Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! January 28, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Shiraev shinning in win over Olympic Champ Ramonov at the Ivan Yariguin and Aleksanyan's return to competition. Also looking at entries for the African Championships (February 04-09) and the updated rankings after the Matteo Pellicone.

1. Youngster Shiraev Shines in Win over Olympic Champ Ramonov 
Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS) just showed the wrestling world that he has the potential to be Russia’s next up and coming star and is a serious contender to be his nation’s representative at 65kg at the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

The 20-year-old captured his first gold medal on the senior circuit after picking up massive wins over U23 world medalists Islam DUDAEV (RUS) and Nachyin KUULAR (RUS), before taking out Rio Olympic champion Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) in the 65kg finals.

Against Romanov, the baby faced Shiraev trailed 1-1 on criteria with under 10 seconds left when he struck late with a throw-by and got behind Romanov for the match-deciding takedown. But the pair went out of bounds, and with three seconds left in the match, Shiraev said he knew Ramonov had one last attack in him. “I was wrestling till the end, even for the last 3 seconds.” The 2019 junior world silver medalist stopped Ramonov’s bulldozing attack and gave up a stepout, and hung on to win Ivan Yariguin title, 4-2.

“I am happy. I could make my relatives happy; I could make all my supporters happy. Thanks a lot, to all of them,” Shiraev said after his surprising victory.

Meanwhile, Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) proved that he belongs in the discussion with Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) as Russia’s top guy at 74kg after winning the loaded bracket in Krasnoyarsk.

Gazimagomedov made his second appearance down at 74kg in the last 19 months and captured back-to-back Ivan Yariguin titles. The two-time 70kg world champion, made his ascent to 74kg starting at last year's Russian National Championships, nabbed a notable 10-0 win over 2014 world champion Khetig TSABOLOV (RUS), then edged reigning U23 world champion Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS), 3-1, in the finals.

“I was fine-tuned as it was time to declare myself for the Olympic Games. I hope that I will be taken to the European Championships,” Gazimagomedov said. “In Russia, many understand that I will win against Sidakov, but perhaps we will not be allowed to meet on the mat because we don’t have a very transparent selection system.” 

Ivan Yariguin Freestyle Results 
57kg – Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) df. Akhmed IDRISOV (RUS), 10-3
61kg – Aleksander BOGOMOEV df. Ramazan FERZALIEV, 11-5
65kg – Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS) df. Soslan RAMONOV, 4-2
70kg – Israil KASUMOV df. David BAEV, 5-5
74kg – Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Razambek ZHAMALOV, (RUS), 3-1
79kg – Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) df.  Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS), 1-1
86kg – Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) df. Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS), 2-1
92kg – Batyrbek TSAKULOV df. Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (RUS) 6-3
97kg – Bladislav BAITSAEV (RUS) df. Magomedkhan MAGOMEDOV (RUS), 6-5
125kg – Baldan TSYZHYPOV (RUS) df. Pavel KRIVTSOV (RUS), 14-6

Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (RUS) was one of five Russian women who won gold at the Ivan Yariguin. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Russia Wins Five Women’s Wrestling Golds at Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix
Unlike the freestyle side of the Ivan Yariguin where the Russian Federation swept the competition, the women’s gold medals were divvied up between Russia, Mongolia, Japan, and China. 

But, still, the Russian Federation inserted seven wrestlers into the finals and reached the top of the podium in five weight classes. 

Led by 55kg reigning world bronze medalist, Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (RUS), the host nation went a perfect four-for-four in gold-medal matches against Japanese opponents. Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS), Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS) and Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) were the other three Russian wrestlers who downed Japanese opponents on their way to winning gold in Siberia's central city.

Ksenia BURAKOVA (RUS) was the lone Russian gold-medal winner who didn't beat a Japanese opponent in the finals. She pinned Zhamila BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ) in their finals meeting at 72kg.

TSOGTOCHIR Namuuntsetseg (MGL), BAATARJAV Shoovdor (MGL) and KHURELKHUU Bolortuya (MGL) were the trio of Mongolian wrestlers who won women’s wrestling titles in Krasnoyarsk. They nabbed gold at 50kg, 59kg, and 62kg respectively.

Japan and China each had a solo gold medalist. 

Japan’s lone champion was Umi IMAI, who defeated ERDENECHIMEG Sumiya (MGL), 7-2, in the 53kg finals. China’s solo champion was WANG Juan (CHN), who picked up a 7-5 win over OCHIRBAT Burmaa (MGL) in the 76kg gold-medal match.

Ivan Yariguin Women’s Wrestling Results 
50kg – TSOGTOCHIR Namuuntsetseg (MGL) df. Nadeshda SOKOLOVA (RUS), 7-2
53kg – Umi IMAI (JPN) df. ERDENECHIMEG Sumiya (MGL), 7-2
57kg – Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS) df, Andoria SAWA (JPN), 8-4
59kg – BAATARJAV Shoovdor (MGL) df.  Khadizhat MURTAZALIEVA (RUS), 8-0
62kg – KHURELKHUU Bolortuya (MGL) df. ULZISAIKHAN Purevsuren (MGL), 5-5 
65kg – Maria KUZNETSOVA (RUS) df. My IMAI (JPN) , 8-0
68kg – Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) df. Rin MIYAJI (JPN), 12-2
72kg – Ksenia BURAKOVA (RUS) df. Zhamila BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ), via fall (4:46)
76kg – WANG Juan (CHN) df. OCHIRBAT Burmaa (MGL), 7-5

Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) returned to action for the first time since injury defaulting out of world finals in Kazakhstan. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Aleksanyan Returns from Injury, Wins Grand Prix de France Henri Deglane 
Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) returned to the mat for the first time since injury defaulting out the 97kg world finals in Nur-Sultan with an apparent rib injury and reached the top of the podium in France at the Henri Deglane. 

“I felt good about (my performance), taking into account that it was my first tournament back,” Aleksanyan told United World Wrestling. 

The three-time world and Rio Olympic champion went 4-0 on his way to the 97kg gold medal in Nice, France. He outscored Kevin MEJIA (HON) and Valerian MURVANIDZE (GEO) 18-0 in his first two matches and locked up a spot in semifinals. 

"The White Bear" scored a one-point (2-1) semifinal win over Aliaksandr HRABOVIK (BLR), then downed Orkhan NURIEV (AZE), 3-1, in the gold-medal match.

“It took a while to recover after my injury, but I feel much better now. This is why I decided to participate in Nice, so after that, I can participate in the European Championships,” said Aleksanyan. 

Greco-Roman Results 
55kg – Amangali BEKBOLATOV (KAZ) df. Rudik MKRTCHYAN (ARM)
60kg – Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) df. Amiran SHAVADZE (GEO), 9-0 
63kg - Levan KAVJARADZE (GEO) df. Kerim MACHALIKASHVILI, via default
67kg - Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) df. Giorgi SHOTADZE (GEO), 8-0 
72kg - Ulvu GANIZADEH (AZE) df. Sanan SULEYMANOV, 6-2 
77kg – Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ) df.  Karapet CHALYAN (ARM), 5-2 
82kg – Rafik HUSEYNOV (AZE) df. Aivengo RIKADZE (GEO), 2-1 
87kg – Kiril MASKEVICH (BLR) df. Nikolai STADUB (BLR), 8-1 
97kg – Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) df. Orkhan NURIEV (AZE), 3-1 
130kg – Sabah SHARIATI (AZE) df. Nurmakhan TINALIEV (KAZ), via default

Two-time U23 world champion Mohamed ELSAYED (EGY) is the headlining Greco-Roman athlete entered into the African Championships (February 04-09). (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

4. African Championships Begin Next Tuesday
We’re seven days out from the start first of three continental championships that’ll take place in February. The African Championships are up first and kick-off February 04-09 in Alger, Algeria. 

In total, 23 of last year’s 30 champions return to action looking to defend their crowns from a season ago. 

Second-ranked Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) headlines a group of nine women’s wrestling returning champions. 

Adama DIATTA (SEN), who is searching for his tenth African title, highlights a list of stars that includes eight reigning gold-medal winners.

Egypt’s pair of top-five ranked wrestlers, Mohamed ELSAYED and Abdellatif MOHAMED, are two of the six Greco-Roman wrestlers who are looking to win a second consecutive title.

The African Championships begin (with cadet and junior action) next Tuesday (February 4) at 10:30 local time and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org

Click HERE for the full set of entries for the 2020 African Championships.

Friday (February 7)
14:00 - Technical conference – all SENIOR teams

Saturday (February 8)
8:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in WW – GR / SENIOR
10:30 - Qualification rounds and repechage WW – GR / SENIOR
17: 00 - Finals WW – GR / SENIOR

Sunday (February 9)
8:30 - Medical examination and Weigh-in FS / SENIOR
10:30 - Qualification rounds FS / SENIOR
17:00 - Finals FS / SENIOR

Bajrang PUNIA (IND) inched his way closer to locking up a seed at the Olympic Games after winning the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

5. Updated Rankings Published on United World Wrestling Homepage
With the Olympic Games seeding the top-four ranked wrestlers at each weight, the rankings couldn't hold any more weight than they do in 2020. The first set of 2020 rankings, which combine points from the Nur-Sultan World Championships and Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event, have been published on the homepage of www.unitedworldwrestling.org. 

Full breakdowns of each style will be released this week: 
Wednesday: Freestyle 
Thursday: Greco-Roman 
Friday: Women’s Wrestling

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Big Move Monday -- Geraei M. (IRI) @aligaraii -- Senior Worlds 2019 #WrestleNursultan
2. Four-time world and Olympic champion @sadulaev_abdulrashid is only 14K followers away from becoming the FIRST wrestler with 1,000,000 @instagram followers! 
3. Best throws ✈ of 2020 Greco-Roman tournament 'Takhti Cup'
4. #ScoreThat: How would you score this exchange for 🔴 and 🔵?
5. #tbt Jordan Burroughs First World Championship!

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."