World and Olympic Champions Flock to Inaugural China Open

By Eric Olanowski

TAIYUAN, China (June 21) –Olympic champion WANG Jiao (CHN) and world champions Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) and Yuliia TKACH (UKR) are set to headline this weekend’s China Open, the third Ranking Series event of 2018 in women’s wrestling. 

Wang, the 2008 Olympic champion and two-time Olympian will make her return to the mat for the first time since the 2017 World Cup, while Tkach, the three-time Olympian and 2014 world champion will be making her second appearance of the year. 

Though Tkach missed the European Championships and has only competed once this season (finishing second at the Klippan Lady Open), she’s the heavy favorite to claim gold at 62kg.

“Ukraine missed the European Championships because they were in Russia, but we never stopped training,” said Tkach. “If we want to compete well at the World Championships, we have to get on the mat and wrestle.” 

2016 world champion Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) after her Meiji Cup win. (Photo by Sachiko Hotaka) 

Fresh off a Meiji Cup gold medal performance, 2016 world champion Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) will be competing alongside three top fifteen ranked wrestlers at 55kg -- one of the tournament’s toughest weight categories.

Two of the three top fifteen ranked wrestlers at this weight are medalists from the Asian championships, where fifth-ranked OH Hyemin (KOR) finished with a silver medal, and China’s eighth-ranked LUO Lannuan ended with the bronze. 

Two other wrestlers to pay attention to at weight are 2018 Ivan Yarygin champion QI Zhang (CHN) and Belarus’ Zalina SIDAKOVA (BUL), who is also ranked top fifteen in the world. 

Another stacked weight class to watch is 57kg. This weight class will feature three 2018 senior-level continental champions, a world bronze medalist, and four top twenty ranked athletes. 

China enters the duo of Asian champions, PEI Xingru (CHN) and RONG Ningning (CHN) who is down from 59kg. The third continental champion entered at this weight class is European champion, Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) who is up from 55kg. 

Other notable entries to keep an eye on at 57kg are 2018 U23 European Champion Aleksandra ANDREEVA (RUS) and 2015 world bronze medalist Tetyana KIT (UKR). 

The China Open is one of United World Wrestling’s four women’s ranking series events and holds the distinction as the only event created solely for the ranking series. Action starts Friday at 10am local time.

Friday (June 22) 

10:00 AM – Elimination rounds and repechage (WW 50, 53,55,57 and 59) 
18:00 PM – Opening ceremony 
18: 30 PM – Finals (WW 50, 53,55,57 and 59)

Saturday (June 23) 
10:00 AM – Elimination rounds and repechage (WW 62, 65 ,68, 72 and 76) 
17: 30 PM – Finals (WW 62, 65 ,68, 72 and 76)


World Champion Tkach Closes out China Open with First Gold of the Year

By Eric Olanowski

TAIYUAN, China (June 23) - Yuliia TKACH (UKR), the 2014 world champion improved on her second-place finish at the Klippan Lady Open, stopping China’s BAO Lingling (CHN), 4-1 in the 62kg finals to claim her first gold medal of the year. 

“I thought about the mistakes I made at the Klippan Lady Open and just wanted to win here. This is wrestling, and wrestling is my work and my life. I like wrestling and I’m happy that I took first place.” 

Tkach‘s lack of activity in the opening period of the finals put her in a 1-0 hole heading into the break. The three-time Olympian said, “I have to start wrestling if I want to win.” 

Last year's world runner-up got to work in the second period, scoring four points off a high crotch and a leg lace. “Overall, I thought I was aggressive. In the first period, not so much. But in the second period, I was go-go-go, and I was able to pick up the win.” 

At 68kg, fellow Ukranian Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) joined Tkach as a gold medalist after sticking Xiaoqian WANG (CHN) in the second China versus Ukraine match-up of the night.  


China wrapped up the final day of competition in Taiyuan with three gold medals, bringing their tournament total to four overall championship performances. 

TANG Chuying (CHN) captured the host nations first gold medal of the day, pummeling Mariia KUZNETSOVA (RUS), 11-0 in the 65kg finals.
In the first period, Tang led 1-0 before transitioning into two leg laces from a low-single. The Chinese wrestler held the 7-0 advantage heading into the final period. 

Tang closed out the match with a four-point throw, giving her an eleven-point technical superiority victory and China their second overall gold medal of the tournament. 

China's second gold medal went to WANG Juan (CHN) who won the 72kg Nordic tournament with four wins on the day, including a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Japan’s Masako FURUICHI (JPN). 

In the final bout of the tournament, Paliha PALIHA’s (CHN) second-period takedown helped her stop HUANG Yuanyuan (CHN), 3-1 in the all-China battle at 76kg, handing China their fourth gold medal of the tournament. 

GOLD – China (210 points)
SILVER – Russia (119 points)
BRONZE – Japan (110 points)
Fourth – Korea (90 points)
Fifth – Ukraine (65 points)

62kg (One bronze)
GOLD - Yulia TKACH (UKR) df. BAO Lingling (CHN), 4-1

BRONZE - CUI Fengfeng (CHN) df. HANG Jungwon (KOR), 5-1 

65kg (One bronze)
GOLD -  Chuying TANG (CHN) df. Mariia KUZNETSOVA (RUS), 11-0

BRONZE - Na LU (CHN) df. Miwa MORIKAWA (JPN), 6-4

68kg (One bronze)
GOLD - Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) df. WANG Xiaoqian (CHN), via fall 

BRONZE - QIN Suning (CHN) df. WANG Jiao (CHN), 12-2

72kg (One bronze)

76kg (One bronze)
GOLD - Paliha PALIHA (CHN) df. Yuanyuan HUANG (CHN), 3-1

BRONZE - Zsanett NEMETH (HUN) df. Eunju HWANG (KOR), 6-1