Bas cuts down, wins Paris quota; Stadnik suffers setback at World Qualifier

By Vinay Siwach

ISTANBUL, Turkiye (May 10) --  The last time Nesrin BAS (TUR) competed in 62kg or less was in 2018 at the U17 level. Since then, as Bas continued wrestling, she moved up to 65kg, then to 68kg and even to 72kg.

But as the Paris Olympics approached, Bas had to leave the 68kg weight category for world and European champion Bose TOSUN (TUR) who qualified for the weight by winning the gold medal at the World Championships. Former world champion and Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Yasemin ADAR (TUR) won the spot at 76kg from the European Qualifier. That left Bas with only one option -- to return to 62kg.

Bas, who was not sure if going to 62kg was a good idea, got rewarded for her sacrifices as she qualified 62kg weight class for the Paris Olympics with a thrilling performance in front of her home crowd.

"I cut a lot of weight," Bas said. "First I wasn't that positive that I could endure cutting weight but my coach helped me and believed me to get it done."

In a very first-period dominated bout against Astrid MONTERO (VEN), Bas managed to hang on for a 10-6 win and earn herself a ticket to Paris Olympics. Montero scored the first takedown and got on a single-leg but Bas tossed her to get two points. She used the lace to add three turns to be up 8-2. Montero got on a few attacks but was unable to finish them. The two exchanged exposure points late in the bout but that did not prevent Bas from winning the bout.

Nesrin BAS (TUR)Nesrin BAS (TUR) scores two points over Astrid MONTERO (VEN) in the 68kg semifinal. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Amirreza Aliasgari)

However, the U23 world champion later revealed that she doubted herself to win the match after Montero scored the first takedown.

"My opponent was really strong," she said. "During the match when I lost points first, I became hesitant if I could win. But I overcome on that feeling. 

"I'm very happy. I trained a lot. I had to cut my weight. I'm happy I got the results I wanted. I'm blessed that the coaches believed in me. My goal now is the Olympic medal."

Bas was also pushed by the loud local fans who flocked to the stadium from the morning session. Bas made it a point to acknowledge them after every win. She blanked Ameline DOUARRE (FRA) 6-0 to start her day before scampering through 6-4 against Natalia KUBATY (POL). Bas survived a scare in the quarterfinal against Johanna LINDBORG (SWE) as she eked out a 4-4 criteria win.

She later celebrated her win by making a scowl-like gesture using her hands.

"My gesture of hands is a sign between me and my friends in the same club. I had promised them if I win I show that sign."

Kriszta INCZE (ROU) joined Bas as the other wrestler to win the Paris 2024 quota at 68kg after she defeated Veranika IVANOVA (AIN) 6-1 in the semifinals. Ivanova scored the first stepout which was her only scoring point in the match as Incze defended her shots.

This was Romania's second quota for Paris 2024 in women's wrestling as Andreea ANA (ROU) qualified 53kg from the European Qualifiers in Baku.

Son Hyang KIM (PRK)Son Hyang KIM (PRK) defeated Mariya STADNIK (AZE) in the 50kg Paris qualification bout in Istanbul. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

Stadnik suffers setback

Mariya STADNIK (AZE) suffered yet another setback in her journey to qualify for her fifth Olympics after losing the Paris Olympic qualifying bout to Son Hyang KIM (PRK) 10-3 despite leading for the majority of the bout. Stadnik led 3-0 at the break but was put on the activity clock twice in the second period. Kim got a takedown just before the second activity clock expired to put herself in a 4-3 lead. Stadnik, who was struggling with her conditioning, got turned by Kim three times to trail 10-3 with 19 seconds remaining.

Kim kept that lead and earned the Paris 2024 quota which she missed after suffering a painful loss at the Asian Olympic Qualifier as she lost her bout in the final seconds.

Stadnik still has a chance to qualify for her fifth Olympics if she can win the bronze-medal bout tomorrow and follow it up with another win in the playoff bout between the two bronze-medal winners.

The other 50kg quota was secured by Anastasia BLAYVAS (GER) as she defeated Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR) 6-1 to give Germany its third Paris quota in women's wrestling. Blayvas countered Genesis' attacks with ease and turned them into takedowns for herself.

Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) and Khulan BATKHUYAG (MGL)Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) and Khulan BATKHUYAG (MGL) earned the Paris 2024 spots for Moldova and Mongolia respectively. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

At 53kg, Moldova and Hungary earned a Paris spot each with Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) and Khulan BATKHUYAG (MGL) respectively. Dragutan was dominant in her semifinal against Sztalvira ORSOS (HUN), scoring 11 points before securing the fall with five seconds remaining.

Batkhuyag, a world silver medalist, was much quicker in her fall over Zeynep YETGIL (TUR) in the other semifinal, finishing the bout in just a minute and 43 seconds. She did give up the initial takedown but Batkhuyag rocked back with takedowns and ultimately getting the fall.

Yetgil and Orsos will return tomorrow in a bid to qualify for the Olympics through the bronze-medal playoffs.

Two-time European champion Alina HRUSHYNA (UKR) will also have to go through that path after she lost her Paris qualifying bout to Tokyo Olympian Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (AIN) on criteria. The Ukrainian led 5-3 with 30 seconds on the clock but Khoroshavtseva scored a takedown to earn a spot to Paris. 

Giullia PENALBER (BRA) denied Uzbekistan its second women's wrestling quota by beating Asian Games bronze medalist Laylokhon SOBIROVA (UZB) 7-5 in the other bout. This was the first Paris 2024 quota for Brazil in women's wrestling.

NISHA (IND)NISHA (IND) celebrates after winning the 68kg Paris qualification bout against Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU). (Photo: United World Wrestling / Amirreza Aliasgari)

At 68kg, India and China added their fifth women's wrestling spot as NISHA (IND) and veteran Feng ZHOU (CHN) won their respective qualification bouts. Nisha defeated Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU) 8-4 while Zhou won 13-2 over Mimi HRITSOVA (BUL).

Zhou was surprised by an early attack from Hritsova but she composed her to score a takedown before using the trademark high chest wrap to score six turns over Hritsova and win 12-2. Bulgaria challenged that number of turns but lost, giving a point more to Zhou.

Jia LONG (CHN) will have an opportunity to make it six out of six for China for Paris at 62kg. She lost to Incze but with Incze winning the semifinal, Long is pulled back in repechage. She will have to win a bronze medal and then beat the other bronze medalist in the playoff to earn the spot.

Nisha got on the charge against Anghel with a takedown in the first 30 seconds before adding another and a gut wrench to lead 6-0. Soon she made it 8-0 as Anghel rolled over as Nisha was trying to lock a cradle. Anghel gave herself a chance in the second period when she threw Nisha with a head lock for two before adding two more to cut Nisha's lead to 8-4. But Nisha survived the 1:50 left on the clock to win India's fifth spot.

India will now be sending five women wrestlers to the Olympics, its highest-ever qualifications in women's wrestling. MANSI (IND) lost to Ivanova at 62kg and will not be able to qualify India for all six wrestlers.

"It feels great to win five quotas," Nisha said. "I thought we would get six quotas but Mansi's luck has been bad. But feels great that we will travel with a big team."

Nisha was the Asian qualifier in a round-robin in which she won two bouts and lost one. Two other wrestlers had the same number of wins but more classification points, denying Nisha a spot in the semifinal. 

"At the Asian Qualifier, we had a cross semifinal and I thought I would reach semis but I failed on [classification] points," she said. "I knew that I would qualify, if not in Asia then at the World Qualifier. I never doubted myself. The day I lost in Bishkek, I started writing the names of wrestlers who would be coming to Istanbul. I never felt sad and continued training as I was confident of qualifying."

Nisha was close to qualifying India for the Tokyo Olympics but fell one win short. She later contracted COVID-19 and missed out on going to the Olympics.

"During the Tokyo cycle, I lost the Olympic qualification bout [62kg] and later got COVID-19," she said. "I lost trials in India and when I lost the trials for the Asian Games, I wanted to leave wrestling because I got another injury. But when I got better, I told myself that I could also step away after winning a medal."

Romania and Bulgaria did get the Paris 2024 quota but at 76kg, Catalina AXENTE (ROU) defeated Anastasiya ZIMIANKOVA (AIN) 6-3 while Yuliana YANEVA (BUL) stopped Davaanasan ENKH AMAR (MGL) 4-1.




50kg Paris Qualification Bouts
Anastasia BLAYVAS (GER) df. Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR), 6-1
Son Hyang KIM (PRK) df. Mariya STADNIK (AZE), 10-3

53kg Paris Qualification Bouts
Khulan BATKHUYAG (MGL) df. Zeynep YETGIL (TUR), via fall (8-3)
Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) df. Sztalvira ORSOS (HUN), via fall (11-2)

57kg Paris Qualification Bouts
Giullia PENELBAR (BRA) df. Laylokhon SOBIROVA (UZB), 7-5

62kg Paris Qualification Bouts
Nesrin BAS (TUR) df. Astrid MONTERO (VEN), 10-6
Kriszta INCZE (ROU) df. Veranika IVANOVA (AIN), 6-1

68kg Paris Qualification Bouts
Feng ZHOU (CHN) df. Mimi HRISTOVA (BUL), 13-2
NISHA (IND) df. Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU), 8-4

76kg Paris Qualification Bouts
Yuliana YANEVA (BUL) df. Davaanasan ENKH AMAR (MGL), 4-1
Catalina AXENTE (ROU) df. Anastasiya ZIMIANKOVA (AIN), 6-3


Valiev gets 74kg Paris 2024 spot; USA completes Olympic line-up

By United World Wrestling Press

ISTANBUL, Turkiye (May 12) -- A day after he was dealt with a heartbreaking loss, Cherman VALIEV (ALB) pulled off a stunning last-second win over Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

At the World Olympic Qualifier, the last chance to qualify for the Paris Olympics, Valiev lost to Viktor RASSADIN (TJK) in the 74kg semifinal on Saturday after he was docked for a singlet-pull. But 24 hours later, Valiev turned it around. Trailing 2-1 in the Olympic playoff between the two bronze medal winners, Valiev got a par terre position over Demirtas and turned him for two points with just a second left.

Demirtas challenged, asking for a block and two points as he stopped Valiev mid-turn, but blocking was not confirmed on review, giving Valiev another point for a lost challenge and a 4-2 win.

Apart from Valiev's dramatic win to earn Albania's third Freestyle quota for Paris, 70kg world champion Zain RETHERFORD (USA) won the 65kg spot for the United States to complete the line-up for Paris with all six spots. Spencer LEE (USA) won the 57kg spot on Saturday.

China earned two spots for Paris while Georgia and Hungary won a spot each. China won the spots at 57kg and 97kg, Georgia 86kg and Hungary will be represented in 125kg.

Retherford, who lost to Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL) at 65kg, wrestled four bouts on Sunday with his bronze-medal bout against SUJEET (IND) being the closest. Sujeet scored a counter takedown in the first period and tried holding on to that lead in the second. But as he was pushing Retherford towards the zone, the American circled back and took Sujeet down and take a 2-2 lead which he held till the end.

In the Olympic playoff, Retherford got the better of Niurgun SKRIABIN (AIN), 7-0, and earned a sixth Paris 2024 spot for the U.S. Since Retherford won the trials before coming to Istanbul, he will be now going to Paris.

Wanhao ZOU (CHN) and Awusayiman HABILA (CHN) earned the two quotas for China. Zou was up against  Andrii YATSENKO (UKR) and had little trouble beating Yatsenko in the playoff.

Habila wrestled 38-year-old Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB) in the playoff at 125kg and came out on top 2-1. Ibragimov got a 1-0 lead after Habila was out on the activity clock but he failed to score. Ibragimov was put on the clock in the second period but he also failed to score giving Habila a 1-1 criteria lead. Ibragimov made a few attempts in the final seconds but failed to get any points.

Ibragimov challenged asking for fleeing but it was not confirmed on review. The Rio bronze medalist later left his shoes on the mat, symbolizing his retirement from the sport.

Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO), who lost after giving up a late takedown, left nothing to luck on Sunday and defeated Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), 8-2, giving Georgia its fourth qualification in Freestyle.

Hungary got its second Paris 2024 spot after Daniel LIGETI (HUN) pinned Jose DIAZ (VEN) in the playoff after building a 5-0 lead.

Paris 2024 Qualification Results

Wanhao ZOU (CHN) df. Andrii YATSENKO (UKR), 5-1

Zain RETHERFORD (USA) df. Niurgun SKRIABIN (AIN), 7-0

Chermen VALIEV (ALB) df. Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR), 4-2

Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO) df. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), 8-2

Awusayiman HABILA (CHN) df. Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB), 2-1

Daniel LIGETI (HUN) df. Jose DIAZ (VEN), via fall...