Record Breaking Euro Title Wins for Stadnik, Maee

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (April 22) --- Mariya STADNIK (AZE) has been unbeaten in Europe for the last 11 years. Ever since the 32-year-old began competing at the senior level back in 2009, Stadnik has yet to drop a bout.

Day Four women's wrestling photo gallery.

She extended her unbeaten record to one more year as she captured her ninth senior-level continental title (Championships and Games) and 11th overall at the European Championships in Warsaw on Thursday.

Her performance in Warsaw could well be the trailer of what the three-time Olympic medalist can do at the Tokyo Olympics later this year as she continues her search for a long-awaited gold medal at the Games.

In a disappointing finish, Russia could manage only one gold medal despite having four wrestlers in five finals on day two of women's wrestling.

Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) at 59kg, who won her fourth European title at the senior level, Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) at 68kg and Epp MAEE (EST) at 76kg snatched the gold medals from Russia's hands at the spectator-less Hala Widowiskowo-Sportowa COS Torwar stadium.

After skipping the 2019 and 2020 editions of the continental championships and being off the mat for 581 days, Stadnik stormed to the 50kg final on Wednesday in dominating fashion, beating Oksana LIVACH (UKR) 10-4. A day later, the two-time world champion put on a show of defense and experience to beat Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) 7-2.

The Bulgarian caught Stadnik by surprise at the beginning with a huge lock-and-lift to get two points. But Stadnik bounced back with a single leg to level the score. She scored a takedown and a stepout to lead 5-2 after the first period. She got another single-leg takedown in the second period to make it 7-2.

No attack from Selishka was strong enough to stop the Azerbaijani from winning a record 11th title and celebrating with childlike enthusiasm with the national flag.

In the bronze medal bout, two world bronze medalists clashed as Ekaterina POLESHCHUK (RUS) and Oksana LIVACH (UKR) put on a show. In a back-and-forth bout that went down to the wire, Poleshchuk edged Livach 10-9 to claim the bronze medal.

The bout began on a slow note as it was a 1-0 lead for Livach but 18 points were scored in the second period with Poleshchuk winning the battle of takedowns.

The second bronze medal went to Anna LUKASIAK (POL) as she defeated Emilia BUDEANU (MDA) 10-0. It was a special moment for her as she had failed to reach the European podium in her previous seven attempts. The 33-year-old finally captured her long-away continental medal and she did so in her home country.

Anna LUKASIAK (POL) European Championships 2021
 Anna LUKASIAK (POL) after winning the bronze -- her first-ever medal at European Championships -- at 50kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

In a record-breaking performance, Maee became Estonia's first-ever senior-level gold medalist in women's wrestling and ended an 82-year wait for her country to have a senior champion in all styles.

Johannes Kotkas was Estonia's last Euro champion back in 1939 when he won the gold medal at 87kg Greco-Roman weight category at the Oslo Championships.

Maee spoiled the party for Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS) as she hung on for a 1-1 victory in the 76kg final over the two-time Olympic medalist. With the win, the ever-tough heavyweight category got one more gold medal contender for the Tokyo Games.

Maee gave up a point for passivity in the first period but she got one for the Russian inactivity in the second period. With 1:18 left, Maee played the clock and claimed her first-ever gold medal at the senior European Championships since she first competed in 2011.

Young star Larroque showed that she is ready for the Tokyo Games as she claimed her first European title at 68kg in the fourth attempt. After qualifying for the Games in Budapest last month, the French wrestler pulled off a thrilling 3-2 win over Khanum VELIEVA (RUS).

The two should have met in the Olympic Qualifying tournament final but Velieva injury defaulted. The highly anticipated bout between the two young stars began with Larroque taking a 3-0 lead in the first period, all points scored via stepouts and passivity.

Velieva, who also qualified Russia for Tokyo from Budapest, scored two stepouts of her own to make it 3-2 but could not get at least one more point to win the gold medal.

Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS) was the third Russian wrestler to finish with a silver as Dudova managed to win her fourth European title with ease. It was her focus to win the fourth title that helped her claim a 5-1 win at 59kg.

Bilyana Dudova Euro Championships 2021
Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) won her fourth European title on Thursday. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

"The Russian was a very tough wrestler but I told myself to concentrate hard and not lose focus in the final," Dudova said. "It's great to win the fourth title for my country and I have shown who I am.

"I was telling myself that I will be a European champion again. I did it today."

The only Russian wrestler to win the gold on Thursday was Stalvira ORSHUSH (RUS) as she claimed the 55kg title against Roksana ZASINA (POL) after a tight 2-2 win in the final.

The bronze medals at 55kg went to Khrystyna DEMKO (UKR) who defeated nJessica BLASZKA (NED) 9 - 4 while Andreea ANA (ROU) won the second bronze by beating Katsiaryna PICHKOUSKAYA (BLR) 12-0

Defending champion at 59kg Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) came back after her semifinal loss on Thursday to defeat Elif YANIK (TUR) via fall and claim the bronze medal. The second bronze went to Kateryna ZHYDACHEVSKA (ROU) who just managed to pull off against Yuliya PISARENKA (BLR) 3-3.

Alina MAKHYNIA (UKR) got a fall over Nesrin BAS (TUR) while Individual World Cup silver medalist Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE) completed a victory by technical superiority over Ilana KRATYSH (ISR) to claim the bronze medals at 68kg.

In a fierce battle of 76kg rivals, Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER) beat Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) 4-0 to win the bronze medal while Cynthia Vanessa VESCAN (FRA) completed a 13-0 win over Sabira ALIYEVA (AZE) to win the second bronze at the weight category.

Aline FOCKEN European Championships 2021

Ukraine's field day

If Russia had a field day on Wednesday, it was the turn of Ukraine on Thursday as the European nation sent three of their wrestlers in the final out of the five remaining weight categories of women's wrestling.

Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR), Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) and Alla BELINSKA (UKR) made it to the finals of the 62kg, 65kg and 72kg weight categories.

At 53kg, Rio Olympian Maria PREVOLARAKI (GRE) set up a final against Euro champ at 55kg Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (RUS). The two had dominating semifinal wins as both won by a nine-point difference.

Prevolaraki stopped Mariia VYNNYK (UKR) from advancing to the final while Khoroshavtseva almost had a technical superiority win over Iulia LEORDA (MDA) but finished one point short to win 9-0.

While Vynnyk lost a one-sided bout, her compatriot Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR) had almost made it to the final but was stunned by Anhelina LYSAL (POL).

A month after qualifying Ukraine for the Olympics at 57kg, Akobiia was looking good for another finals appearance but Lysak, who was trailing 1-8, got Akobiia in a front headlock and exposed her for two points. She continued the hold and got the pin to reach the final, ending Akobiia's dream of a first European gold medal at senior level after she finished second last year.

Lysak will now face Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) who will look to build on her gold medal-winning performance at the Individual World Cup in December last year in Belgrade, Serbia.

As other wrestlers had a tough day on the mat, Kurachkina absolutely dominated her three bouts, winning all of them via technical superiority.

At 62kg, ever since her silver medal-winning performance in the Rio Olympics, Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS) has found it difficult to regain her form and Thursday was no exception.

The multiple-time Europe champion fell 5-2 to Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR), who was one of the four Ukraine wrestler who qualified her country for the Tokyo Games.

Before her semifinal, Koliadenko had won her two bouts with ease and in similar fashion had little to no trouble against Koblova. She will now wrestle multiple-time European medalist Marina SASTIN (HUN).

The veteran from Hungary did not step on the mat on Thursday and reached the final at 62kg as both her opponents forfeited. She will be looking to win her first European gold medal on Friday.

In what will be a rematch of the 65kg final at the Individual World Cup from last year, Irina RINGACI (MDA) will face Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) on Friday and will try to avenge her loss from Serbia.

Rizhko had dominated Ringaci in the final in Belgrade by winning the gold medal 14-4. But both looked a notch above everyone else in Warsaw, winning their semifinals by technical superiority.

In the final weight category of women's wrestling that was in action on Thursday, Alla BELINSKA (UKR) set up a final against Yuliana YANEVA (BUL).

With the win in the semifinal against Evgeniia ZAKHARCHENKO (RUS), Belinska confirmed herself a first senior-level European medal. She will like to win the gold but standing in her way is Bulgari's young talent and World Cup winner at 72kg Yaneva, who won 3-1 in the semifinal against Dalma CANEVA (ITA).

Apart from the women's wrestling finals, Greco-Roman action will begin on Friday in Warsaw with five weight categories  --  55kg, 63kg, 77kg, 87kg, and 130kg -- in action.

Epp Maee Euro Championships 2021
Epp MAEE (EST) won her first European Championships gold medal in Warsaw. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Final Results Women's Wrestling

GOLD- Mariya STADNIK (AZE) df. Miglena Georgieva SELISHKA (BUL), 7-2

BRONZE- Ekaterina POLESHCHUK (RUS) df. Oksana LIVACH (UKR), 10-9

GOLD - Stalvira ORSHUSH (RUS) df. Roksana Marta ZASINA (POL), 2-2

BRONZE - Khrystyna DEMKO (UKR) df. Jessica Francisca BLASZKA (NED), 9-4
BRONZE - Andreea Beatrice ANA (ROU) df. Katsiaryna PICHKOUSKAYA (BLR), 10-0

GOLD - Bilyana Zhivkova DUDOVA (BUL) df. Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS), 5-1

BRONZE - Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) df. Elif YANIK (TUR), via fall

GOLD - Koumba Selene Fanta LARROQUE (FRA) df. Khanum VELIEVA (RUS), 3-2


GOLD - Epp MAEE (EST) df. Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS), 1-1

BRONZE - Sabira ALIYEVA (AZE) vs. Cynthia Vanessa VESCAN (FRA), 13-0

Finals matchups Friday




SEMIFINAL - Anhelina LYSAK (POL) df. Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR), via fall


SEMIFINAL - Marianna SASTIN (HUN) df. Katarzyna MADROWSKA (POL), via injury

GOLD - Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) vs. Irina RINGACI (MDA)

SEMIFINAL - Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) df. IrIna Petrovna NETREBA (AZE), 11-1
SEMIFINAL - Irina RINGACI (MDA) df. Aleksandra WOLCZYNSKA (POL), 13-2


SEMIFINAL - Yuliana Vasileva YANEVA (BUL) df. Dalma CANEVA (ITA), 3-1


Saravi Dominates #WrestleWarsaw to Claim Spot on Iran Olympic Team

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (June 13) --- After the 97kg Greco-Roman final, Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI) went up to the judge to seek answers. His actions were justified as he had not only lost the gold medal to compatriot Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) but also the opportunity to represent Iran at the Tokyo Olympics.

Iran, treating the Poland Open as the selection trial for Tokyo Games, had entered the two and on Sunday, they dominated the field and reached the final. This was the last category that was undecided for Iran after three freestyle and one Greco-Roman class finalized in Warsaw.


Poland Open

They had to wait till the end of the day as it was the final bout and then more as both Iran wrestlers had mistakenly wore opposite singlets. 50 seconds into the bout they changed the singlets and resumed the bout. Saravi got the advantage of Balihamzehdeh being passive in the first period and he got an exposure to lead 3-0.

Balihamzehdeh was hoping that Saravi will be warned for inactivity as well but that did not happen as the latter kept on the pressure throughout the period. It ended 3-0 in favour of Saravi, completing the Iran team for the upcoming Games.

His gold medal also pushes him to third position in the Tokyo seeding as he collected 16 points. His total of 52 points takes him ahead of Cenk ILDEM (TUR) who is now out of the seeding.

Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) finished fifth in Warsaw and collected 10 points for a total of 42 to edge past Ildem by a point.

There was no other major shuffle in the Olympic seedings for the weight classes that were in action on Sunday.

At 87kg, veteran Uzbek wrestler Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) won a bronze medal to collect 12 points but that doesn't change his third position in the seedings.


The gold medal was captured but he upcoming star and two-time U23 world champion Semen NAVIKOV (UKR). In the final, he defeated Istvan TAKACS (HUN) 2-1 with all points scored on referees call.

Takacs had earlier stopped Rio Olympic bronze medalist Assakalov's run in the tournament with a 2-1 win in the semifinal. The Uzbek then came back in the bronze medal bout against Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL) with a big fall.

The next big thing in Ukrainian wrestling Navikov will not be at the Olympics as another star wrestler Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) is scheduled to wrestle in the Japanese capital city.

In the remaining three weight categories, hosts Poland captured two gold medals while the third went to Uzbekistan.

Michal TRACZ (POL) wrestled Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) in the 60kg final and held on for 3-2 win for his home country. In the nordic style bracket, he won two bouts to reach the semifinal in which he came out on top against Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) 3-2.

Ozturk had a back-and-forth semifinal against Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL) as the two scored 26 points in the stipulated six minutes. In the end, Ozturk won 15-11 to reach the final.

Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) won the second gold medal for Poland as he defeated Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB) 4-3 in the 72kg final.

The Pole had some tough bouts throughout the day as he began with a 3-1 win against Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) 3-1 before pulling through a 1-1 win against compatriot Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL).

From the other side, Rakhmatov defeated Juan AAK (NOR) 9-0 in the qualification before clinching a 7-0 win over Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) in the quarterfinal. He had a tough one against Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) in the semifinal but managed to pull off 5-4.

Uzbekistan did get it's gold medal on Sunday as five-time ranking series finalist Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) managed to hang on and defeat Ayata SUZUKI (JPN) 5-3 in the 63kg final. Suzuki was awarded a point for Bakhramov's passivity and he later got an exposure from par terre to lead 3-0. But Bakhramov reversed it and completed a head-pinch to make it 3-2.

In the second period, he got the point for Suzuki's inactivity and then exposed him from the par terre position to lead 5-3. The Japanese did try quite a few arm throws but failed to get any points.

From Japan, world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) was also scheduled to make the Poland trip but pulled out at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances. Fumita has now not competed internationally since winning the gold medal at the Asian Championships in New Delhi in February, 2020.

Poland Open 63kg


GOLD: Michal TRACZ (POL) df Ekrem OZTURK (TUR), 3-2
BRONZE: Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) df Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL), 10-2

GOLD: Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. Ayata SUZUKI (JPN), 5-3
BRONZE: Christopher KRAEMER (GER) df. Artor HAGERUP (NOR), via fall
BRONZE: Krisztian KECSKEMETI (HUN) df. Mairbek SALIMOV (POL), 4-0

GOLD: Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) df. Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 4-3
BRONZE: Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) df. Juan AAK (NOR), 2-1
BRONZE: Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) df. Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL), 3-1

GOLD: Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) df. Istvan TAKACS (HUN), 2-1
BRONZE: Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) df. Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL), via fall
BRONZE: Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Bachir SID AZARA (ALG), 1-1

GOLD: Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) df. Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI), 3-0
BRONZE: Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Gerard Cyprian KURNICZAK (POL), 4-0