inactivity point but is unable to score from par terre. Korpasi's lead is cut to three points with one minute left.

12:35: Korpasi and Thoresen is heading to the second period. The Hungarian picked up four points in the first period and heads into the closing period leading 4-0.

12:31: Chekhirkin pulls out the late 2-1 comeback! Bolkvadze held the criteria advantage but surrendered a stepout with 11 seconds left.

12:28: There's a tight race going on over on Mat C. Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO) just received an inactivity point with less than two minutes to go, as he leads '18 world champion Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS), 1-1. 

12:17: Keep an eye out for '18 world champion Sergey SEMENOV (RUS). He'll be wrestling on Mat C (Bout 274).

The last time the Russian big man was in Budapest, he had the top performance of his career. He won four matches, one of which was a fall, then outscored his other three opponents 21-0. He closed out the competition with a first-period 9-0 shutout win over  Adam Jacob COON (USA). 

Semenov will wrestle Italy's Luca GODINO.

11:45: Balint KORPASI (HUN) will make his debut down at 67kg in four matches (Bout 225) on Mat B. It'll be the first time Korpasi has competed below 71/72kg since '12.

If you're not familiar with Korpasi, he's built one of the world's best Greco-Roman resumes since '16. He's medaled at four consecutive World Championships -- including winning a non-Olympic weight world gold at the '16 World Championships.

Korpasi will wrestle reigning European champion Morten THORESEN (NOR).

11:27: Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) is coming up next on Mat A. He's a '17 world champion that's "stepping in" for two-time Olympic champion Roman VLASOV (RUS), who was scratched earlier this week. Chekhirkin will square off with European champion Pascal EISELE (GER) in the opening round.

Side note: Eisele fell to Vlasov in the second round at the Individual World Cup in a tight 8-6 battle.

11:10: Top of the morning to you, wrestling fans! Greco-Roman action takes over today. We'll run through a few women's wrestling repechage matches before kicking off the Greco-Roman portion of the competition.


Semenov and Chekhirkin Claim Gold on Final Day of European OG Qualifier

By Eric Olanowski

BUDAPEST, Hungary (January 20) – Russian wrestlers Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) and Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) closed out the final day of the European Olympic Qualifiers with a pair of golds, while Kerem KAMAL (TUR) cruised to his second title of the ’21 season.

Semenov rolled past Lithuania’s Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU) with a pair of second-period side headlocks after he collected an inactivity point. He claimed the 130kg gold, 5-1. Semenov's compatriot and fellow ’18 world champion Chekhirkin also won gold on Sunday night. He was awarded the 77kg gold after his finals opponent Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO) injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match.

Kamal reached the podium for the second time this season (he also won the Henri Deglane) with a four-point victory over Etienne KINSINGER (GER) in the 60kg finals. The match was tied in the opening period when Kamal peddled to the edge of the mat, jarred an underhook in, and tossed the German to his back for four points.

In the second period, Kamal kept his pace high and earned an inactivity point, putting Kingsinger down in par terre. The 21-year-old went for a right-side gut wrench but was stopped mid-way through and conceded a reversal. He stayed poised in the final minute and closed out the match victorious, 5-1.

The final two golds of the evening went to Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) and Islam ABBASOV (AZE). They were awarded the 67kg and 87kg golds, respectively, after their finals opponent’s injury defaulted out of the gold-medal matches.

That wraps up our coverage of the European Olympic Qualifier. The event calendar resumes with the African and Oceania Olympic Qualifier April 2-4 in Hammamet, Tunisia.

*Please note that wrestlers who won their semifinal matches at the European Olympic Qualifiers earned berths for their respective nations to the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

GOLD - Kerem KAMAL (TUR) df. Etienne KINSINGER (GER), 5-1
BRONZE - Ivan LIZATOVIC (CRO) df. Murad MAMMADOV (AZE), via injury default
BRONZE - Irakli DZIMISTARISHVILI (GEO) df. Erik TORBA (HUN), via forfeit

GOLD - Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) df. Balint KORPASI (HUN), via injury default
BRONZE - Artur POLITAIEV (UKR) df. Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM), via injury default
BRONZE - Deyvid Tihomirov DIMITROV (BUL) df. Donior ISLAMOV (MDA), 9-7

GOLD - Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) df. Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO), via injury default
BRONZE - Viktor NEMES (SRB) df. Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL), via injury default

BRONZE - Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) df. Oldrich VARGA (CZE), via injury default

GOLD - Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Lasha GOBADZE (GEO), via injury default
BRONZE -Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Milad Valerikovitch ALIRZAEV (RUS), via injury default

GOLD - Arvi Martin SAVOLAINEN (FIN) df. Kiril MILOV (BUL), via injury default
BRONZE - Alex Gergo SZOKE (HUN) df. Artur OMAROV (CZE)

BRONZE - Pontus Johan LUND (SWE) df. Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA)

GOLD - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) df. Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU), 5-1
BRONZE - Adam VARGA (HUN) df. Radoslav Plamenov GEORGIEV (BUL), 3-1

BRONZE - Rafal Andrzej KRAJEWSKI (POL) df. Marko KOSCEVIC (CRO), 11-5