BUCHAREST, Romania (March 16) -- Jonna MALMGREN (SWE) could not have asked for a better warm-up for the European Championships where she will enter as the defending champion at 53kg.

In a battle of two European champions, Malmgren defeated Andreea ANA (ROU) at 55kg to win her first U23 European title in Bucharest, Romania.

Malmgren, a regular at 53kg, scripted a thrilling 5-4 win over home wrestler Ana in the final, a month before the European Championships which begin in Zagreb, Croatia on April 17.

Malmgren won the 53kg gold medal while Ana won the 55kg title in the Budapest edition of the European Championships last year.

With the gold in Bucharest on Thursday, Malmgren added a U23 European title to her resume which already boasts of U17 and senior titles along with U20 world and Youth Olympic Games gold medals.

Malmgren, who lost in the quarterfinals of the Ibrahim Moustafa Ranking Series last month, entered the tournament as the favorite to win at 55kg. She began in a similar fashion, winning her two bouts on Wednesday via fall. From the other side of the bracket, Ana was equally dominant with two wins via technical superiorities.

In the final, Malmgren had to script a comeback after Ana took a 4-2 lead. Malmgren was called passive but she scored a takedown in the final second of the activity period to lead 2-0 till the break. Ana returned the favor with a nice slideby to make it 2-2 and added another to make it 4-2 with a single-leg sweep.

Malmgren did not panic despite trailing and hit a high double-leg which Ana escaped but Malmgren never let go of her one leg and scored a takedown to take a 4-4 criteria lead. Ana managed to disposition Malmgren in the final few seconds and hit an underhook but Malmgren never tilted over 90 degrees to be considered in danger position.

Romania did challenge the call but lost as Malmgren was declared a 5-4 winner.

Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR)Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) celebrates after winning the 59kg gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Ukraine wins 2 golds

Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) and Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR) won two of the five gold medals that were on offer on Thursday as Ukraine took lead in the team race with five more gold medals to be decided.

Wrestling at 59kg, Vynnyk is now a U23 European champion along with her U17 and U20 continental titles. After outscoring her opponents 34-2 in three bouts on Wednesday, Vynnyk wrestled Amel REBIHA (FRA) in the final and pinned her first period to claim the gold.

Vynnyk began with a single leg and scored a takedown to lead 2-0 before hitting a powerful double leg. She used an armbar to secure the fall just before the break.

Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR)Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR) after securing the fall over Kamila GAUCAITE (LTU). (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Alpyeyeva won the 76kg gold with a fall over Kamila GAUCAITE (LTU) who finished with a silver medal for the second year in a row.

The 2021 U23 world champion showed a gulf in the class at the competition as none of her opponents were able to score a point on her.

Gaucaite too was never close to getting a point on Alpyeyeva who scored using leg attacks throughout the final. Gaucaite, trailing 4-0, tried hitting a double leg on Alpyeyeva who countered by throwing her sideways and securing the fall four seconds before the break.

Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA)Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA) defended her 50kg gold medal at U23 European Championships. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Luttenauer repeats

Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA) defended her 50kg title in Bucharest by beating Emanuela LIUZZI (ITA), 5-4 in a heated gold medal bout.

With victories over Emine OSMAN (BUL) in the opening bout, Amanda TOMCZYK (POL) in the quarterfinals and Zehra DEMIRHAN (TUR) in the semifinal, Luttenauer was expected to win the gold.

However, Liuzzi too had a good run to the final with wins over Khrystyna BASYCH (SVK), Ana Maria PIRVU (ROU) and Gabija DILYTE (LTU).

And despite Lutteauer's 5-0 lead in the gold medal bout, Liuzzi bounced back with a snap down for two points and later with an inside trip for another takedown.

Luttenauer was smart enough to avoid a fall on her back and gave up only two points instead of a possible four. Liuzzi failed to score a point she needed to win in the remaining 30 seconds as the French wrestler became a two-time U23 European champion.

The fifth gold of the night went to U23 world champion Nesrin BAS (TUR) who defeated Zsuzsanna MOLNAR (SVK), 4-0, in the gold medal bout.

Both wrestlers were slow to start off but Bas created more attacks than Molnar who was called passive two minutes into the final. She tried a cradle in the activity time but failed to finish it as Bas circled around and got a takedown along with the passivity point.

Molnar was once again warned for passivity in the second period and Bas was happy to take one more point after the period finished.

Bas easily kept Molnar at bay for the remaining time and captured the gold medal, her first at U23 European Championships.



GOLD: Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA) df. Emanuela LIUZZI (ITA), 5-4

BRONZE: Ana PIRVU (ROU) df. Gabija DILYTE (LTU), via fall
BRONZE: Zehra DEMIRHAN (TUR) df. Amanda TOMCZYK (POL), 6-1

GOLD: Jonna MALMGREN (SWE) df. Andreea ANA (ROU), 5-4

BRONZE: Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE) df. Mihaela SAMOIL (MDA), 14-7
BRONZE: Mariia VYNNYK (UKR) df. Immacolata DANISE (ITA), 10-0

GOLD: Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) df. Amel REBIHA (FRA), via fall

BRONZE: Ebru DAGBASI (TUR) df. Othelie HOEIE (NOR), 4-1
BRONZE: Ana PUIU (ROU) df. Fatme SHABAN (BUL), 17-10

GOLD: Nesrin BAS (TUR) df. Zsuzsanna MOLNAR (SVK), 4-0

BRONZE: Irina RINGACI (MDA) df. Laura GODINO (ITA), 10-0 
BRONZE: Karolina POK (HUN) df. Nigar MIRZAZADA (AZE), 10-2

GOLD: Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR) df. Kamile GAUCAITE (LTU), via fall

BRONZE: Fanni NAGY NAD (SRB) df. Marion BYE (NOR), 4-3
BRONZE: Mehtap GULTEKIN (TUR) df. Elena MARGAS (ROU), 10-2