Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! February 12, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing the Freestyle World Cup draws and Kazakhstan's National Championships. Also looking at results from the Zagreb Open and how they changed the Greco-Roman rankings.

1. Wrestling Announces Groups for 2019 Freestyle World Cup

United World Wrestling has announced the draw for the 2019 Freestyle World Cup in Yakutia, Russia. The annual dual-meet event is a highlight of the international wrestling calendar and features the top eight teams from the 2018 World Championships in Budapest. 

The UWW executive board determined this week that all World Cup competitions, including the Greco-Roman and Women’s World Cup, should follow the same competition format for placement of teams in their respective pools, or groups. With the new system, the No. 1 team will be paired with the No.4, No.5, and No.8 teams from the world championships. 

The No.2 team will in a group with the No.3, No.6, and No.7.

The groups for the 2019 Freestyle World Cup:

Group A - RUS (1), CUB (4), JPN (5), TUR (8)
Group B - USA (2), GEO (3), IRI (6), MGL (7)

Kerem KAMAL, two-time junior world champion, led Turkey to the Zagreb Open team title with his 60kg gold-medal performance. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

2. First GR Ranking Series Event, Zagreb Open Concludes in Croatia

The first Greco-Roman Ranking Series event of the year, the Zagreb Open, wrapped up in Croatia, and Turkey captured the team title with their solo champion Kerem KAMAL (TUR) and three runner-ups. They finished 31 points ahead of second place Uzbekistan, who had two champions, and one second-place finisher. 

Croatia’s hometown wrestler Bozo STARCEVIC capped off his impressive run to a fifth consecutive Zagreb Open title with a tactical 2-1 victory over Turkey’s Yunus BASAR in the 77kg finals.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Daniel ALEKSANDROV and Russia’s Ilia BORISOV knocked off reigning world runner-up’s Emrah KUS (TUR) and Kiril MILOV (BUL) respectively to with their first Zagreb Open titles.

Daniel Aleksandrov erased a 7-0 opening-period deficit and scored eight unanswered points in the final period to upend returning world runner-up Emrah KUS (TUR), 8-7, in the 82kg Zagreb Open gold-medal bout.

In the 97kg finals, Ilia Borisov also knocked off a returning Budapest world champion to win his Zagreb Open title. Borisov, the lone Russian finalist, tossed around returning world runner-up Kiril MILOV (BUL) with ease and scored the 9-0 technical superiority victory in the opening period.

Click HERE for a full recap of the Zagreb Open.

Team Scores
GOLD - Turkey (132 points) 
SILVER - Uzbekistan (101 points) 
BRONZE - Croatia (91 points) 
Fourth - Bulgaria (85 points) 
Fifth - Hungary (83 points) 

55kg (Round-Robin) 
GOLD -   Poya Soulat DAD MARZ (IRI) 
BRONZE - Alexandru Vasile BOTEZ (ROU)

60kg - Kerem KAMAL (TUR) df. Milad Ali REZANEZHAD (IRI), 9-3
63kg - Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. Xavier JOHNSON (USA), 10-2 
67kg - Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) df. Mihai Radu MIHUT (ROU), 4-1 
72kg - Robert Attila FRITSCH (HUN)  df. Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO), via injury default
77kg - Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO) df. Yunus BASAR (TUR), 2-1 
82kg - Daniel ALEKSANDROV (BUL) df. Emrah KUS (TUR), 8-7
87kg - Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) df. Kristoffer Zakarias BERG (SWE), 3-1 
97kg - Ilia BORISOV (RUS) df.  Kiril Milenov MILOV (BUL), 9-0 
130kg - Oskar MARVIK (NOR) df. Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) , 1-0 

3. Kazakhstan National Championships 

Kazakhstan, the host nation for this year’s 2019 Astana World Championships, wrapped up their National Championships in freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women’s wrestling last weekend. 

In freestyle, six of Kazakhstan’s 2018 world representatives captured a medal at last weekend’s Nationals Championships, but only Daulet NIYAZBEKOV and Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV walked away with gold medals. The other five wrestlers who competed in Budapest all took home bronze medals. 

Also of note, two of Kazakhstan’s most successful wrestlers from last season, Nurislam SANAYEV and Zhandos ISMAILOV sat out of the competition due to injury. 

Sanayev was last year’s world team representative at the Budapest World Championships, where he fell to Russia’s Zaur UGUEV in the 57kg gold-medal bout. Sanayev also had success at the Asian Championships a season ago, capturing the gold medal, though that title-winning performance came at 61kg. 

Kazakhstan’s 57kg Asian Championship bronze medalist Zhandos Ismailov sat this weekend due to injury. 

Both of these guys were expected to compete for the 61kg title. Instead, it was Kazakhstan’s U23 world representative Bauirzhan TOREBEK who grabbed the gold medal. 

Though a win last weekend puts most of the championship wrestlers into the continental championships, it does not guarantee them a spot on the 2019 Astana World Championship team. That decision won't come after several international tournaments.

Freestyle Results 

GOLD - Meirambek KARTBAY 

GOLD-  Bauirzhan TOREBEK 
BRONZE - Vladidmir KUDRIN 


70 kg

74 kg

79 kg


86 kg

92 kg

97 kg
BRONZE - Bakhitkhanov SERIK 


*Kazakhstan's 2018 national team members listed in bold. 

Click HERE to review Kazahkstan's Greco-Roman and women's wrestling results. 

4. Vlasov and Staebler Train Together in Sochi

The Russian Federation welcomed teams from Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, and Uzbekistan, to attend their first training camp of the 2019 season in Russia’s Olympic host city of Sochi. 

The camp in Sochi brought together two Greco-Roman superstars in two-time Olympic champion Roman VLASOV (RUS) and three-time world champion Frank STAEBLER (GER), who was a part of a German squad that brought ten wrestlers to train with Russia’s No. 1 Greco-Roman National Team. 

Staebler told United World Wrestling that a highlight of the camp was training with Vlasov. “It’s been very hard, but great fun and we both learn from each other and get stronger together. Staebler hopes to one day return to Russia to train, saying, “There’s a great respectful friendship between Germany and Russia, and I hope we can return as soon as possible.” 

Staebler, who trained out of a barn for the finals three months leading up to Budapest after he got kicked out of his previous gym, reflected on how improbable his run to a third world title was. The German said he now realizes “How incredible it is that I’ve achieved what I have with my opportunities in Germany. My options compared to what Russia has are ridiculous. Thus, I learned to be even more proud of my German success.” 

Oskar MARVIK (NOR) won the 125kg title at the Zagreb Open and moved up to No. 4 in the rankings. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan) 

5. New Greco-Roman Rankings Released 

The first set of updated Greco-Roman rankings have been updated after the Zagreb Open and are up on United World Wrestling’s homepage. 

The biggest movers in the first set of Greco-Roman rankings were: 

55kg - Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) takes sole ownership of the No. 3 spot after a runner-up finish at the Zagreb Open. Ozturk now has 37 points after the Zagreb Open and fifth place finish at the world championships. 

67kg - Danijel JANECIC (CRO) leaps Budapest bronze medalists Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) (25 points) and Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) (25 points) with his fifth-place finish at the Zagreb Open. He now has 30 points. 

72kg - Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL) was tied with fellow world bronze medalist Rasul CHUNAYEV (AZE) for the third spot with 25 points, but broke that tie with his bronze-medal finish at the Zagreb Open. MNatsakanian now has 39 points. 

77kg - KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) took possession of the No. 3 ranking with his third-place finish at the Zagreb Open. Kim has 37 points. 

125kg - Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI) and Oskar MARVIK (NOR) moved up to the third and fourth spot after being eighth and tenth respectively. Marvik won the gold medal, while Acosta finished in third place. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Big Move Monday -- RUBAEV G. (MDA) -- 2018 Dan Kolov
2. Here are some of our favorite shots of @kadircaliskan ‘s from the #Zagreb2019
3. Two time World Champion Geno Petriashvili training with the national team in the mountains of Bakuriani @petro700
4. Images from the historic wrestling room in Gori, Georgia.
5. Best match of FR Takhti Cup- 79kg final: Bahman Teymouri (IRI) df. Jabrayil Hasanov (AZE), 6-4

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! March 17, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Valencia Escoto and Destribats' historic performances at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifiers. Also looking at Cuba's GR team qualifying every weight for #Tokyo2020 and Olympic champs Maroulis and Wiebe qualifying their nation's for the Tokyo Games.

1. Valencia Escoto First Mexican Woman to Qualify for Olympic Games
Alma Jane VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) became the first-ever Mexican women's wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games after winning the 57kg gold medal at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. She won all four of her bouts in Ottawa – including a win by fall over world champion Linda MORAIS (CAN) and a victory via forfeit over Helen MAROULIS (USA).

Valencia Escoto opened her day up with a pair of decisive wins over Betzabeth SARCO COLMENAREZ (VEN) and Nes RODRIGUEZ TIRADO (PUR), which inserted her into the semifinals against Canada's reigning world champion, Linda Morais. 

In her semifinals meeting with the current 59kg world-title holder, Valencia Escoto stopped an early open double-leg attempt with a counter-offensive throw. She snuck in an underhook on the Canadian's right side during her shot attempt and tossed her to her back for the early 4-0 lead. 

Valencia Escoto's opponenet fought off her back and nearly scored a takedown of a slide by attempt. Still, somehow, the newly-minted Olympian had the world champion fighting off her back for the second time in the opening period. 

The tides turned quickly, and Valencia Escoto was the one fighting off her back. She got saved by the period-ending whistle and carried the 6-2 lead into the closing period.

In the final period, Valencia Escoto halted a left side high crotch attempt and flattened Morais for the fall – becoming the first-ever Mexican women to wrestle at the Olympic Games.

Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) finished in second place at 65kg at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier and qualified Argentina for the Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Destribats Ends 24-year Argentinean Freestyle Olympic Drought
Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) ended a 24-year Argentinean freestyle Olympic drought and qualified his nation for the Tokyo Olympics after he pinned American Zain RETHERFORD (USA) in the 65kg semifinals. With his semifinal victory via fall, Destribats became the first Argentinean freestyle wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games since Paulo IBIRE (ARG) did so at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In his meeting with the Retherford, Destribats conceded an open double leg and nearly gave up an ankle lace but was able to fend off the turn and catch the American on his back. He held Retherford on his back for 25 seconds before picking up the opening period fall to secure his spot at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Helen MAROULIS (USA) qualified the United States for the Olympic Games at 57kg with her silver-medal finish at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Olympic Champs Maroulis and Wiebe Qualify Nation's for Olympic Games 
Olympic champions Helen MAROULIS (USA) and Erica WIEBE (CAN) qualified their nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing in the top-two of their respective weights at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. The pair remained on course to defend their gold medals from the Rio Olympic Games. 

Maroulis, who was wrestling in her first international competition since the 2018 World Championships, won four matches before injury defaulting out of the finals after locking up the United States' spot at 57kg for the Olympics.

In her first match, Maroulis easily handled Canada's Linda Morias, 10-2, in the battle of Olympic champion and world champion. 

Maroulis defeated Giullia RODRIGUES (BRA) and Lissette ANTES (ECU) in the next two rounds and was one win away from earning a second berth to the Olympic Games for the United States. 

In the semifinals, Maroulis crushed Nes RODRIGUEZ (PUR), 10-0, and qualified the Stars and Stripes for the Olympic Games at 57kg. 

She'll now have to win the Olympic Trials to become the United States' Olympic representative at 57kg.

Canada's Erica Wiebe was the second Olympic champion who qualified for the Olympic Games over the weekend. Wiebe, who was wrestling in her hometown of Ottawa, won the 76kg bracket and locked up her shot at repeating as Olympic champion. 

She opened up her day with a narrow 2-1 win over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). She tacked on dominant wins over Milaimys de la Caridad MARIN POTRILLE (CUB) and Andrimar LAZARO (VEN), setting up a semifinals match with Genesis REASCO (ECU).

Wiebe shutout Reasco Valdez, 6-0, in their semifinals meeting and earned her berth to the Olympic Games. She injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match against Aline Da Silva Ferreira and finished with a silver medal.

Wiebe won the Canadian Wrestling Trails in December and will represent Canada at 76kg at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) is one of six Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers who will wrestle at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo) 

4. Cuba Sending All Six GR Wrestlers to Olympics 
Cuba’s Greco-Roman team came into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier searching for four qualification spots after earning two Olympic berths from the Nur-Sultan World Championships from Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB). Over the weekend, they had three wrestlers win gold medals and one individual finish in second place at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier – which took their qualification total to all six weight categories. 

Their three champions were Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB), Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) and Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB), while Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) finished in second place.

In addition to their Greco-Roman success, Cuba's women's wrestling team also shined in Ottawa. 

Coming into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier, Katherine VIDIAUX (CUB) was the lone Cuban woman who ever wrestled at the Olympic Games. She'll now be joined in the history books by Lianna MONTERO (CUB) and Yusneylis GUZMAN (CUB), who won gold medals at 50kg and 53kg, respectively, and qualified for the Olympic Games. 

Greco-Roman Qualifying Weights/Athletes
60kg - Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold 
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – World Championships gold 
77kg - Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
87kg - Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier silver
97kg - Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) World Championships silver

5. European, World 'Last Chance' Olympic Qualifiers Postponed
The European Qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for March 19-22 in Budapest, along with the World "Last Chance" Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for April 30-May 3, have been postponed.

The events will be rescheduled, with the European Qualifier expected to take place in mid-May and the World "Last Chance" Qualifier held at the beginning of June.

"We are closely monitoring the governmental response to COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates to our wrestlers, coaches, and fans with more information as it becomes available," said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic.

"The process for determining our Olympic participants will happen on the field of play, but we need to remain patient and vigilant as the worldwide community battles this pandemic. The health and well-being of the athletes is an absolute priority."