Russia, Serbia Advance Two into Gold Medal Bouts to Close European U23's

By William May

WALBRZYCH, Poland (March 29) – Two-time junior world champion Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) will try for his first continental crown in three years as the curtain comes down on the Greco-Roman events in the inaugural European Under-23 Wrestling Champioships.

Semenov will be joined by World Cup teammate Artem SURKOV (RUS) in the gold medal bouts at Aqua Zdroj Sports Center on Sunday evening along with Serbian pair Viktor NEMES (75kg) and Vladimir STANKIC (85kg).

Semenov, who won the European cadet crown in 2012, has had to settle for bronze medals in the last two European junior meets. The 19-year-old Sparta Moscow wrestler will try to regain his continental cred against Mykola KUCHMII (UKR) in the 130kg final. 

Surkov, meanwhile, will attempt to go one better than his silver medal in the 2013 European junior meet when he goes up against Zagreb Open winner Dominik ETLINGER (CRO) in the 66kg final.

Paris Grand Prix winner Mateusz BERNATEK (POL), one of the pre-tourney favorites at 66kg, fell in the round of 16. Bernatek won the 2013 European junior crown with a win over Surkov.

Nemes, who broke his hand winning the Hungarian Grand Prix three weeks ago, notched three technical falls in the morning session to advance to the gold medal bout at 75kg.

But, he will have his hands full in the final with 2012 junior world champ Kazbek KILOV (BLR). Kilov opened the tourney with a 2-2 win on criteria over 2013 world champ Karapet CHALYAN (ARM) and then breezed into the finals with a pair of technical falls.

At 85kg, surprising Stankic, 12th at last year’s junior world meet, faces junior world silver medalist Denis KUDLA (GER). Kudla avenged a loss last year to junior world champ Islam ABBASOV (AZE) with 4-1 triumph in the quarterfinals.

Pairings for Sunday evening’s medal finals:

66kg (18 entries)
Gold - Artem SURKOV (RUS) v Dominik ETLINGER (CRO)
Bronze - Enes BASAR (TUR) v Otto LOSONCZI (HUN)
Bronze - Giorgi DAVITAIA (GEO) v Maxim MAMULAT (MDA)

75kg (18 entries)
Gold - Viktor NEMES (SRB) v Kazbek KILOV (BLR)
Bronze - Petru SEVCIUC (MDA) v Bogdan KOURINNOI (SWE)
Bronze - Karapet CHALYAN (ARM) v Bislan ASSAKALOV (RUS)

85kg (21 entries)
Gold - Vladimir STANKIC (SRB) v Denis KUDLA (GER)
Bronze - Hoha HAHNIDZE (BLR) v Krystian FORMELA (POL)
Bronze - Islam ABBASOV (AZE) v Nikolay DOBREV (BUL)

130kg (13 entries)
Gold - Mykola KUCHMII (UKR) v Sergey SEMENOV (RUS)
Bronze - Felix BALDAUF (NOR) v Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU)
Bronze - Alexandros PAPADATOS (GRE) v Christian JOHN (GER)