Ukraine Duo Cruise into Women’s Finals at European Jr C’ships

By William May

DORTMUND, Germany (June 30) – Returning champion Oksana LIVACH (UKR) and junior-level newcomer Alina AKOBIYA (UKR) stormed into the gold medal round on Friday, the final day of women’s events at the Junior European Wrestling Championships.

Livach, last year’s champion at 44kg, wrapped up three technical falls in a little over five minutes in the morning session and advanced to the 48kg final where she will face 2016 European cadet runner-up Annika ERSEL (GER).

Livach will be seeking her second junior continental crown and her fifth straight medal overall in major competition for wrestlers aged 18-20, She will also make her ninth straight trip to the podium at world and European age-group competitions since 2013.

Akobiya, meanwhile, wrapped up her first two opponents at 55kg with a pair of falls -- each in under 30 seconds -- and then flattened another 2015 cadet runner-up Alicja CZYZOWICZ (POL) at 3:49, after piling up a 10-0 lead.

Akobiya, seeking her first junior age-group title, will take on Viktoria VAULINA (RUS) in the 55kg final at Helmut Kornig Halle. Vaulina, a 2016 European junior bronze medal winner, blew past last year’s winner at 51kg Elena BRUGGER (GER) for her berth in the gold medal final.

Also, at 55kg, former cadet and junior world champion Leyla GURBANOVA (AZE) was tripped up, 4-1, in the quarterfinals by Czyzowicz and eliminated from competition when the Polish wrestler was pinned by Akobiya in the semifinals.

Another pre-tourney favorite Koumba LARROQUE (FRA), however, made it through to the gold medal final at 72kg, edging world and European junior bronze medalist Evgenia ANDREICHENKO (BLR), 2-0, on a pair of single tallies.

Larroque, seeking to return to the top of the podium after slipping to third at the senior European championships, will meet former cadet world and European Denise MAKOTA STROEM (SWE) in the final. Stroem, most recently, earned a bronze medal at the German Grand Prix for women at the beginning of June.

At 63kg, 2016 European junior bronze medalist Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS) advanced to the gold medal final with three technical falls, while Aleksandra WOLCZYNSKA (POL) – only ninth place at the 2015 European junior meet – flattened all three opponents she faced in the morning session to earn a berth in the gold medal final.

Medal Final Pairings & Semifinal Results

Women’s Wrestling

48kg (12 entries)
Gold – Lisa ERSEL (GER) v Oksana LIVACH (UKR)
Bronze – Anastasiya RAMANIUK (BLR) v Bianka RECZI (HUN)
Bronze – Aleksandra SKIRENKO (RUS) v Agata WALERZAK (POL)

Semifinal – Lisa ERSEL (GER) df. Bianka RECZI (HUN) by Fall, 3:39 (8-0)
Semifinal – Oksana LIVACH (UKR) df. Agata WALERZAK (POL) by TF, 11-0, 1:34

55kg (16 entries)
Gold – Viktoria VAULINA (RUS) v Alina AKOBIYA (UKR) 
Bronze – Jenna SIHTOLA (FIN) v Elena BRUGGER (GER)
Bronze – Darya SINKAVETS (BLR) v Alicja CZYZOWICZ (POL)

Semifinal – Viktoria VAULINA (RUS) df. Elena BRUGGER (GER), 12-4
Semifinal – Alina AKOBYA (UKR) df. Alicja CZYZOWICZ (POL) by Fall, 3:49 (10-0)

63kg (14 entries)
Gold – Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS) v Alexandra WOLCZYNSKA (POL)
Bronze – Elena ESPOSITO (ITA) v Gamze Nur ADAKAN (TUR)
Bronze – Olivia HENNINGSSON (SWE) v Yuliana YANEVA (BUL)

Semifinal – Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS) df. Gamze Nur ADAKAN (TUR) by TF, 10-0, 2:05
Semifinal – Alexandra WOLCZYNSKA (POL) df. Yuliana YANEVA (BUL) by Fall, 5:22 (8-0)

72kg (entries)
Gold – Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) df. Denise MAKOTA STROEM (SWE)
Bronze – Tugba KILIC (TUR) v Evgenia ANDREICHENKO (BLR)
Bronze – Daryna TUROVCHUK (UKR) v Eleni PJOLLAJ (ITA)

Semifinal – Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) df. Evgenia ANDREICHENKO (BLR), 2-0 
Semifinal – Denise MAKOTA STROEM (SWE) df. Eleni PJOLLAJ (ITA) by Fall, 2:24 (8-0)