Malmgren warms up for senior Euros with U23 gold

By Vinay Siwach

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


Bayramov leads Azerbaijan to U23 Euro title

By Vinay Siwach

BUCHAREST, Romania (March 19) -- When the entry list for the U23 European Championships was released, Azerbaijan thew a surprise by naming Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) at 74kg.

Already an established name, Bayramov last competed at an age-group tournament in 2021. Last year, all his competitions were at the senior level and he won medals in five of them. The only competition he failed to win a medal was the World Championships.

But Bayramov, the leader of the team in Bucharest, made a comeback with a gold medal at the U23 Euros on Sunday, beating Vasil DAICON (MDA) 1-1 in the final to once again throw in his name for the national team.

Azerbaijan has built a massive core group of wrestlers at 70kg and 74kg. Last year, as many as 10 different wrestlers competed in these two weights for Azerbaijan in nine tournaments, all at the level U20 and above. Add U23 European champion at 70kg Magomed KHANIEV (AZE) to it and the list grows to 11.

Two names, however, have been present in more competitions than others and those are Bayramov's and U20 world champion Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE).

The two began the year at the Dan Kolov tournament and Gadzhiev won that final over Bayramov. He also won the U23 Euros last year at 74kg while Bayramov finished third at the senior event.

As Gadzhiev racked up medals at age-group tournaments, Bayramov kept winning at the senior level including a win over Bayramov at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event which also pushed his case for the World Championships. But Bayramov slipped at the biggest event and finished 11th. That gave Gadzhiev new hope.

Come 2023 and Bayramov was asked to represent Azerbaijan at U23 Euros while Gadzhiev has been picked for the senior event in Zagreb, Croatia.

The selection, however, has not bogged Bayramov down. He took the task of reclaiming his spot on the senior team head-on and made a statement by winning the gold.

He also led Azerbaijan to the team title with 140 points, 11 more than Turkiye which finished second. Georgia finished third with 125 points.

In his first three bouts, Bayramov outscored his opponents 32-0. From the other side, Diacon had been equally dominant in reaching the final.

In the final on Sunday, Bayramov used a different tactic and brought out his strongest weapon -- his defense.

The two wrestlers exchanged passivity points with Bayramov getting the second one to lead 1-1 on criteria in the second period. Diacon still had over one minute to score a point and win. However, Bayramov managed to remain in contact and defend as well to win on criteria.

Depending on how Gadzhiev performs at the European Championships, it will be interesting to see how Azerbaijan decides its team for World Championships.

Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA)Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) won the gold medal at 86kg in Bucharest. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

In other action, France crowned its second U23 European champion in two days as U20 world champion Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) captured the gold medal at 86kg.

Before Bucharest, France did not have a single U23 Euro champion in freestyle but that record was broken by Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA) as he won the gold medal at 65kg.

Magamadov, who finished fifth at last year's U23 Europeans, looked in better shape this year and won all but one bout via technical superiority. In the final, he faced Knyaz IBOYAN (ARM) and gave him no chance, finishing the bout with two minutes and 20 seconds remaining.

He began the gold medal bout with two stepouts before a takedown increased his lead to 4-0. He also appeared to be much stronger than Iboyan who could not pick up Magamadov's attacks. Magamadov ended the first period 8-1. He continued his relentless attacks in the second period as well and scored a takedown before a stepout confirmed his 11-1 win over Iboyan.

The gold once again confirmed Magamadov's rise at 86kg who has medaled at U17, U20 and now U23 Europeans along with U17 and U20 Worlds.

Andrii DZHELEP (UKR)Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) celebrates after beating Mezhlum MEZHLUMYAN (ARM) in the 61kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

At 61kg, '21 European silver medalist Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) lived up to the 'favorite' tag and won the gold in dominating fashion over Mezhlum MEZHLUMYAN (ARM).

Dzhelep, a former U17 world and European champion, failed to win a medal at his previous two competitions but made a comeback to start the new season with a bang.

Mezhlumyan did well to keep Dzhelep quiet for the opening minute but then got tossed for a four-pointer. He survived the pin but could not stop Dzhelep from scoring a gut wrench and a full 360-degree throw for another four.

The win puts Dzhelep as one of the front-runners to take the spot on the national team but Kamil KEYRMOV (UKR) is the most likely choice for now.

Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO)Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO) completes a takedown on Muhammed GIMRI (TUR) in the 92kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

U20 World and European silver medalist Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO) claimed his first international gold medal by beating Muhammed GIMRI (TUR), 7-1, in the 92kg final.

Margishvili shot a double-leg to catch Gimri off guard and scored a takedown soon after giving up a stepout. Gimri was penalized for intentionally going out of bounds and the bout restart in par terre with Margishvili leading 3-1. However, no more damage was done.

In the second period, Margishvili countered Gimri's attempt to reach for his far leg with a takedown to extend his lead to 5-1. Gimri got his opportunities as well as he got behind Margishvili twice but failed to score. It was another counter when Margishvili scored a takedown to lead 7-1.

Gimri had around two minutes to score and win but Margishvili's defense and Gimri's deteriorating conditioning meant that the latter held off for a win.

Georgi IVANOV (BUL)Georgi IVANOV (BUL) became the first Bulgarian to win the U23 European gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Bulgaria gets gold

Bulgaria crowned its first-ever U23 European champion as Georgi IVANOV (BUL) won the 125kg gold medal over Volodymyr KOCHANOV (UKR), 10-0.

Ivanov, who had a best finish of eighth at U23 Euros before Sunday, stunned everyone with the dominance he displayed in Bucharest. He defeated Azamat KHOSONOV (GRE) 6-0 before dealing with Efe AL (TUR) 6-2 in the semifinals.

In the final against Kochanov, Ivanov scored an arm throw but only for two. Kochanov and Ivanov were then involved in a mini-battle of arm throws but did not get much out of it. Before the break, Ivanov scored a stepout.

He then managed to hit a couple of counters and stepout and lead 8-0. The final move could not have been more Ivanov as he tried an arm spin, failed at it but jumped straight to hold one of the legs of Kochanov and complete a takedown to win 10-0.

Bulgaria has two silver medalists at U23 Euros before Sunday but now has the champion in Ivanov. Incidentally, one of the two silver medalists is Dimitar IVANOV (BUL), a brother of Georgi.

Kochanov would be thanking his stars after reaching the final he had no business being in. After Vakhit GALAYEV (AZE) and Solomon MANASHVILI (GEO) were disqualified, Kochanov got the chance to wrestle in a semifinal.

He had lost to Manashvili in the quarterfinals and was promoted to wrestle a semifinal against Martin SIMONYAN (ARM) who had lost to Galayev. 



GOLD: Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) df. Mezhlum MEZHLUMYAN (ARM), 10-0

BRONZE: Emre KURAL (TUR) df. Daviti ABDALADZE (GEO), 11-5

GOLD: Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) df. Vasile DIACON (MDA), 1-1

BRONZE: Krisztian BIRO (ROU) df. Nikolay DIMITROV (BUL), 10-0

GOLD: Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) df. Knyaz IBOYAN (ARM), 11-1

BRONZE: Joshua MORODION (GER) df. Vladyslav PRUS (UKR), via fall

GOLD: Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO) df. Muhammed GIMRI (TUR), 7-1

BRONZE: Sergey SARGSYAN (ARM) df. Abduljalil SHABANOV (AZE), 8-5

GOLD: Georgi IVANOV (BUL) df. Volodymyr KOCHANOV (UKR), 10-0

BRONZE: Martin SIMONYAN (ARM) df. Solomon MANASHVILI (GEO), via disqualification
BRONZE: Efe AL (TUR) df. Azamat KHOSONOV (GRE), 6-3