Petriashvili Repeats, Russia Pips Georgia for Team Title in European U23 Freestyle

By William May

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (March 29) – Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) needed only 2:24 Wednesday evening to repeat as champion at 125kg, but Russia edged first-day leader Georgia by one point for the freestyle team title at the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships.

Petriashvili took advantage of his arsenal of leg attacks and turns in par terre to roll up a 10-0 technical fall over Vitali PIASNIAK (BLR) in the freestyle finale at Arena Savaria, while looking ahead to the next month’s senior European championships.

“I feel good about the way I wrestled today,” Petriashvili said after posting three technical falls on his way to victory. “It was an important win for me, my family and my country.”

Petriashvili, who is also the defending champion in the senior European championships, also remarked, “It was a good win, but I hope the European championships will be even better.”

“But, who knows what will happen. We don’t know who will be in good form and who will not be so good,” added the gentle giant. “Only God knows.”

Petriashvili won last year’s senior meet with a first-round win over world champion and eventual Rio 2016 gold medalist Taha AKGUL (TUR), who will likely be the odds-on favorite heading into the May 2-7 European meet in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Meanwhile, just prior to Petriashvili’s gold medal bout, 2016 junior world champion Kazbek KHUBULOV (RUS) pinned Salim ERCAN (TUR) at 1:25 for a bronze medal, while securing the team title for Russia, 61-60, over Georgia.

Russia finished the tourney with one champion, three runners-up and three more bronze medals, while Georgia can boast three champions along with three bronze medalists. Turkey finished in third place with 58 points, two champions and a pair of silver medalists.

Russia’s lone champion came in the evening’s first gold medal bout as returning senior European champion Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) wrapped up a 10-0 technical fall over Sedat OZDEMIR (TUR) at 3:34 of the 61kg final.

Russia had a chance for a second champion at 70kg, but in a bout bereft of offensive points, last year’s U23 runner-up Gadjimurad OMAROV (AZE) gave Azerbaijan its second champion of the freestyle competition with a 1-1 win on last-point criteria over Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS).

At 86kg, 2015 U23 bronze medal winner Murat ERTURK (TUR) claimed Turkey’s second gold medal of the meet, wrapping up local favorite Bendeguz TOTH (HUN) with a tight head-and-leg control off a front headlock for the fall in only 57 seconds.

Wrestling continues Thursday and Friday with the women’s events, beginning with bouts at 48kg, 55kg, 60kg, and 69kg.


Results: Medal Matches and Semifinals

61kg (14 entries)
Gold – Gadshimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) df. Sedat OZDEMIR (TUR) by TF, 10-0, 3:34 
Bronze – Shota PHARTENADZE (GEO) df. Ivan BILEICHUK (UKR), 8-0
Bronze – Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE) df. Randy VOCK (SUI) by TF, 13-2, 5:29

Semifinal – Sedat OZDEMIR (TUR) df. Shota PHARTENADZE (GEO), 6-3
Semifinal – Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) df. Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE), 4-2

70kg (15 entries)
Gold – Gadzhimurad OMAROV (AZE) df. Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS), 1-1
Bronze – Mirza SKHULUKHIA (GEO) df. Surkho RASHYTKHANOV (BLR), 9-5
Bronze – Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) df. Muhammet AKDENIZ (TUR), 8-6

Semifinal – Gadzhimurad OMAROV (AZE) df. Surkho RASHYTKHANOV (BLR) by Fall, 2:24 (6-0)
Semifinal – Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) df. Muhammet AKDENIZ (TUR) by TF, 13-3, 3:51

86kg (15 entries)
Gold – Murat ERTURK (TUR) df. Bendeguz TOTH (HUN) by Fall, 0:57 (2-0) 
Bronze – Kanan ALIYEV (AZE) df. Stefan REICHMUTH (SUI), 2-1 
Bronze – Arsen-Ali MUSALALIEV (RUS) df. Bohdan HRYTSAY (UKR), 16-9

Semifinal – Bendeguz TOTH (HUN) df. Kanan ALIEV (AZE), 8-6 
Semifinal – Murat ERTURK (TUR) df. Bohdan HRYTSAY (UKR) by Fall, 1:51 (8-0)

125kg (11 entries)
Gold – Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Vitali PIASNIAK (BLR) by TF, 10-0, 2:24 
Bronze – Kamil KOSCIOLEK (POL) df. Tamas SOOS (SVK) by TF, 11-0, 1:01
Bronze – Kazbek KHUBULOV (RUS) df. Salim ERCAN (TUR) by Fall, 1:25 (10-0) 

Semifinal – Vitali PIASNIAK (BLR) df. Kamil KOSCIOLEK (POL) by TF, 10-0, 2:43
Semifinal – Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Kazbek KHUBULOV (RUS) by TF, 10-0, 5:31