Russian Gold Rush Highlights First Day of European Juniors

By William May

ISTANBUL (June 23) – Nachyin KUULAR (RUS) scored the only technical fall of the evening for Russia, but the Yarygin Grand Prix runner-up and his three teammates walked away with all four gold medals on offer Tuesday night at the European junior wrestling championships.

But despite Kuular’s technical fall win over Selim KOZAN (TUR) in the 60kg final, the local fans had plenty to cheer in the silver medal won by Ahmet ERTURK (TUR) after he upset defending champion Tarzan MAISURADZE (GEO) in the 74kg semifinals and went one step higher on the medals podium than elder brother Murat ERTURK (TUR).

“I’m so happy to win this medal in the same weight category as my brother,” the younger Erturk said. “I hope I can win the gold medal (at the junior world championships) in Brazil.”

Elder brother Murat was beaming as widely as his younger brother as he was included in all of the photo requests.

“It (the silver medal) is so beautiful,” Murat said. “I won bronze medals last year at European juniors and junior worlds – and then again in March at the European under-23 championships, so a different colored medal is so nice to see.”

Murat added that he will move up a weight category to 86kg next year so he and his brother will be able to wrestle together on the same team at the senior level.

Also joining the Erturk brothers next year as a senior will be Kuular, who explained that he still wants to focus on his wrestling at the junior level.

“I have great coaches and teammates so I have been able to develop my wrestling as a cadet and junior,” said Kuular. “But, of course, my dream is to win at the Olympic Games.”

When asked about his cool confidence and style on the mat, Kuular explained that “The coaches have taught me some tactics, so when I move like I do it’s to psyche out my opponents.”

At the close of the 60kg final, Kuular had his opponent loaded up on his shoulders and then coolly dumped him to his back as a he dove out of bounds for a 13-2 win at 5:11.

Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Ismail GADZHIEV (RUS) kicked off the Russian gold rush in the 50kg final, even though Razmik MISAKYAN (ARM) stymied the super flexible Russian with his low-level attacks. Still, one clean double-leg midway through the second period, sealed a 4-2 win and the gold medal for Gadzhiev. 

At 74kg, former cadet world champion Artem UMAROV took no chances with Erturk, playing it cautious as he forged a 9-2 victory with textbook single-leg and double-leg attacks.

In the semifinals, defending champ Maisuradze allowed the match to get away from him and Erturk took the defending champion down with no time left on the clock for a 12-10 victory.

In Tuesday evening’s finale, Yuriy VLASKO (RUS) completed the sweep with a pair of inside trips for a 4-3 victory over Erik THIELE (GER), a 2013 European junior bronze medalist.
Freestyle wrestling continues at Bagcilar Sports Complex on Wednesday in categories 55, 66, 84 and 120kg.

50kg (13 entries)
Gold – Ismail GADZHIEV (RUS) df. Ramzik MISAKYAN (ARM), 4-2
Bronze – Viktor LYZEN (GER) df. Dmytro NESVYATSYPASKA (UKR), 4-3
Bronze – Roberti DINGASHVILI (GEO) df. Bekir SAHIN (TUR), 18-12

60kg (21 entries)
Gold – Nachyin KUULAR (RUS) df. Selim KOZAN (TUR) by TF, 13-2, 5:11
Bronze – Vurgun ALIEV (AZE) df. Dzhianis MAKSIMOV (BLR) by TF, 10-0, 5:39
Bronze – Dimitar IVANOV (BUL) df. Tomas BARASEVICIUS (LTU) by TF, 14-3, 5:03

74kg (18 entries)
Gold – Artem UMAROV (RUS) df. Ahmet ERTURK (TUR), 9-2
Bronze – Tarzan MAISURADZE (GEO) df. Aron CANEVA (ITA) by TF, 10-0, 3:33
Bronze – Murad SULEIMANOV (AZE) df. Suren KHACHATRYAN (ARM), 7-3

96kg (20 entries)
Gold – Yuriy VLASKO (RUS) df. Eric THIELE (GER), 4-3
Bronze – Jere HEINO (FIN) df. Turkhan GURBANOV (AZE), 2-1
Bronze – Dzanis KRAMIANKOV (BLR) df. Dmitri CECUSTA (MDA) by TF, 11-0, 2:23