#WrestleUfa Begins with 23 Age-Group World Medalists in Action

By Vinay Siwach

UFA, Russia (August 15) -- When the first whistles blow Monday at the Ufa Arena, it will mark the beginning a junior World Championships after gap of 729 days owing to the pandemic. But more than 500 wrestlers are ready to lay their claim for 120 medals that will be on offer during the August 16-22 tournament.

Situated in western Russia and almost 1500 kilometers from Moscow, Ufa will see freestyle wrestling kickoff things on day one of the Junior World Championships. Women's wrestling and Greco-Roman will be the next two styles of wrestling.

A host of former age-group world medalists will be in action at the Ufa Arena which will see spectators for the first time since the 2020 Asian Championships in Delhi. Spectators who wish to enter the arena need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or or need to provide a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result.

Russia will look to win the the team title at home under the guidance of head coach, former world champion Abdulsalam GADISOV. But a number former world medalists will in their way.

In freestyle, Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) will be one of the biggest names to look forward to. The two-time age-group world champion is returning from the Tokyo Olympics just a week ago and will wrestle at the 74kg weight class. He will be looking to add to his four medals from age-group Worlds.

But he will face challenge from Taner GARIP (TUR). The two can set up a rematch of the 2021 European Championships final which Bayramov won in Dortmund.

One of the toughest weight class in the freestyle will be 79kg as three former world medalists including a world champion from 2018 in Bagrati GAGNIDZE (GEO) are entered. He won a junior World Championships silver as well and an exciting match-up can be seen if Gourav BALIYAN (IND) wrestles him. The two wrestled each other in the 2018 cadet Worlds final and Gagnidze scored a final second takedown to defeat the Indian.

Mohammad Ashghar NOKHODILARIMI (IRI) will also be a big threat to the title as he is coming after winning the U23 World Championships silver medal in 2019.

Another category which will see three world medalists is 125kg. Giorgi CHIKHRADZE (GEO), Lyova GEVORGYAN (ARM) and Anirudh KUMAR (IND) are medalist from the 2019 Cadet World Championships. Chikhradze was the silver medalist while the other two won bronze. From the same tournament, Bekzat TAZHI (KAZ) won a bronze at 92kg and making his move up to 125kg.

Wrestlers at 61kg will in a stacked field with two-time world champion Rahman Mousa AMOUZADKHALILI (IRI) eyeing his third title at the age-group level. But he will be challenged by another world champion Fedor BALTUEV (RUS) who won the title in 2017. Abulfaz NASIROV (AZE) and RAVINDER (IND) will also be in the same field. The two are bronze medalists from the Cadet World Championships.

Another former world champion entered is Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) and he will be wrestling at 70kg. He won the cadet world title at 65kg in 2019. Recently, he did a double by winning the 2021 European Junior and U23 Championships. Erfan Mohammad ELAHI (IRI) will try to win his first world title after falling short and collecting a silver at 60kg back in 2019. Another cadet world medalist, JAIDEEP (IND) will try to improve. He won a bronze medalist at the 2021 Worlds in Budapest last month.

Amirhossein Biglar FIROUZPOURBANDPEI (IRI) will try to capture his second world title as he is entered at 86kg. He won a gold medal at 80kg at the 2019 World Championships at the cadet level.

57kg, 65kg, 70kg, 79kg and 97kg wrestlers will be in action Monday and freestyle action will continue Tuesday with the remaining five weight classes.


Russia Wins GR Team Title after Five Golds at #WrestleUfa

By Vinay Siwach

At the last Junior Worlds Championships in 2019, Russia returned home with four gold, two silver and a bronze medal to claim the team title. Two years later, they repeated the same but with five gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

As the Junior World Championships concluded in Ufa, Russia, the Greco-Roman celebrated their title win at home with 183 points while Iran finished second with 130 points. Azerbaijan were third as they managed only 101 points.

Russia had finished second in both the freestyle and women's wrestling competition with Iran and USA winning those team titles respectively.

Dinislam BAMMATOV (RUS) and Evgeni BAIDUSOV (RUS) were the two gold medalists for Russia Sunday while three had won the top medal Saturday. Aleksei MILESHIN (RUS) was the only Russian wrestler to reach the final but not winning the gold.

A bit of history was also created at the Ufa Arena as Marcel STERKENBURG (NED) defeated Karen KHACHATRYAN (ARM) 6-3 in 82kg final and became the first wrestler from the Netherlands to win a junior Worlds gold in the last 43 years.

The final gold medal of the night was won by Pavel HLINCHUK (BLR) who looked in some serious form in the tournament with five dominating wins over the course of two days.

Bammatov, the Dagestan wrestler, defeated Saeid ESMAEILI LEIVESI (IRI) 7-3 in the 60kg final to get the Russian team going. He was awarded a point for the Iranian's passivity to open the scoring. In par terre, Bammatov lost top position after slipping off the right side gut wrench. He surrendered a reversal, but stopped an Iranian gut attempt, planting Esmaeili Leivesi on his back for the two exposure points. With the action back on their feet, Bammatov snapped Esmaeili Leivesi down and spun behind for a takedown. He went right into a gut wrench and carried the 7-1 lead into the second period.

Bammatov gave up two stepouts in the closing period, but capped off his run to the 60kg junior world title with a 7-3 victory.

The second gold medal for Russia was won by Evgeni BAIDUSOV (RUS) as he overcame Giorgi CHKHIKVADZE (GEO) in a tight final to win 3-2. In the most evenly matched finals of the night, Baidusov narrowly edged ahead when he struck first. He tried hitting a duck under early in the first period, but as Chikhikvadze defended the attempt from his knees, the Russian threw a headlocked and put two points on the board. His Georgian opponent reversed him to his back for the exposure and gained the 2-2 criteria advantage.

To the dismay of the Georgian fans in the second period, Baidusov toed the line and circle to the center before pushing Chkhikvadze out for the 3-2 lead.

Baidusov's medal winning celebrations were marred by some unruly behaviour from the Georgian fans in the stands which was brought to the attention of the organizing committee as well.

But Pavel HLINCHUK (BLR) ruined Russia's perfect final record in the 97kg finals as he handed Aleksei MILESHIN (RUS) an 11-0 thrashing to Belarus their first gold medal of the Greco-Roman competition.

He hit back-to-back guts after earning an inactivity point and controlled the comfortable five point lead. With less than 20 seconds left in the opening period, the Belarusian tossed Mileshin for two points and his lead grew to 7-0.

Before the whistle sounded in the first, he backed his heels to the edge of the mat and planted Mileshin on his back for four points and earned the 11-0 world-title winning victory.

The historic medal for the Netherlands won by Marcel STERKENBURG (NED) came after his brother failed to do the same Sunday. The twin brother Tyrone finished with a silver medal after suffering a defeat in the 77kg final.

But the 82kg final began with Karen KHACHATRYAN (ARM) scoring two points from a left-side gut wrench after being awarded a point for Sterkenburg’s inactivity.

But it was all Marcel STERKENBURG (NED) in the second period. He bolted out to an early takedown in the first period and cut Khachatryan’s lead to 3-2. At the two-minute mark, Sterkenburg scored a stepout and gained the 3-3 criteria lead before his Armenian opponent was hit with inactivity.

Leading 4-3, Sterkenburg gutted Khachatryan and increased his lead to 6-3, and ultimately gave the Netherland’s their first junior world title in the last 43 years.

The 67kg gold medal went to Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) as the cadet world champion managed to shutout Sahak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) 7-0 in the final.

The match was chippy and barred with referee stoppages. Jafarov earned top position in par terre after Sahak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) was called for inactivity. He was unable to pick up exposure points, but scored two correct throw points and led 3-1 after the opening period.

A pair of accidental head butts slowed down the second period and brought medical attention for Jafarov. The first two were deemed accidental, but after a third headbutt in the period, Jafarov’s opponent was hit with a caution-and-two – giving the Azeri wrestler the 5-0 lead.

Shortly after, Jafarov pushed Hovhannisyan to the edge and stopped a double-overhook throw attempt and extended his lead to 7-0. He defended it until the clock expired.

The focus now shifts to the Senior World Championships which begins in Oslo from October 2 to 10.

Results GR Medal Bouts


BRONZE: Mert ILBARS (TUR) df Arslanbek SALIMOV (POL), 8-0
BRONZE: Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE) df Shermukhammad SHARIBJANOV (UZB), 5-1


BRONZE: Muslim IMADAEV (RUS) df Gagik SNJOYAN (FRA), 9-0


BRONZE: Attila TOESMAGI (HUN) df Amir ABDI (IRI), 9-6
BRONZE: Shant KHACHATRYAN (ARM) df Khasay HASANLI (AZE), via fall


BRONZE: Mohammad Aziz NAGHOUSI (IRI) df Mykyta ALIEKSIEIEV (UKR), 11-5

GOLD: Pavel HLINCHUK (BLR) df Aleksei MILESHIN (RUS), 11-0

BRONZE: Morteza ALGHOSI (IRI)  df Marcus WORREN (NOR), 5-3
BRONZE: Braxton AMOS (USA) df Arkyt OROZBEKOV (KGZ), 8-0