Russia Claims Two More Crowns, Team Title on Day Two of European Juniors

By William May

ISTANBUL (June 24) – Russian wrestlers added two more individual crowns and grabbed the freestyle team title despite a challenge from host Turkey on Wednesday, the second day of the European junior wrestling championships.

Ibragim ILYASOV (55kg), winner of the prestigious Ziolkowski tourney in Poland last summer, notched his fifth win of the day inside the three-minute mark with an 11-0 drubbing of Salim NAIM MIKYAY (BUL) in the first gold medal final of the evening.

Copa Brazil winner Gadzhi RADZHABOV (84kg) added a second gold medal with a hard-fought 4-3 triumph over Mustafa SESSIZ (TUR) and Zelimkhan KHIZRIEV (120kg) added a bronze medal with a technical fall at heavyweight.

Russian team leader and former world champion Magomed AZIZOV was pleased with his team’s results and rather philosophical after a perfect first day that saw his wrestlers strike gold in all four weight categories.

“We, the coaches and wrestlers, all worked very hard for the results we saw these last two days,” said Azizov. “And, we can all be pleased with the results.”

“Of course, we would have liked to have won all of the gold medals, but this is sport, this is wrestling and we can’t all be champions,” said Azizov, who won his own world title in 1994 in Istanbul. “So, we are happy to have six champions.”

Russia won the team title with a total of 72 points, followed by Turkey with 62 points from one champion, four silver medals and a bronze. Azerbaijan was a distant third with 47 points, but bagged the final gold medal of the freestyle competition.

Said GAMIDOV (AZE), fifth place last year at 96kg, used quickness and an effective bear-hug to drop Yunus Emre DEDE (TUR) with a four-pointer on his way to a 14-3 technical fall – assigning Dede to his second straight silver medal at the European junior meet.

Dede’s loss was a bittersweet end to a day that began with such promise as Turkey advanced three wrestlers into the gold medal round and the fourth, Sezgin PISMICOGLU (55kg), to a bronze medal match.

Pismicoglu shook off a controversial loss in the quarterfinals to lead off the evening with a 10-8 win in the bronze medal final at 55kg.

“I’m happy with the bronze. I think I was maybe a little too excited in the quarterfinals (where he lost to Naim Mikyay, 15-10),” said Pismicoglu, adding “Next time, I want to win the gold medal and I will begin preparing for the world championships in Brazil right away.”

As Pismicoglu’s loss seemed to ignite his teammates in the morning session with all three advancing to the gold medal finals, his win in the evening appeared to be the spark for Turkey needed to mount a late rally.

In the 66kg final, Enes USLU (TUR) wrestled an extremely tactical match with 2014 bronze medal winner Surkho RASHITKHANOV (BLR) and blocked a late chest-to-chest throw attempt for four points and a 5-2 victory.

But, the rally ended there as Sessiz and Dede each had to settle for silver medals.

Competition at Bagsilar Sports Complex continues Thursday with the first day of women’s wrestling at 44, 51, 59 and 67kg.

Wednesday evening’s medal matches:

55kg (18 entries)
Gold – Ibragim ILYASOV (RUS) df. Salim NAIM MIKYAY (BUL) by TF, 11-0, 2:51
Bronze – Sezgin PISMICOGLU (TUR) df. Andrii YATSENKO (UKR), 10-8
Bronze – Igor CHICHIOI (MDA) df. Grand KARAPETJAN (ESP), 8-1

66kg (23 entries)
Gold – Enes USLU (TUR) df. Surkho RASHITKHANOV (BLR), 5-2
Bronze – Vasyl MIKHAILOV (UKR) df. Valentin SANFRATELLO (FRA) by TF, 10-0, 0:58
Bronze – Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) df. Teymur MAMMADOV (AZE) by TF, 13-2, 5:35

84kg (16 entries)
Gold – Gadzhi RADZHABOV (RUS) df. Mustafa SESSIZ (TUR), 4-3
Bronze – Ghadzhimurad MAGOMEDSAIDOV (AZE) df. Krzysztof SADOWIK (POL) by TF, 11-0, 2:16
Bronze – Giorgi CHKHARTISHVILI (GEO) df. Benjamin OPITZ (GER) by TF, 11-1, 4:23

120kg (9 entries)
Gold – Said GAMIDOV (AZE) df. Yunus Emre DEDE (TUR) by TF, 14-3, 4:19
Bronze – Vitali PESNIAK (BLR) df. Aslan MAHMUDOV (GER), 4-1
Bronze – Zelimkhan KHIZRIEV (RUS) df. Yaroslav PONOMARENKO (UKR) by TF, 12-1, 3:33