February Rankings, United World Wrestling, Women's Wrestling, Icho, Zhou, Vorobieva, Maroulis, Gray

Zhou Takes Over No.1 at 69kg, Icho Still Atop 58kg in Women’s Rankings

By William May

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY (February 3) – World silver medalist ZHOU Feng (CHN) emerged the new leader at 69kg in the first United World Wrestling rankings for women’s wrestling in 2016.

Zhou took over the top spot after an upset loss by world champion Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games test event, which featured some of the top female wrestlers in the world.

Zhou defeated former junior world champion Dorothy YEATS (CAN) in the light heavyweight final by technical fall after the Pan American Games gold medalist defeated Vorobieva in the opening round.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, another world champion also stumbled, but still remains on top of her weight category in this month’s rankings.

Three-time Olympic Games gold medalist Kaori ICHO (JPN), who had won 189 matches in a row following her last loss in 2003, was stunned in the 58kg final at the Yarygin Grand Prix tourney in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Unranked PUREVDORJ Orkhon (MGL), who wrestles most frequently at 55kg, had an answer for all of Icho’s attacks and ended up with a technical fall over the 10-time world champion. 

Despite the loss, Icho remains in control of 58kg – at least, for the time being -- since there were no challengers in the rankings in a position to take up the mantle.

A challenge, however, was issued to three-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) by Erica WIEBE (CAN), who had pinned 2013 world champion ZHANG Fengliu (CHN) in the semifinals at 75kg in Rio.

Gray defeated a pair of silver medal winners from the previous world championships in Aline FERREIRA (BRA) in the quarterfinals and ZHOU Qian (CHN) in the semifinals before edging Wiebe, 7-4, in the final.
Wrestlers in the rankings are listed by name, country code, most notable or most recent result over the last 12 months, and their position in the previous rankings.

48kg – 2013 world champion SUN Yanan (CHN) took an injury default from Valentina ISLAMOVA (RUS) to climb to No.3 in the rankings while Asia champion Yuki IRIE (JPN) won her second Yarygin Grand Prix by fall over Nadezhda FEDOROVA (RUS) to break into the rankings at No.8.

1. Eri TOSAKA (JPN) – World No.1 (1)
2. Mariya STADNYK (AZE) – World No.2 (2)
3. SUN Yanan (CHN) – Rio Test Event No.1 (7)
4. Valentina ISLAMOVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.2 (4)
5. Genevieve MORRISON (CAN) – World No.3 (3)
6. Jessica BLASZKA (NED) – World No.3 (5)
7. Li Hui (CHN) – World No.5 (6)
8. Yuki IRIE (JPN) – Yarygin Grand Prix No.1 (Not ranked)
9. Carolina CASTILLO HIDALGO (COL) – Paris GP No.3 (11)
10. Patricia BERMUDEZ (ARG) – Dan Kolov No.1 (nr)
11. Natalya PULKOVSKA (UKR) – Dan Kolov No.2 (9)
12. Alyssa LAMPE (USA) – Rio Test No.3 (12)
13. Nadezhda FEDOROVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
14. Yu MIYAHARA (JPN) – World Cup No.2 (8)
15. Tatyana AMANZHOL (KAZ) – Asia No.3 (10)
16. Anna LUKASIAK (POL) – Paris GP No.1 (nr)
17. Jasmine MIAN (CAN) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)
18. ERDENESUKH Narangerel (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (18)
19. Iwona MATKOWSKA (POL) – GGP Final No.3 (16)
20. Elitsa YANKOVA (BUL) – European Games No.2 (14)

53kg – European Games silver medalist Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) got a boost to No.7 with her victory at the Grand Prix of Paris while Lyubov SALNIKOVA (RUS) thumped former world champion Chiho HAMADA (JPN) at the Yarygin Grand Prix as both wrestlers vaulted to No.8 and No.9 in the rankings.

1. Saori YOSHIDA (JPN) – World No.1 (1)
2. Sofia MATTSSON (SWE) – World No.2 (2)
3. Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) – World No.3 (3)
4. ZHONG Xuechun (CHN) – Rio Test No.1 (4)
5. JONG Myong-Suk (PRK) – World No.3 (5)
6. Angela DOROGAN (AZE) – European Games No.1 (6)
7. Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) – Paris GP No.1 (13)
8. Lyubov SALNIKOV (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.1 (nr)
9. Chiho HAMADA (JPN) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
10. Nadeshda SHUSHKO (BLR) – Paris GP No.3 (9)
11. Maria GUROVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
12. ERDENECHIMEG Sumiya (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
13. Whitney CONDER (USA) – Pan Am Games No.1 (13)
14. Nina HEMMER (GER) – German GP No.2 (8)
15. Karima SANCHEZ RAMIS (ESP) – Paris GP No.3 (10)
16. Natalia BUDU (MDA) – Dan Kolov No.2 (19)
17. Betzabeth ARGUELLO (VEN) – Paris GP No.2 (20)
18. Maria PREVOLARAKI (GRE) – Dan Kolov No.1 (nr)
19. Alma VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) – Pan Am Games No.2 (14)
20. Natalya MALYSHEVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)

55kg – Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) upset teammate Katsiaryna HANCHAR (BLR) in the final of the Paris Grand Prix to climb seven rungs to No.11 in the ranking. Nadeshda TRETYAKOVA (RUS) toppled Asia champion Anri KIMURA (JPN) at the Yarygin Grand Prix to join the rankings at No.12

1. Helen MAROULIS (USA) – World No.1 (1)
2. Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS) – World No.2 (2)
3. Evelina NIKOLOVA (BUL) – World No.3 (3)
4. Tatyana KIT (UKR) – World No.3 (4)
5. Katsiaryna HANCHAR (BLR) – Paris GP No.2 (5)
6. PANG Qianyu (CHN) – Spanish GP No.3 (6)
7. Natalya SINISHIN (AZE) – European Games No.3 (7)
8. PUREVDORJ Orkhon (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.1 (nr)
9. Marwa AMRI (TUN) – Poland Open No.1 (8)
10. Anri KIMURA (JPN) – Asia No.1 (9)
11. Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) – Paris GP No.1 (18)
12. Nadeshda TRETYAKOVA (RUS) – Yarygin No.1 (nr)
13. Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE) – European U23 No.1 (12)
14. Bediha GUN (TUR) – European U23 No.5 (13)
15. HAN Kum-Ok (PRK) – Asia No.2 (14)
16. SUNDEV Byambatseren (MGL) – World Cup No.3 (10)
17. Hikari SUGAWARA (JPN) – GGP Final No.3 (15)
18. JONG In-Sun (PRK) – GGP Final No.3 (16)
19. Aishan ISMAGULOVA (KAZ) – Medved Prizes No.3 (17)
20. Viktoria SHULGINA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)

58kg – 2014 European bronze medalist Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) rallied for her first Dan Kolov title after three years as runner-up to climb to No.8 in the rankings, while LI Qian joins the rankings at No.13 with a runner-up in the Rio test event.
1. Kaori ICHO (JPN) – World No.1 (1)
2. Petra OLLI (FIN) – World No.2 (2)
3. Elif Jale YESILIRMAK (TUR) – World No.3 (3)
4. Johanna MATTSSON (SWE) – GGP Final No.3 (5)
5. Aiym ABDILDINA (KAZ) – GGP Final No.3 (8)
6. Yulia RATKEVICH (AZE) – World No.3 (4)
7. Jackeline RENTERIA CASTILLO (COL) – Medved Prizes No.1 (6)
8. Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.1 (12)
9. Marianna SASTIN (HUN) – Poland Open No.2 (8)
10. Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) – GGP Final No.2 (9)
11. Lissette ANTES CASTILLO (ECU) – Pan Am Games No.3 (10)
12. Grace BULLEN (NOR) – European Games No.3 (11)
13. LI Qian (CHN) – Rio Test No.2 (nr)
14. Michelle FAZZARI (CAN) – Rio Test No.3 (16)
15. BAATARJAV Shoovdor (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (20)
16. Anastassia HUCHOK (BLR) – Poland Open No.1 (13)
17. Tatyana LAVRENCHUK (UKR) – European Games No.2 (14)
18. Lyubov OVCHAROVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)
19. Allison RAGAN (USA) – GGP Final No.2 (15)
20. ZHOU Zhangting (CHN) – Spanish GP No.3 (17)

60kg – Dzhanan MANOLOVA (BUL) won all three bouts in a round-robin tournament at Dan Kolov for the title, while 2014 world champion SUKHEE Tserenchimed (MGL) rebounded from a first-round loss to Kaori ICHO (JPN) for a bronze medal.
1. Oksana HERHEL (UKR) – World No.1 (1)
2. Dzhanan MANOLOVA (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.1 (2)
3. SUKHEE Tserenchimed (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.3 (3)
4. Irina NETREBA (AZE) – Poland Open No.3 (4)
5. Leigh JAYNES (USA) – World No.3 (5)
6. Emese BARKA (HUN) – European Games No.1 (6)
7. LUO Xiaojuan (CHN) – GGP Final No.1 (7)
8. Veranika IVANOVA (BLR) – European Games No.3 (8)
9. Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS) – European Games No.2 (9)
10. Yulia PRONTSEVICH (RUS) – Yarygin No.1 (nr)
11. Ayaulaylm KASYMOVA (KAZ) – Yarygin No.2 (nr)
12. Victoria BOBEVA (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.3 (11)
13. SUN Yazhen (CHN) – Spanish GP No.3 (10)
14. Natalya FEDOSEEVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
15. Therese PERSSON (SWE) – German GP No.2 (12)
16. Hafize SAHIN (TUR) – European U23 No.3 (13)
17. Jennifer PAGE (USA) – Pan Am No.1 (14)
18. Breanne GRAHAM (CAN) – Pan Am No.2 (15)
19. Kanako MURATA (JPN) – Asia No.2 (16)
20. Yukako KAWAI (JPN) – GGP Final No.3 (17)

63kg – 2014 world champion Yulia TKACH (UKR) appears to have regained form, winning her first title in nearly one year at the Dan Kolov tourney for No.3 in the rankings. Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT) won at the Schultz Memorial for No.4 while Maria MAMASHUK (BLR) won in Paris for No.6.

1. SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg (MGL) – World No.1 (1)
2. Risako KAWAI (JPN) – World No.2 (2)
3. Yulia TKACH (UKR) – Dan Kolov No.1 (5)
4. Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT) – Schultz Memorial No.1 (4)
5. Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) – Dan Kolov No.2 (3)
6. Maria MAMASHUK (BLR) – Paris GP No.1 (7)
7. Braxton STONE (CAN) – Pan Am Games No.1 (6)
8. Valeria LAZINSKAYA (RUS) – European Games No.1 (8)
9. Katherine VIDIAUX LOPEZ (CUB) - Pan Am Games No.2 (9)
10. Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) – Rio Test No.1 (nr)
11. WANG Xiaoqian (CHN) – Rio Test No.2 (nr)
12. Inna TRAZHUKOVA (RUS) – Yarygin No.1 (nr)
13. Monica MICHALIK (POL) – Paris GP No.2 (15)
14. Ayaka ITO (JPN) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
15. Ekaterina LARIONOVA (KAZ) – Yarygin GP No.3 (11)
16. XILUO Zhuoma (CHN) – Asia No.1 (12)
17. Henna JOHANSSON (SWE) – German GP No.1 (13)
18. Nadeshda MUSHKA (AZE) – Poland Open No.2 (14)
19. Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) – All-Africa Games No.1 (16)
20. Erin CLODGO (USA) – Pan Am Games No.3 (17)

69kg – Two of the most recent world champions won events in January – Aline FOCKEN (GER) in Paris and Alina MAKHINYA (UKR) at the Dan Kolov tourney in Sofia – as the last four world champions crowd into the Top Five of the light heavyweight rankings.

1. ZHOU Feng (CHN) – Rio Test No.1 (4)
2. Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) – Rio Test No.3 (1)
3. Aline FOCKEN (GER) – Paris GP No.1 (3)
4. Jenny FRANSSON (SWE) – GGP Final No.2 (2)
5. Alina MAKHINYA (UKR) – European Games No.1 (7)
6. Sara DOSHO (JPN) – World No.3 (5)
7. Dorothy YEATS (CAN) – Rio Test No.2 (9)
8. Elena PIROZHKOVA (USA) – GGP Final No.1 (12)
9. OCHIRBAT Nasanburmaa (MGL) – Poland Open No.1 (8)
10. Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) – Yarygin GP No.1 (11)
11. Agnieszka WIESZCZEK-KORDUS (POL) – Paris GP No.2 (8)
12. Ilana KRATYSH (ISR) – European Games No.2 (12)
13. Dalma CANEVA (ITA) – Yarygin GP No.2 (15)
14. Maria ACOSTA (VEN) – Paris GP No.3 (18)
15. Martina KUENZ (AUT) – German GP No.2 (13)
16. Enass MOUSTAFA (EGY) – All-Africa Games No.1 (14)
17. Tamyra MENSAH (USA) – Rio Test No.3 (nr)
18. Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) – Dan Kolov No.2 (nr)
19. Darima SANZHEEVA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.3 (nr)
20. Leah FERGUSON (CAN) – German GP No.3 (16)

75kg – European U23 champion Daria OSOCKA (POL) won the Grand Prix of Paris crown and veteran Svetlana SAENKO (MDA) took the Dan Kolov crown in Sofia to edge up slightly in the rankings at 12th and 13th, respectively.

1. Adeline GRAY (USA) – World No.1 (1)
2. Epp MAE (EST) – GGP Final No.1 (2)
3. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) – World No.3 (4)
4. Erica WIEBE (CAN) – Rio Test No.2 (5)
5. Aline FERREIRA (BRA) – Rio Test No.3 (6)
6. ZHOU Qian (CHN) – World No.2 (3)
7. Andrea OLAYA GUITIERREZ (COL) – Paris GP No.3 (7)
8. ZHANG Fengliu (CHN) – Rio Test No.3 (11)
9. Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS) – European Games No.2 (8)
10. Hiroe SUZUKI (JPN) – Asia No.1 (10)
11. Justina DISTACIO (CAN) – Pan Am Games No.2 (9)
12. Daria OSOCKA (POL) – Paris GP No.1 (13)
13. Svetlana SAENKO (MDA) – Dan Kolov No.1 (15)
14. Lisset HECHEVARRIA (CUB) – Pan Am Games No.3 (12)
15. Maider UNDA (ESP) – European Games No.3 (14)
16. BADRAKH Odonchimeg (MGL) – Yarygin GP No.1 (nr)
17. Alena PEREPELKINA (RUS) – Yarygin GP No.2 (nr)
18. Yasemin ADAR (TUR) – Poland Open No.1 (16)
19. Guzel MANYUROVA (KAZ) – Spanish GP No.2 (17)
20. OCHIRBAT Burmaa (MGL) – Yarygin No.3 (nr)


Egypt rides on four golds to win African Championships title

By Vinay Siwach

EL JADIDA, Morocco (May 22) -- For a second straight day, Egypt and Algeria were involved in a thrilling team title race at the African Championships.

Egypt, after winning the Greco-Roman team title Saturday by one point, pipped Algeria for the freestyle team title as the continental championships came to a close in El Jadida.

Egypt finished with 195 points to finish at the top while Algeria had 178 points. South Africa finished with 93 points to claim the third position.

The two nations were tied for gold medals at four apiece but wrestlers from Egypt reached the medal bout in all 10 weight classes while Algeria finished the opportunity at 57kg and had no entry in 125kg which hurt them the most.

Mostafa ELDERS (EGY)Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) won the 97kg gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

In a crucial gold medal bout, Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) defeated U20 world bronze medalist Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA) 7-0 at 97kg despite starting as the underdog.

De Lange was expected to win his first gold at African Championships but Elders had different ideas. He began with a quick takedown and roll to lead 4-0. De Lange went for Elders' leg on multiple occasions but could not finish a single move. The Egypt wrestler led 5-0 at the break.

Elders shifted to defense in the second period and De Lange found it extremely difficult to score. He was for fleeing during a stepout which gave a tiring Elders two more points. He managed to play out the remaining time on the clock to seal the team title for Egypt.

In another high-stake final, Tokyo Olympian Amr Reda RAMADAN (EGY) clinched his second African title by winning the gold medal at 74kg. In a bout he was expected to win comfortably, Ramadan trailed junior African champion Adelkader IKKAL (ALG) 5-1 after two minutes. 

Ikkal tried to shoot for Ramadan's legs numerous times in the second period but ended up giving up points which proved to be his undoing. Ramadan scored eight straight points on counters to win 9-5.

At 125kg, Youssif HEMIDA (EGY) made a mockery of his competition in the nordic bracket. With only three wrestlers entered, Hemida scored 11-0 wins over Anas LAMKABBER (MAR) and Hamza RAHMANI (TUN) to clinch the gold medal.

The former U23 World silver medalist, who trains in the USA, showed the gulf in the class in wrestling as Lamkabber and Rahmani looked out of sorts on the mat.

The fourth gold for Egypt came at 57kg as Gamal MOHAMED (EGY) held off Ebikewenimo WELSON (NGR), 5-0 in the final. In a controlled bout, Mohamed got the first point for Welson's passivity to lead 1-0 at the break.

He scored a takedown in the second period and wait for the clock to expire while fending off Welson's attacks. He got another takedown at the end off a desperate attack by Welson.

For Algeria, Tokyo Olympian Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) won his first senior African gold medal with a 6-2 win over Mahmoud BADAWI (EGY). He scored all of his six points in the first period while giving up two in the second.

The 21-year-old continues to improve at the senior level after qualifying Algeria for the Tokyo Olympics last year. The top seed in El Jadida began the tournament with an 11-0 win before pinning Edward LESSING (RSA) in the semifinal.

Mohammed FARDJ (ALG)Mohammed FARDJ (ALG) defended his 92kg gold at the African Championships. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

Another Olympian who won the gold for Algeria was Mohammed FARDJ (ALG). Unlike Benferdjallah, Fardj displayed a dominating performance in the 92kg final against Imed KADDIDI (TUN). He won 11-0 to defend his title.

He outscored his opponents 34-0 over three bouts in what was a stunning performance throughout the day.

The fourth gold medal for Algeria was won by Chems FETAIRIA (ALG) who defeated Youssef AIT BOULAHRI (MAR), 13-3 in the 79kg final to win his first African title.

A trip and gut wrench gave Fetairia four points but Boulahri also got two for holding Fetairia in danger in the same sequence as the score read 4-3. But Fetairia launched a suplex in the first period for four before a match ending four-pointer in the second period.

79kg was also the weight where Mauritius won their first freestyle medal in 20 years. Jean STE MARIE (MRI), who lost to Boulahri 14-12 in the semifinal, defeated Donald MABUSELA (RSA), 12-2 in the bronze medal bout to end his country's 22-year wait for a freestyle medal.

The remaining two gold medals were captured by Guinea-Bissau as Mbunde CUMBA MBALI (GBS) claimed the 65kg title while Bacar NDUM (GBS) won the gold at 70kg by defeated Algerian opponents.

In the 65kg final, defending champion Cumba Mbali scored three points in the first period against Chouaib SAHRAOUI (ALG) and went into a shell. He was warned for passivity but that only cost him one point. He hung on for a 3-1 win and his third straight African Championships title.

Ndum was more dominant as he defeated Rami BRINIS (ALG), 9-0 in the 70kg final to become a first-time African champion.

Ndum's run in El Jadida included two technical superiority wins in the quarterfinal and semifinal before he maintained the clean slate in the final as well.

Another star from the country, Tokyo Olympian Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Welson in the 57kg semifinal. But he bounced back to claim the bronze medal with a 10-0 win over Rabby KILANDI (COD).

Freestyle Results

GOLD: Gamal MOHAMED (EGY) df. Ebikewenimo WELSON (NGR), 5-0 

BRONZE: Omar FAYE (SEN) df. Jakobo TAU (RSA), 18-11
BRONZE: Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) df. Rabby KILANDI (COD), 10-0

GOLD: Abdelhak KHERBACHE (ALG) df. Shehabeldin MOHAMED (EGY), 3-0 

BRONZE: Sofiane EL KHAMER (MAR) df. Jordan Ngalula KABONGO (COD), 10-0
BRONZE: Awene DIATTA (SEN) df. Kenneth KOECH (KEN), 10-0 

GOLD: Mbunde CUMBA MBALI (GBS) df. Chouaib SAHRAOUI (ALG), 3-1

BRONZE: Yehia HAFEZ (EGY) df. Jason AFRIKANER (NAM), 4-3

GOLD: Bacar NDUM (GBS) df. Rami BRINIS (ALG), 9-0

BRONZE: Mohamed ZORGUI (TUN) df. Anthony WESLEY (CPV), 11-0
BRONZE: Said ELGAHSH (EGY) df. Guy LAGO (CIV), 2-1

GOLD: Amr HUSSEN (EGY) df. Abdelkader IKKAL (ALG), 9-5

BRONZE: Arno VAN ZIJL (RSA) df. Mamadou DIOUF (SEN), 2-0
BRONZE: Ogbonna JOHN (NGR) df. Brian OLOO (KEN), 10-0 

GOLD: Chems FETAIRIA (ALG) df. Youssef AIT BOULAHRI (MAR), 13-3

BRONZE: Jean STE MARIE (MRI) df. Donald MABUSELA (RSA), 12-2
BRONZE: Andy MUKENDI (COD) df. Karim ELDOBAY (EGY), 12-6


BRONZE: Ekerekeme AGIOMOR (NGR) df. Sabri MNASRIA (TUN), 9-0
BRONZE: Edward LESSING (RSA) df. Barthelemy TSHOSHA (COD), 8-1

GOLD: Mohammed FARDJ (ALG) df. Imed KADDIDI (TUN), 11-0

BRONZE: Machiel GROBLER (RSA) df. Timothee TOE (BUR), via forfeit
BRONZE: Noureldin HASSAN (EGY) df. Ahmed SEREHALI (MAR) , 10-0

GOLD: Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) df. Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA) , 7-0

BRONZE: Ulrich MANOUAN (CIV) df. John FOLANE (BUR), via forfeit
BRONZE: Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN) df. Abderrahmane BENACHA (ALG), 10-0


Key match: Youssif HEMIDA (EGY) df. Anas LAMKABBER (MAR), 11-0 (Round 2)