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#WrestleBudapest

Russia and Georgia Grab Pair of Greco-Roman Olympic Berths

By Eric Olanowski

BUDAPEST, Hungary (March 20) --- Russia and Georgia collected a pair of Olympic berths through Saturday’s Tokyo qualification round at the European Olympic Qualifier.  

Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) and Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) reached Saturday’s finals and brought Russia’s Greco-Roman Olympic berths total to five out of six weights, while Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) and Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) guaranteed a pair of Georgian Olympic licenses at 67kg and 87kg, respectively, after they each scored nine points en route to their semifinal victories.

At 77kg, Chekhirkin stepped up big after replacing two-time Olympic champion Roman VLASOV (RUS) on less than a weeks notice. He squeezed out a 7-6 win over Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL). Chekhirkin, the ’17 world champion, faced a 4-0 deficit in the first period but scored six unanswered points and gained the two-point lead. He surrendered a takedown and fell behind 6-6 on criteria but snatched a stepout and earned Russia's 77kg Olympic berth, 7-6.

His finals opponent will be now-two-time Olympian Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO). Starcevic qualified Croatia for the Olympic Games at 77kg with a 3-1 win over Oldrich VARGA (CZE).

Semenov was the second Russian Greco-Roman wrestler to book a ticket to Tokyo on Saturday. He was in such a hurry to get off the mat that he pinned Adam VARGA (HUN) in 98 seconds. 

Semenov will take on Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU), who punched Lithuania’s 130kg Olympic ticket with a controlling 4-1 semifinal win over Knystautas KRAJEWSKI (POL).

Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) was one of two Georgian wrestlers who earn an Olympic berth on Saturday. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Georgia was the second nation that had a pair of wrestlers earn Olympic berths on Saturday.

Zoidze was the first Georgian to win a semifinal bout. He eased his way to a 9-1 win over the slim and slender Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM). He'll wrestle Hungarian world champion Balint KORPASI (HUN) in Sunday’s finals.

Korpasi dominated Donior ISLAMOV (MDA), 6-0, and handed Hungary a spot at 67kg at the Olympic Games. He has world medals trickled throughout his resume, but the one thing the former world champion's resume was missing was an Olympic appearance. At 33-year-old, that's all going to change as he’s expected to be Hungary’s representative in Japan later this year.

Gobadze was Georgia’s second wrestler to claim an Olympic license on Saturday. Despite trailing early, the ’19 world champ emptied his gas tank and earned the 9-5 win over Milad ALIRZAEV (RUS). Gobadze’s come-from-behind win stopped Russia from earning an Olympic berth at each of the six weight classes.


Kerem KAMAL (TUR) was Turkey's lone wrestler to punch an Olympic ticket on Saturday. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Meanwhile, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, and Turkey each earned a solo Tokyo berth on Saturday night.  

Turkey came into the European Olympic Qualifier with four wrestlers who had high hopes of adding to their nation’s pair of Olympic berths. But after failing to reach the semifinals at 67kg, 77kg and 87kg, they turned to 21-year-old Kerem KAMAL (TUR) to save the day.

With the pressure of a nation on his back, the energetic spark plug dug deep against Erik TORBA (HUN) and ended Hungary’s 60kg bid for an Olympic berth with a one-point victory.

As always, Kamal came out on fire. He tossed everything he had into an early correct throw (six seconds into the first period) and controlled the slim 2-0 advantage. His Hungarian opponent was hit with inactivity and placed down in the par terre position. The two-time European medalist lost focus for a split second and surrendered a reversal and an exposure. Trailing on criteria, Kamal picked up what ultimately proved to be the match-deciding takedown before the first period came to an end.

He stayed composed in the second period and became the third Turkish Greco-Roman wrestler (97kg and 130kg) to punch his ticket to the Olympic Games with a 5-4 victory.

Kamal will wrestle Etienne KINSINGER (GER) for gold on Sunday night.

The German hit one of the craziest four-points throws to steal the Olympic berth from Murad MAMMADOV (AZE).

Kinsinger trailed 3-1 late in the second period when he took a peek over at the clock and realized there was only ten seconds left. In what appeared to be a "flying squirrel" attempt, he left his feet, got his hands locked on a side headlock and tossed everything he had into one final attempt. Kinsinger rolled his Azeri opponent over his back and picked up four points. As the clock struck zero, he realized he punched Germany's ticket to the Olympic Games at 67kg and let out a massive roar in excitement.

Although it wasn’t pretty by any means, Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN) got the job done at the end of the day and qualified Finland for the Olympic Games at 97kg.  Despite having two cautions against him and trailing 5-1 with less than a minute left, the Finnish wrestler stunned Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) with a four-point throw to earn the 5-5 criteria victory.

Savolaninen will take on ’18 world silver medalist Kiril MILOV (BUL) in the finals. Milov qualified Bulgarian for the Olympics after he walked to a 9-0 shutout win over Artur OMAROV (CZE), 9-0.

The Greco-Roman finals begin at 18:00 on Sunday and can be followed live on www.uww.org.

RESULTS

60kg
GOLD - Kerem KAMAL (TUR) vs. Etienne KINSINGER (GER)
SEMIFINAL - Etienne KINSINGER (GER) df. Murad MAMMADOV (AZE), 5-3
SEMIFINAL - Kerem KAMAL (TUR) df. Erik TORBA (HUN), 5-4

67kg
GOLD - Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) vs. Balint KORPASI (HUN)
SEMIFINAL - Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) df. Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM), 9-1
SEMIFINAL - Balint KORPASI (HUN) df. Donior ISLAMOV (MDA), 6-0

77kg
GOLD - Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO) vs. Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS)
SEMIFINAL - Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) df. Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL), 7-6
SEMIFINAL - Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO) df. Oldrich VARGA (CZE), 3-1

87kg
GOLD - Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) vs. Islam ABBASOV (AZE)
SEMIFINAL - Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Ramon BETSCHART (SUI), 6-1
SEMIFINAL -  Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) df. Milad ALIRZAEV (RUS), 9-5

97kg
GOLD - Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN) vs. Kiril MILOV (BUL)
SEMIFINAL - Kiril MILOV (BUL) df. Artur OMAROV (CZE), 9-0
SEMIFINAL - Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN) df. Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA), 5-5

130kg
GOLD - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) vs. Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU)
SEMIFINAL - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) df. Adam VARGA (HUN), via fall
SEMIFINAL - Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU) df. Rafal KRAJEWSKI (POL), 4-1

#WrestleBudapest

Georgia Claim #WrestleBudapest GR Title Despite Two Kyrgyzstan Gold

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (July 25) --- Just like the freestyle and women's wrestling in Budapest, a new nation claimed the Greco-Roman team title for the first time. Georgia, which claimed two bronze medals on the final day of the cadet World Championships, won their first-ever team title in the history of the tournament.

The country did not have any finalists Sunday but it finished with two gold, a silver and three bronze medals to register with 141 points, the most among all the participants.

India had claimed their first-ever freestyle team title on Wednesday while USA won the women's team title on Friday, the first for them as well in the history of the tournament.

Ukraine finished in second position in Greco-Roman with two gold, two silver and a bronze medal, giving them 127 points. Defending champions Russia were third with 124 points that accumulated via two gold, two silver and a bronze medal.

Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ)Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) won the gold at 51kg in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Though they finished fourth in the team title race, Kyrgyzstan won two gold medals Sunday as Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) and Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) won their weight classes.

Suiorkulov denied Yurii TOVT (UKR) the gold medal at 51kg as he won 3-1. This is the first time in five years that a Kyrgyzstan wrestler won the cadet Worlds. Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) had achieved this feat in 2016, becoming the second only for the country.

"I am so glad to become the world champion," Suiorkulov said. "I wasn't worried during they day. I thought I was going to win the match."

Tovt was warned for passivity in the first period which gave Suiorkulov the lead and he scored two more points from the par-terre position to lead 3-0 at the break. Suiorkulov, who was also at the 2019 Worlds, was also penalized for being passive but he defended the par-terre position and the lead to claim the gold medal 3-1.

"Since my World Championship in 2019, I was preparing well," he said. "We had some tough days. During the COVID, I kept training at home."

Asked how he took up the sport of wrestling, he said that his friends made him do wrestling but he has emerged to be the most successful one. "My friends made me start my wrestling training as we were going to the gym together," he said. "Thanks you, my friends! None of them achieve such results in wrestling though."

Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ)Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) celebrates after winning the 60kg world title in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 60kg, Beishekeev overcame Seyyedmostafa REZAEI DARYAKENARI (IRI) 4-1 in the final with ease. While it was the Iranian who led at the break 1-0 but Beishekeev scored four points in the second period for the win.

Rezaei Daryakenari was awarded the point for Beishekeev's passivity but failed to capitalize from the position. In the second period, the Iranian was called passive giving Beishekeev a 1-1 criteria lead. In the par terre position, Rezaei Daryakenari was called for fleeing and cautioned, added two more points to Beishekeev's score.

Iran challenged the call but the judges upheld the referee's decision. The added point for lost challenge made the score 4-1 for Beishekeev's score which remained till the clock expired. 

Another Iran wrestler was denied the gold medal as Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) defeated Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI) 2-1 at the 71kg final. Solovei was leading on criteria 1-1 but was struggling to match the pace of Abdevali in the final few seconds.

Abdevali tried to score via stepout in the final three seconds but was not awarded by the referee. Iran coaches challenged the call, claiming there was a clear stepout but the judge withheld the referee's call after the replay, giving the Moldovan wrestler the win.

Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA)Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) is the world champion at 71kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"Last time I lost to an Iran wrestler, but this time I was confident," Solovei said referring to his loss to Hojat REZAEI (IRI) at the 2019 cadet Worlds. "It's important to wrestle till the last second. Today I got the revenge. I am very happy to get the medal. I hope next year I'll get only the medals like this one."

Solovei has been training in wrestling for the last 10 years and aims to become the Olympic champion one day. "My father was a wrestler as well. He brought me to the sport when I was seven years old. Now I am training in the Olympic village and my biggest dream is to become an Olympic champion. Every day I am thinking only about that."

At 45kg, Ukraine added another gold after the one Saturday with cadet European silver medalist Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) denying Ozodbek KHALIMBOEV (UZB) at the 45kg weight. He snatched a close 2-1 win after scored a step out in the second period.

He was awarded passivity and led 1-0 but he failed to take advantage of the par terre position. In the seconds period, he scored a stepout with a minute and 18 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 2-0. Khalimboev was awarded point for Dementiev passivity with 34 seconds remaining. It was his chance to reverse the match but he failed to score any points on the par terre position.

Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR)Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) celebrates after winning the 45kg gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"I have been waiting for that belt and for this medal for so long." Dementiev said. "After the unsuccessful European Championships where I got the silver medal, I really wanted to become a champion."

Dementiev won the gold medal for Ukraine and said that while preparing for the final, he was trying to remain positive.

"I was thinking about how to make my parents and my coaches happy," he said. "I wanted to prove myself that I can win. My final match was a bit tough, but we made it. When I was in school, there were wrestling classes and I just decided to give it a try. Little be little I started training and now it's been 6 years."

It could have been two for them and the team title but 2021 cadet European champion Vladyslav LUB (UKR) suffered a shock defeat to cadet Euros bronze medalist Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR).

Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR)Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) avenged his cadet European loss to Vladyslav LUB (UKR) at the cadet Worlds on Sunday. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Lub's strategy for the 92kg final backfired when he was awarded the passivity in the first period. He thought he would be able to score from the par terre position but Khaslakhanau's defense proved to be too much.

On the other hand, the Belarusian scored a throw for two points from the par terre in the second period to avenge his loss from the cadet European tournament just a couple of months back.

"We have been working so hard to get this medal," Khaslakhanau, who began wrestling when he was in fifth grade, said. "But it's definitely worth it. I can't even describe my emotions, but believe me it's worth it."

In his preparation for the final, the Belarussian took some motivation from the ongoing Olympics in Tokyo to keep his mind off the match.

"I tried not to think about the match," he said. "We we walking and laughing together with the coach, we were watching the Olympics on TV. Then I just came here, and did what I was supposed to do."

Next week, he will cheering for the Belarus wrestling team as wrestling at Tokyo Olympics, which are already underway, begins from August 1. 

The cadet World Championships were the first Worlds to be held after 623 days, owing to the global health pandemic. Incidentally, the last World Championships – U23 – were also held in Budapest.

RESULTS GR Medal Bouts

45kg
GOLD: Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) df Ozodbek KHALIMBOEV (UZB), 2-1

BRONZE: Nurbolot BERDIKULOV (KGZ) df Ali AHMADI VAFA (IRI), 8-0
BRONZE: Anri KHOZREVANIDZE (GEO) df Amare FETENE (ISR), 5-0

51kg
GOLD: Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) df Yurii TOVT (UKR), 3-1

BRONZE: Rahman KARIMOV (AZE) df Hayk LYUDVIGYAN (ARM), 7-1
BRONZE: Malik GIGIEV (RUS) df Beso MAKHARADZE (GEO), 9-1

60kg
GOLD: Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) df Seyyedmostafa REZAEI DARYAKENARI (IRI), 4-1

BRONZE: SUMIT (IND) df Bagdat SABAZ (KAZ), 8-0
BRONZE: Rati KHOZREVANIDZE (GEO) df Azizbek YOLDOSHEV (UZB), via fall

71kg
GOLD: Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) df Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI), 2-1

BRONZE: Ruslan NURULLAYEV (AZE) df Tornike MIKELADZE (GEO), 3-1
BRONZE: Dimitar RACHEV (BUL) df Islam YEVLOYEV (KAZ), 9-0

92kg
GOLD: Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) df Vladyslav LUB (UKR), 3-1

BRONZE: Timur CHERNYSHEV (RUS) df Javlon TIRKASHEV (UZB), 11-3
BRONZE: Ali JALALI ABDOLVAND (IRI) df Harutyun KIRAKOSYAN (ARM), via fall