Georgia and Romania asserted themselves as the world’s premier beach wrestling nations Saturday in Chaves as they combined to win 6 of 8 available gold medals in men’s and women’s wrestling.
The Georgian squad was led by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Dato MARSAGISHVILI who dominated the -90kg competition over the course of the two-day competition to take gold. Marsagishvili was also awarded “Best Move of the Tournament” after back-arching his quarterfinal opponent for what fans thought was the most spectacular technique of the weekend.
“I’m very happy to be involved in beach wrestling,” said Marsagishvili. “This is my first time and I was really excited to win. Beach wrestling is amazing; it’s like a celebration atmosphere, which had me smiling.”
Levan KELEKHSASHVILI (60kg) and Davit KHUTSISHVILI (80kg) also took home gold medals for their efforts, each winning 3-0 in their final’s bouts.
Team Georgia would have won all four medals, were it not for Iannis KARGIOTAKIS (GRE) who used a front head pinch to twist an undersized Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO) for a match-ending three-point move and a spot in the night’s +90kg finals.
Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE) ended Kargiotakis’ upset run, executing a dominating 3-0 performance to take the +90kg title.
On the women’s side the Romanians - who won four gold medals at the 2018 World Championships in Dalyan -- were once again tops in their division, winning three of the event’s four women’s categories.
The small European nation was led by Georgiana FILIP (60kg) who used two takedowns and a three-point throw in the finals to win that match, 5-0.
“We are used to mat wrestling, but we also practice a lot for the beach events,” said Filip. “We are focused on qualification for the World Beach Games and hope to be in Rio for the next World Beach Series event.
The Romanian squad, who is also competing next week at the 2019 European Championships in the Olympic style of women’s wrestling, were boosted by a workwoman-like performance of 50kg megastar Stefania PRICEPUTU. Though shorter than most her opponents, Priceputu used a combination of intensity, heavy hand pressure and snap downs to earn the gold and 1000 CHF.
Greece earned the +70kg title with a comeback performance by Aikaterini PITSIAVA, who trailed 2-0 late in her match with Diana VLASCEANU, but bullied her way to a 3-2 gold medal.
The next stop on the Beach Wrestling World Series will be May 10-11 in Rio de Janerio. The points from the Chaves and Rio stops will be determining which wrestlers and nations qualify for the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in October.