#WrestleBaku, #WrestleParis

Livach stuns Stadnik; Adar, Kurachkina confirm Paris 2024 spots at European qualifier

By Vinay Siwach

BAKU, Azerbaijan (April 6) -- Five seconds separated Mariya STADNIK (AZE) and history.

Leading 2-0 against Oksana LIVACH (UKR), Stadnik could have become the first woman wrestler to qualify for five Olympic Games. However, Livach pinned her with five seconds remaining to stun the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Livach did create history, becoming the first wrestler to beat Stadnik in a European event in a career that goes back 20 years. More importantly, Livach earned a Paris Olympic quota for Ukraine at 50kg.

This was the first time that Livach won against Stadnik with her latest loss at the European Championships semifinal in Bucharest in February.

"I just want to wrestle," Livach said. "I don't care about the opponent. This is the first time I have beaten her and it's amazing. She is a legend. It's a long journey to beat her. I worked hard to win here."

Livach trailed 2-0 with 11 seconds remaining in the bout when the referee called for a restart and Livach immediately hit a double-leg attack, putting Stadnik's back on the mat and held her, securing the fall.

"[In the last moments], I tried to keep her [Stadnik's] lead to a low number," she said. "At the last minute, I worked more and needed to attack. It was a tactic."

Ukraine now has two quotas for Paris Olympics as Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) won one in 62kg at the World Championships. The last chance World Qualifier in Istanbul from May 9 to 12 will present another opportunity for the wrestlers to win a quota.

"The Olympic qualification for Ukraine is very important," she said. "It is for my country, for people who support me. It's an unimaginable feeling."

Nadezhda SOKOLOVA (AIN) won the other Paris 2024 spot at 50kg as she defeated Anastasia BLAYVAS (GER), via fall after building a 12-2 lead. She led 2-0 at the break but shifted gears in the second period. She countered Blayvas' attempt to hit a toss and scored four points. She used a cradle to hit another four and secure the fall.

Iryna KURACHKINA (AIN)Iryna KURACHKINA (AIN) defeated Alina HRUSHYNA (UKR) to win at 57kg. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

Silver medalist in Tokyo at the 57kg weight class, Iryna KURACHKINA (AIN) pulled off a last-minute takedown to beat Alina HRUSHYNA (UKR) and earn a quota.

Kurachkina led Hrushyna 2-2 as she had a takedown against Hrushyna's sequence of one and one points. Hrushyna scored a pushout with 33 seconds left on the clock, forcing Kurachkina to attack more.

With just 10 seconds left, Kurachkina hit a double-leg and lifted Hrushyna to slam her the mat, earning four points and a 6-3 win.

The second spot at 57kg was earned by Sandra PARUSZEWSKI (GER) who pinned Elvira KAMALOGLU (TUR) in the second period to confirm her spot. Paruszewski was leading 1-0 at the break for Kamaloglu's passivity. The Turkish wrestler began the second period with a takedown and took a 2-1 lead. Paruszewski never slowed down and used the underhook to keep Kamaloglu guessing.

She would ultimately use an underhook throw to put Kamaloglu's back on the mat and get the pin along with the Paris 2024 quota. Tokyo Olympian champion and Germany's first women's wrestling champion Aline FOCKEN (GER) would later rush to congratulate her.

Yasemin ADAR (TUR)Yasemin ADAR (TUR) won the Paris 2024 spot for Turkiye at 76kg. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

European champion Yasemin ADAR (TUR) convincingly defeated former European medalists to qualify Turkiye for the Paris Games at 76kg. She opened the day with a 12-2 win over Epp MAR (EST) and finished it with a 6-2 controlled win over Martina KUNEZ (AUT).

Kuenz was returning to the mat since the Ranking Series in Bishkek in June 2023 and began well, taking a 1-0 lead but Adar countered Kuenz's half-hearted attacks and scored points, ultimately winning 6-2.

Hungary managed to secure the other spot at 76kg as Bernadett NAGY (HUN) won 2-0 against Pauline LECARPENTIER (FRA). This marks the fourth straight Olympic in which Hungary qualified in Women's Wrestling. Mariana SASTIN (HUN) was the first woman to qualify for wrestling in London 2012.

At 53kg, Tokyo Olympian Andreea ANA (ROU) moved back to 53kg to qualify Romania and did that by beating Annika WENDLE (GER), 5-4, in the Paris qualification bout.

The bout was not as close as the scoreline suggests but Ana did slow down in the final minute. After taking a 5-0 lead, Ana gave up two stepouts, one point for fleeing and one point for a singlet pull.

"I think after leading 5-0, I became complacent," Ana said. "I will take a break for now and then prepare for the Paris Olympics."

Tokyo Olympian Maria PREVOLARAKI (GRE) suffered a heartbreaking loss to Natalia MALYSHEVA (AIN) at the 53kg after Malysheva pulled Prevolaraki from the back and pinned her to the mat, securing the fall and the Paris 2024 ticket.

Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL)Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) earned a spot at 62kg for Bulgaria. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Former world champion Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) picked up a Paris 2024 ticket for Bulgaria at 62kg after she beat Ameline DOUARRE (FRA), 3-0. Dudova had failed to finish on the podium at the European Championships. However, she did not let that win affect her and easily won the quota.

Alina KASABIEVA (AIN) earned the second quota at 62kg as she defeated Mariana CHERDIVARA ESANU (MDA), 6-1.

Poland will have a representative at 68kg after 72kg regular Wiktoria CHOLUJ (POL) managed to score exposure in the dying moments of the bout to beat Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE), 3-2.

Hanzlickova led 2-1 after she locked both of Choluj's arms and turned her for two points. She was on the verge of pinning Choluj but the Poland wrestler managed to sneak out of that position.

Choluj got on a single-leg and scored exposure to take 3-2 lead that she defended in the last 14 seconds to earn a spot for Paris.

Tokyo Olympian Khanum VELIEVA (AIN) was in no trouble beating Manola SKOBELSKA (UKR), 12-0, at 68kg to earn the second spot for the Paris Games.



50kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Oksana LIVACH (UKR) df. Mariya STADNIK (AZE), via fall (4-2)
SF 2: Nadezhda SOKOLOVA (AIN) df.  Anastasia BLAYVAS (GER), via fall (12-2)

53kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Andreea ANA (ROU) df. Annika WENDLE (GER), 5-4
SF 2: Natalia MALYSHEVA (AIN) df. Maria PREVOLARAKI (GRE), via fall (8-0)

57kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Sandra PARUSZEWSKI (GER) df. Elvira KAMALOGLU (TUR), via fall

62kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) df. Ameline DOUARRE (FRA), 3-0

68kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Wiktoria CHOLUJ (POL) df. Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE), 3-2
SF 2: Khanum VELIEVA (AIN) df. Manola SKOBELSKA (UKR), 12-0

76kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Bernadett NAGY (HUN) df. Pauline LECARPENTIER (FRA), 2-0
SF 2: Yasemin ADAR (TUR) df. Martina KUENZ (AUT), 6-2


Ringaci rules Baku; Ukraine best WW team at U23 Euros

By United World Wrestling Press

BAKU, Azerbaijan (May 24) -- For around 15 seconds in the first period, Ekaterina KOSHKINA (AIN) must have thought she had the 65kg gold medal bout in her control.

Koshkina had Irina RINGACI (MDA) exactly where she would have wanted: in the center, on the defensive and gripping her right leg firmly. The 22-year-old had done all these things right. But she couldn’t execute the most crucial thing, the takedown.

Instead, in that moment of desperation, Ringaci showed why at the young age of 22 she has already seen her reputation grow leaps and bounds. First, she mustered all her strength to ensure Koshkina couldn’t affect a takedown and then, combining that with her flexibility she staged a perfect escape to break free from her opponent’s grasp.

Irina RINGACI (MDA)Irina RINGACI (MDA) won the 65kg gold medal at the U23 European Championships. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

In one motion, Ringaci freed her leg, got in a controlling position herself and flipped Koshkina on her back to score two points, adding to her 2-1 lead. That play, only two minutes into the final, set the tone for the rest of the bout as Ringaci won 11-3 to win her third U23 European Championship gold medal.

Conceding only five points and scoring 29, it was also quite a way for her to announce her readiness for the Paris Olympics. Only 22, Ringaci has won every possible title. In 2021, she won the senior World Championship gold (in 65kg) as a teenager and followed it up with two bronze medals in 68kg. She has two senior European Championship titles, a World Cup medal and U20 World Championship gold, apart from the third U23 continental crown.

Will the Olympic podium be the young wrestler’s next destination? We’ll know in August.

UkraineUkraine won the team title with 160 points. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Jake Kirkman)

Bondar leads Ukraine to team title

With three gold medals, Ukraine celebrated winning the women’s wrestling team title with 168 points. On Thursday, Mariia ORLEVYCH (UKR) defeated Laura KUEHN (GER) 6-0 on Thursday to win the 76kg title. And in the first gold medal bout on Friday, Liliia MALANCHUK (UKR) defeated Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE) to be crowned the champion in 53kg category.

Malanchuk found the going difficult and was trailing until a minute-and-a-half remaining in the match. That’s when she attempted a suplex but Mammadova didn’t land in danger. Malanchuk was rewarded with two points for that takedown and she got a couple more for the rollover.

From trailing by two points, she now had a lead of four after Mammadova lost a challenge and Malanchuk then built on the advantage, finishing strongly with three two-point takedowns to win the bout 13-2.

Later in the day, Iryna BONDAR’S (UKR) fearless wrestling in the 62kg gold medal match ensured the country would finish on top.

Yana TRETSIAK (AIN) tried to keep the scorelines tight in the hope of launching a late attack but in her attempt to stop Bondar from scoring, she conceded passivity points in the opening round. The match-defining moment, however, came at the halfway stage of the second period.

Bondar was rewarded for her patience as she found the tiniest of openings to launch a speedy single-leg attack. It got her into a dominant position to execute a four-point takedown. Bondar didn’t let of off Trtsiak’s grips and rolled her on the mat twice to win the bout by technical superiority (11-0).

Apart from the three gold medals, Ukraine also won three silver with Mariia VYNNYK (55kg), Manola SKOBELSKA (68kg) and Nadiia SOKOLOVSKA (72kg) coming second best in their respective finals.

Turkiye finished second in the team standings with 118 points, followed by hosts Azerbaijan who ended with 76 points. Zhala ALIYEVA (AZE) won the gold at 57kg category, much to the happiness of the home fans.

Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE)Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE) was one of the two finalists for Azerbaijan as he reached the 70kg gold medal bout. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Jake Kirkman)

Azerbaijan eye freestyle gold medals

The host nation will hope to add more gold medals to its account two of its freestyle wrestlers qualified for the finals.

In the 70kg category, Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE) orchestrated a comprehensive drubbing of Mikita DZEMCHANKA (AIN) in the semifinals, winning 11-0 to put himself in contention for his maiden U23 title. Heybatov was in control for most parts of his bouts on Friday, but his resolve will be tested in the final where he will face Inalbek SHERIEV (AIN).

Sheriev is the reigning U23 World Champion and conceded only two points en route to the final while scoring 33 across the three bouts.

The other home favourite who will fight for the title is Ali TCOKAEV (AZE) in 79kg. The 21-year-old did not allow his opponents to score a single point as he spent a little more than 10 minutes on the mat to reach his maiden U23 European Championship final.

However, to win his first-ever gold medal in this competition, Tcokaev will have to get the better of defending champion Georgios KOUGIOUMTSIDIS (GRE), also a senior European Championship silver medallist.




GOLD: Liliia MALANCHUK (UKR) df. Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE), 13-2

BRONZE: Venera NAFIKOVA (AIN) df. Sevval CAYIR (TUR), via fall (5-1)
BRONZE: Viktoryia VOLK (AIN) df. Laura STANELYTE (LTU), 12-1

GOLD: Zhala ALIYEVA (AZE) df. Elvira KAMALOGLU (TUR), 5-3

BRONZE: Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) df. Nesrin SYULEYMANOVA (BUL), 11-0

GOLD: Iryna BONDAR (UKR) df. Yana TRETSIAK (AIN), 11-0

BRONZE: Viktoria VESSO (EST) df. Ineta DANTAITE (LTU), 13-0
BRONZE: Alina KASABIEVA (AIN) df. Iris THIEBAUX (FRA), via fall

GOLD: Irina RINGACI (MDA) df. Ekaterina KOSHKINA (AIN), 11-3

BRONZE: Kateryna ZELENYKH (ROU) df. Ingrid SKARD (NOR), 10-0
BRONZE: Nesrin BAS (TUR) df. Laura GODINO (ITA), via fall (9-0)


BRONZE: Bukrenaz SERT (TUR) df. Marziya SADIGOVA (AZE), 13-0

Freestyle Semifinals

GOLD: Muhammet KARAVUS (TUR) vs. Artem GOBAEV (AIN)

SF 1: Artem GOBAEV (AIN) df. Luka GVINJILIA (GEO), 12-1
SF 2: Muhammet KARAVUS (TUR) df. Vladyslav ABRAMOV (UKR), via fall (10-0)


SF 1: Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA) df. Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR), 9-6
SF 2: Ibragim IBRAGIMOV (AIN) df. Serghei CILCIC (MDA), 11-0


SF 1: Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE) df. Mikita DZEMCHANKA (AIN), 11-0
SF 2: Inalbek SHERIEV (AIN) df. Bohdan OLIINYK (UKR), 11-0


SF 1: Ali TCOKAEV (AZE) df. Marius RETCO (MDA), 10-0
SF 2: Georgios KOUGIOUMTSIDIS (GRE) df. Arsen BALAIAN (AIN), 3-1


SF 1: Soslan DZHAGAEV (AIN) df. Rifat GIDAK (TUR), 3-1