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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.


Georgia Claim #WrestleBudapest GR Title Despite Two Kyrgyzstan Gold

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (July 25) --- Just like the freestyle and women's wrestling in Budapest, a new nation claimed the Greco-Roman team title for the first time. Georgia, which claimed two bronze medals on the final day of the cadet World Championships, won their first-ever team title in the history of the tournament.

The country did not have any finalists Sunday but it finished with two gold, a silver and three bronze medals to register with 141 points, the most among all the participants.

India had claimed their first-ever freestyle team title on Wednesday while USA won the women's team title on Friday, the first for them as well in the history of the tournament.

Ukraine finished in second position in Greco-Roman with two gold, two silver and a bronze medal, giving them 127 points. Defending champions Russia were third with 124 points that accumulated via two gold, two silver and a bronze medal.

Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ)Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) won the gold at 51kg in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Though they finished fourth in the team title race, Kyrgyzstan won two gold medals Sunday as Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) and Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) won their weight classes.

Suiorkulov denied Yurii TOVT (UKR) the gold medal at 51kg as he won 3-1. This is the first time in five years that a Kyrgyzstan wrestler won the cadet Worlds. Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) had achieved this feat in 2016, becoming the second only for the country.

"I am so glad to become the world champion," Suiorkulov said. "I wasn't worried during they day. I thought I was going to win the match."

Tovt was warned for passivity in the first period which gave Suiorkulov the lead and he scored two more points from the par-terre position to lead 3-0 at the break. Suiorkulov, who was also at the 2019 Worlds, was also penalized for being passive but he defended the par-terre position and the lead to claim the gold medal 3-1.

"Since my World Championship in 2019, I was preparing well," he said. "We had some tough days. During the COVID, I kept training at home."

Asked how he took up the sport of wrestling, he said that his friends made him do wrestling but he has emerged to be the most successful one. "My friends made me start my wrestling training as we were going to the gym together," he said. "Thanks you, my friends! None of them achieve such results in wrestling though."

Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ)Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) celebrates after winning the 60kg world title in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 60kg, Beishekeev overcame Seyyedmostafa REZAEI DARYAKENARI (IRI) 4-1 in the final with ease. While it was the Iranian who led at the break 1-0 but Beishekeev scored four points in the second period for the win.

Rezaei Daryakenari was awarded the point for Beishekeev's passivity but failed to capitalize from the position. In the second period, the Iranian was called passive giving Beishekeev a 1-1 criteria lead. In the par terre position, Rezaei Daryakenari was called for fleeing and cautioned, added two more points to Beishekeev's score.

Iran challenged the call but the judges upheld the referee's decision. The added point for lost challenge made the score 4-1 for Beishekeev's score which remained till the clock expired. 

Another Iran wrestler was denied the gold medal as Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) defeated Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI) 2-1 at the 71kg final. Solovei was leading on criteria 1-1 but was struggling to match the pace of Abdevali in the final few seconds.

Abdevali tried to score via stepout in the final three seconds but was not awarded by the referee. Iran coaches challenged the call, claiming there was a clear stepout but the judge withheld the referee's call after the replay, giving the Moldovan wrestler the win.

Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA)Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) is the world champion at 71kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"Last time I lost to an Iran wrestler, but this time I was confident," Solovei said referring to his loss to Hojat REZAEI (IRI) at the 2019 cadet Worlds. "It's important to wrestle till the last second. Today I got the revenge. I am very happy to get the medal. I hope next year I'll get only the medals like this one."

Solovei has been training in wrestling for the last 10 years and aims to become the Olympic champion one day. "My father was a wrestler as well. He brought me to the sport when I was seven years old. Now I am training in the Olympic village and my biggest dream is to become an Olympic champion. Every day I am thinking only about that."

At 45kg, Ukraine added another gold after the one Saturday with cadet European silver medalist Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) denying Ozodbek KHALIMBOEV (UZB) at the 45kg weight. He snatched a close 2-1 win after scored a step out in the second period.

He was awarded passivity and led 1-0 but he failed to take advantage of the par terre position. In the seconds period, he scored a stepout with a minute and 18 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 2-0. Khalimboev was awarded point for Dementiev passivity with 34 seconds remaining. It was his chance to reverse the match but he failed to score any points on the par terre position.

Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR)Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) celebrates after winning the 45kg gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"I have been waiting for that belt and for this medal for so long." Dementiev said. "After the unsuccessful European Championships where I got the silver medal, I really wanted to become a champion."

Dementiev won the gold medal for Ukraine and said that while preparing for the final, he was trying to remain positive.

"I was thinking about how to make my parents and my coaches happy," he said. "I wanted to prove myself that I can win. My final match was a bit tough, but we made it. When I was in school, there were wrestling classes and I just decided to give it a try. Little be little I started training and now it's been 6 years."

It could have been two for them and the team title but 2021 cadet European champion Vladyslav LUB (UKR) suffered a shock defeat to cadet Euros bronze medalist Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR).

Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR)Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) avenged his cadet European loss to Vladyslav LUB (UKR) at the cadet Worlds on Sunday. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Lub's strategy for the 92kg final backfired when he was awarded the passivity in the first period. He thought he would be able to score from the par terre position but Khaslakhanau's defense proved to be too much.

On the other hand, the Belarusian scored a throw for two points from the par terre in the second period to avenge his loss from the cadet European tournament just a couple of months back.

"We have been working so hard to get this medal," Khaslakhanau, who began wrestling when he was in fifth grade, said. "But it's definitely worth it. I can't even describe my emotions, but believe me it's worth it."

In his preparation for the final, the Belarussian took some motivation from the ongoing Olympics in Tokyo to keep his mind off the match.

"I tried not to think about the match," he said. "We we walking and laughing together with the coach, we were watching the Olympics on TV. Then I just came here, and did what I was supposed to do."

Next week, he will cheering for the Belarus wrestling team as wrestling at Tokyo Olympics, which are already underway, begins from August 1. 

The cadet World Championships were the first Worlds to be held after 623 days, owing to the global health pandemic. Incidentally, the last World Championships – U23 – were also held in Budapest.

RESULTS GR Medal Bouts



GOLD: Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) df Yurii TOVT (UKR), 3-1



BRONZE: SUMIT (IND) df Bagdat SABAZ (KAZ), 8-0

GOLD: Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) df Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI), 2-1

BRONZE: Dimitar RACHEV (BUL) df Islam YEVLOYEV (KAZ), 9-0

GOLD: Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) df Vladyslav LUB (UKR), 3-1