#WrestleOslo: USA, Japan Put Three in WW Semifinals as Gray Eyes 6th Title
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 12:01 By Vinay Siwach
OSLO, Norway (October 5) -- Akari FUJINAMI (JPN) lived up to the hype. The 17-year-old from Japan outscored her opponents 21-0 in the two bouts and reached the semifinal of the 53kg weight class at the senior World Championships in Oslo, Norway.
The two-time cadet world champion defeated POOJA (IND) 11-0 and then former World Championships medalist Luisa VALVERDE MELENDRES (ECU) 10-0 in the quarterfinals. Her win took her to the semifinal and she will face Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) who defeated junior world champion Emma MALMGREN (SWE) via fall in the quarterfinal.
Fujinami's overall wrestling with defense and offense combined made it almost impossible for her opponents to score on her and ultimately giving up points. She won the All Japan Championships to book her ticket to Oslo. Japan's 53kg Tokyo Olympic champion Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) decided to sit out of the tournament.
The other final at 53kg will be between Khrystyna BEREZA (UKR) and Iulia LEORDA (MDA). Bereza defeated Zeynep YETGIL (TUR) 6-3 while Leorda overcame Samantha STEWART (CAN) 10-4.
Tokyo Olympic silver Adeline GRAY (USA) and fifth-place Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) are on course for a finals meeting after they reached their respective semifinals. Gray was once again in her elements as she won both her bouts on Tuesday via first-period fall. She beat KIRAN (IND) in the quarterfinals.
Medet Kyzy also took no time to move past Marina SUROVTSEVA (RWF) 10-0 and set up a meeting with Tokyo Olympian and European champion Epp MAEE (EST). The Kyrgyzstan wrestler wrestled Gray in the Olympic semifinal and lost 3-2 in a nail-biting finish.
Samar HAMZA (EGY) beat Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN) 4-2 to set up a semifinal against Gray. Hamza was trailing 2-2 on criteria but a pushout in the final three seconds gave her a point. Japan challenged the call but lost, adding one more point to Hamza's score.
Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) reached the 50kg semifinal. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)
Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) also remained on course for her second Worlds final as she leg-laced her way to the semifinal. Losa ERSEL (GER) tried to put up a challenge but the USA wrestler was too strong for her. She will wrestle Nadezhda SOKOLOVA (RWF) in the semifinal after the latter made short work of Hanny KUMARI (IND) in a 10-0 win.
In the other semifinal, two-time world silver medalist Emilia VUC (ROU) will face young star Remina YOSHIMOTO (JPN) who beat Otgonjargal DOLGORJAV (MGL) via fall. Vuc was up against Madison PARKS (CAN) and was in a bit of trouble early but then got a takedown and four exposures to win 13-3. A lost challenge from Canada added one more point to her score.
A third wrestler for USA reached the semifinal after Forrest MOLINARI managed to pull off a late takedown for a 3-3 criteria win over Koumba LARROQUE (FRA). The France wrestler led 3-1 going into the final ten seconds but was exposed to her back by the American to give up the lead.
Molinari will face Miwa MORIKAWA (JPN) in the semifinal after the Japan wrestler defeated Aina TEMIRTASSOVA (KAZ) 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
Junior world champion Irina RINGACI (MDA) was also in top form when she beat Malin MATTSSON (SWE) 6-2 and reached the semifinal against Tokyo Olympian Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL). The Bulgarian wrestler struggled a bit but finally overcame Asli DEMIR (TUR) 7-2.