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

By Eric Olanowski

BUDAPEST, Hungary (March 19) --- The #WrestleBudapest freestyle medal matches will start at 16:00 (local time) and will be followed by the women's wrestling #Tokyo2020 qualifying round at 18:00. 

20:07: That'll do it for Friday's coverage. We'll see you back here on Saturday at 11:00 as Greco-Roman actions gets underway at the European Olympic Qualifier.

20:04: Obviously two inactivity points was not the ideal way that Vorobeva wanted to earn Russia's Olympic spot, but sometimes the results is more important than the performance. She defeated Kuenz, 2-1, and will wrestle Marzaliuk in Saturday night's 76kg finals.

19:55: Olympic champion Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS) and world bronze medalist Martina KUENZ (AUT) will close Friday's women's wrestling semifinals. 

19:53: That was quick! Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) pinned Mariya ORYASHKOVA (BUL) in just over two minutes and helped Belarus punch their fifth overall ticket to Tokyo and second in women's wrestling.

19:48: Here's the final weight for women's wrestling. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) and Mariya ORYASHKOVA (BUL) are up first!

19:46: The future is bright at 68kg! First, it was 22-year-old Larroque who qualified for the Olympics. Now, 21-year-old Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) just qualified Russia for the Olympics with her 6-0 victory over fellow European champion Elis MANOLOVA (AZE).

19:31: Larroque is on first early in the first period. She's scored three takedowns and leads 6-0 heading into the second period.

19:25: We'll move into the 68kg semifinals. First up will be Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) and Dalma CANEVA (ITA). 

19:24: WHAT A COMEBACK! Grigorjeva trailed 3-0 in the second period but scored a pair of takedowns to pick up the come-from-behind win over Yesilirmak and Olympic berth, 4-4.

19:20: European champions Elif Jale YESILIRMAK (TUR) and Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT) will wrestle in the second semifinal match at 62kg.

19;19: Koliadenko secured Ukraine's second Olympic license of the day with a 10-0 win over Mariana CHERDIVARA ESANU (MDA) in the 62kg finals.

19:11: Mariana CHERDIVARA ESANU (MDA) and Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) are up next in the 62kg semifinals.

19:07: Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR) put on a flawless performance in the 57kg semifinals and ended Sara LINDBORG'S (SWE) hopes of qualifying Sweden for the Olympic Games. She won the match, 10-0.

18:55: Sara Johanna LINDBORG (SWE) and Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR) will wrestle in the second 57kg semifinals.

18:54: What a performance by Evelina NIKOLOVA (BUL)! She scored a pair of takedowns against Bediha GUN (TUR) in the 57kg semifinals and punched Bulgaria's 57kg ticket to this summer's Games.

18:45: Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sofia MATTSSON (SWE) was in disbelief as she picked up a late fall against Stalvira ORSHUSH (RUS) in the 53kg semifinal to punch Sweden's ticket to Tokyo.

18:36: Two-time world champion Vanesa KALADZINSKAYA (BLR) blasted through Iulia LEORDA (MDA), 9-1, in the first 53kg and helped Belarus book their fourth ticket to the Olympic Games. This week, Belarus claimed three spots from freestyle wrestlers and now one in women's wrestling.

18:23: The second 50kg Olympic berth went to Miglena SELISHKA (BUL). The reigning European champion caught Iwona MATKOWSKA (POL) off balance with just over two minutes left and gained the 2-1 advantage. She tacked on a second takedown after fighting off a late flurry of Polish attacks and won the match, 4-1

18:11: Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR) reached the final of the 50kg bracket and qualified Turkey for the Olympic Games with her 5-1 win over Julie SABATIE (FRA). 

Women's Wrestling Olympic Qualification Round

17:27: That'll do it for freestyle action. We'll take a short 30-minute break and see you back here for the women's wrestling Tokyo qualification round. action at 18:00.

17:25: Belarus crowned a third champion on the day as Gennadij CUDINOVIC (GER) injury defaulted out of the 125kg title bout giving gold to  Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR).

17:10: Karadeniz grabbed a takedown and put the pressure on late, but Huyshtyn came up clutch with a short-time takedown to win back-to-back golds for Belarus. The final score of the match was 5-4.

17:06: It was a pretty even first period between Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR) and Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) in the 97kg finals. They both scored a point, but the Belarusian has criteria heading into the final three minutes.

16:55: Shabanau continues to roll with that smoothing underhook. He's used it to pick up three takedowns in the finals, and after a lost Turkish challenge, the Belarusian walked away with a 7-0 win and the 86kg gold medal.

16:50: It's not something that'll show up on the results page or highlight clip, but let's give props to the refs for being extra cautious with knees and shoulders during these finals matches. The main objective of this competition was chasing the Olympic quota, and although a gold medal would be nice, the most important thing is the long-term safety of these competitors.

16:45: Shabanau, the four-time world medal-winner, is controlling the ties early in the match with his patented left-side underhook. He's so calculated with his attacks off that hook.

16:44:  Ali SHABANAU (BLR) and Osman GOCEN (TUR) are the next finals match up. They'll wrestle for 86kg gold. 

16: 41: It doesn't look like Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE) will compete in the 74kg finals, which means the European OG Qualifier gold goes to Georgia's '18 world runner-up  Avtandil KENTCHADZE.

16:36: What a performance by Tevanyan. He has to be looked at as a serious contender to win the Tokyo Olympic Games at 65kg. Since December, he has wins over Olympic champion Vlad KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO), world bronze medalist Ismail MUSUKAEV (HUN), two-time world medalist Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL), and now three-time world champion Aliyev.

16:24: Tevanyan just opened the match-up and leads 7-0. He was on the inactivity clock but snapped Aliyev down for a takedown. He caught the Azeri's left arm and roll twice with a trapped arm gut. He added another takedown and claimed 65kg gold, 9-0.

16:22: Nothing much to talk about in that first period outside of the inactivity point. Aliyev has to attack, and for us fans, that's a positive! This is where things are going to get interesting!

16:18: Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) has had a lot of tough tests since December, but none like three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV (AZE). This should be a great gauge for the '20 Individual World Cup champion.

16:16: The Bulgarian tried everything he could to close the gap, but Harutyunyan takes the safe route out and concedes a takedown and flattens out. Harutyunyan wins 57kg gold with an 8-3 victory over Vangelov. 

16:14: The Armenian built a comfortable 8-1 lead after a counter-offensive go behind and a pair of below the hip exposures.

16:12: Harutyunyan scored the lone first-period takedown and leads 2-1 at the break. The 21-year-old used a textbook head outside single to take the one-point lead into the closing period. 

16:08: Just over a minute into the 57kg finals and we have a stoppage due to a cut on the head of Georgi VANGELOV (BUL). Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) is staying loose -- bouncing around the medical stall as the tape up the Bulgarian's head.

16:00: Please keep in mind that there could a good amount of medical forfeits in this session. Wrestlers who made it to the finals have already qualified their nations for the Tokyo Olympic Games. For now, we'll have to wait and see who is going to take the mat.


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