Maroulis, Vorobieva Rule Over Women’s Events at Golden Grand Prix Final

By William May

BAKU (November 28) – Reigning world champions Helen MAROULIS (USA) and Natalya VOROBIEVA (RUS) ruled over the women’s events Saturday, claiming titles at 53kg and 69kg at the Golden Grand Prix Final in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.

Maroulis, winner of the 55kg title at the world championships in September, dropped to 53kg where she edged world silver medalist Sofia MATTSSON (SWE), 2-1, for one title, while Vorobieva turned away 2012 world champ Jenny FRANSSON (SWE), 4-1, for the 69kg crown. 

For Maroulis, the win over Mattsson was significant since she won at a non-Olympic weight category and still needs to qualify the United States for a berth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games early next year at 53kg.

After the dust settled at Baku Sports Hall on Saturday, the United States, Russia and China each claimed a pair of champions, while wrestlers from Hungary and Estonia claimed the other two.

Former world champion Elena PIROZHKOVA (USA) won, 4-3, at 63kg over world bronze medalist Taybe YUSEIN (BUL), while Yarygin Grand Prix winner Valentina ISLAMOVA (RUS) made up for a fifth place finish in Las Vegas with a 2-1 win over world bronze medalist Jessica BLASZKA (NED).

Rio 2016 qualifier at 48kg LI Hui (CHN) won at 55kg, and Asia champion LUO Xiaojuan (CHN) prevailed at 60kg.

Meanwhile, former world bronze medalist Emese BARKA (HUN) spotted Tynybekova six points in the first period and roared back for a 12-10 triumph at 58kg sparked with a four-point counter to leg attack in the second period.

World bronze medalist Epp MAE (EST) also had to battle from behind in the 75kg final for a 4-4 win on criteria after world runner-up ZHOU Qian (CHN) bear-hugged to her back early in the day’s finale.

Meanwhile, in the bronze medal matches, Japan’s young rebounded from a frustrating morning session to win four. The Japanese charge in the evening was sparked by junior world champion Miho IGARASHI, who led off with a technical at 48kg.

Asian Games gold medalist at 63kg Rio WATARI (JPN), with her own designs on Rio 2016 at 75kg, won a bronze medal at 69kg after a hard-fought 10-8 loss to Vorobieva in the semifinals.

World bronze medal winner Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) serenaded fans before and after her 10-0 thumping of European Games champion Angela DOROGAN (AZE) at 53kg.

In a meeting of former world champions, 2014 winner Aline FOCKEN (GER) edged 2013 champ Alina MAKHYNIA (UKR), 4-3, at 69kg – a category in which four of the 12 entries had won world titles.

Action at the GGP Final concludes Sunday with wrestling in Greco-Roman.

Results of Saturday evening’s gold and bronze medal finals:

Women’s Wrestling

48kg (10 entries)
Gold – Valentina ISLAMOVA (RUS) df. Jessica BLASZKA (NED), 2-1
Bronze – Iwona MATKOWSKA (POL) df. Onmariel VILIBETH (VEN) by Fall, 5:32
Bronze – Miho IGARASHI (JPN) df. Shafag MURADZADE (AZE) by TF, 12-0, 2:59

53kg (17 entries)
Gold – Helen MAROULIS (USA) df. Sofia MATTSSON (SWE), 2-1
Bronze – Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) df. Angela DOROGAN (AZE) by TF, 10-0, 3:26
Bronze – ZHONG Xuechun (CHN) df. PAK Yong-Mi (PRK), 4-2

55kg (11 entries)
Gold – LI Hui (CHN) df. Natalya SINISHIN (AZE), 6-1
Bronze – JONG In-Sun (PRK) df. Rim AYARI (TUN) by TF, 11-0, 4:23
Bronze – Hikari SUGAWARA (JPN) df. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE), 2-1

58kg (14 entries)
Gold – Emese BARKA (HUN) df. Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ), 12-10
Bronze – Aiym ABDILDINA (KAZ) df. Derya BAYHAN (TUR) by TF, 12-0, 1:44
Bronze – Johanna MATTSSON (SWE) df. Tatyana LAVRENCHUK (UKR), 4-2

60kg (11 entries)
Gold – LUO Xiaojuan (CHN) df. Allison RAGAN (USA), 6-0
Bronze – Marianna SASTIN (HUN) df. Jennifer PAGE (USA), 5-1
Bronze – Yukako KAWAI df. Dzhanan MANOLOVA (BUL) by TF, 12-2, 5:36

63kg (17 entries)
Gold – Elena PIROZHKOVA (USA) df. Taybe YUSEIN (BUL), 4-3
Bronze – Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT) df. Elmira GAMBAROVA (AZE), 6-3
Bronze – Valeria LAZINSKAYA (RUS) df. Erin CLODGO (USA), 6-2

69kg (12 entries)
Gold – Natalya VOROBIEVA (RUS) df. Jenny FRANSSON (SWE), 4-1
Bronze – Aline FOCKEN (GER) df. Alina MAKHYNIA (UKR), 4-3
Bronze – Rio WATARI (JPN) df. Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) by TF, 12-2, 2:55

75kg (11 entries)
Gold – Epp MAE (EST) df. ZHOU Qian (CHN), 4-4
Bronze – Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS) df. Sabira ALIYEVA (AZE) by TF, 11-0, 5:06
Bronze – Maider UNDA (ESP) df. Guzel MANYUROVA (KAZ) by Fall, 5:53