The Italian tifosi cheered their team to new heights in the women’s heavyweight class as Enrica Rinaldi earned the first gold medal in this up-and-coming wrestling style. With the sand flying high during Beach Wrestling’s touch down in Rome’s Lido di Ostia, the atmosphere heightened on the stands as well as within the rings as 28 women and 52 men from 17 nations grappled for gold and glory. Iran and Bulgaria joined the World Series for the first time to mix up the matches while Priceputu and Ozturk have establish themselves as consistent forces with their repeated wins.
2nd straight World Series win for -50kg star Stefania Claudia PRICEPUTU. After her victory in the season opener on the French Riviera mid-July, the ruling Romanian literally left her competition in the dust on the Italian beach. Emine CATALOGLU from Turkey finished second, while France’s Julie Martine SABATIE, runner-up behind the Priceputu in the first event, made it to the podium with a bronze medal.
Mehlika OZTURK from team Turkey also added another victory to her name in the -60kg category. Just like in France, she defeated her Italian competitor Francesca INDELICATO in a heated final fight.
Bulgaria’s Sofiya Hristova GEORGIEVA took the World Series by storm – in March, the 25-year-old freestyle wrestler won one of the bronze medals in the 68 kg event at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series 2021, held only a few kilometers away from the beach where she has now won silver in her beach wrestling debut in the -70kg category.
Beaten only by Alina BEREZHNA, the Ukrainian powerhouse that clean swept her weight class to another World Series win, the Bulgarian is one to watch for future Beach Wrestling competitions.
A fairy tale win for Enrica Rinaldi: the Italian heavyweight wrestler pushed through from a knockout round to the final fight against Bulgaria’s Mariya Gerginova ORYASHKOVA to achieve the maiden medal in gold for the Italian beach wrestling team.
Over to the men’s, the glorious Georgians experienced a day of defeat in Rome this Saturday when Oleksii BORUTA from the Ukrainian team defeated Levan KELEKHSASHVILI in the -70kg category to secure the first of two golds. Only minutes after the first Georgian defeat, Davit KHUTSISHVILI lost his gold medal match against Ukraine’s Vasyl MYKHAILOV in the -80kg category.
The Georgian looked like the clear favourite for the win until 30 seconds before the end of the match, when Khutsishvili popped his shoulder but continued to fight to win the silver in style!
With Muhammad INAM from Pakistan, the -90kg class saw a former Beach Wrestling World Champion stand on top of the podium once again. In his first World Series appearance, the 2018 champion and 2019 ANOC World Beach Games winner showed his title aspirations right from the start. Leaving no room for doubts, Inam marched through to the top spot.
Behind him was Ukraine’s Oleksii YAKOVCHUK in 2nd place, and Mihai Nicolae PALAGHIA from Romania, who edged the reigning World Champion from Georgia, Data MARSAGISHVILI out of the top three.
In the +90kg class, it was plain sailing for Beach Wrestling newcomer Soheil Eisa GHOLIPOURGOUDARZI. From the knockout to the gold medal match, the Iranian wrestler made winning look easy. Only Azerbaijan’s reigning champion Oyan NAZARIANI forced him to display a glimpse of weakness in the semifinal; a tight 1:0 win let the Iranian advance to the final round and his maiden golden glory.
The awards for the top throws of the competition went to Greece’s Micheil TSIKOVANI in the -90kg class and BEREZHNA in the women’s. It was the Ukrainian’s second fan-voted award in a row.
From red hot Rome, the Beach Wrestling World Series heads straight to Katerini, Greece, for the third stop of the 2021 season on September 10 and 11. With back-to-back events, it will be a question of strength and stamina going into the final phase of the year.
Results Beach Wrestling World Series Rome
1. Stefania Claudia PRICEPUTU, ROU
2. Emine CATALOGLU, TUR
3. Julie Martine SABATIE, FRA
1. Mehlika OZTURK, TUR
2. Francesca INDELICATO, ITA
3. Maria Victoria BAEZ DILONE, ESP
1. Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA, UKR
2. Sofiya Hristova GEORGIEVA, BUL
3. Agora PAPAVASILEIOU, GRE
1. Enrica RINALDI, ITA
2. Mariya Gerginova ORYASHKOVA, BUL
3. Catalina AXENTE, ROU
1. Oleksii BORUTA, UKR
2. Levan Kelekhsashvili, GEO
3. Mohammad Ebrahim ZAMANI
1. Vasyl MYKHAILOV, UKR
2. Davit Khutsishvili, GEO
3. Abdollah Shahriar SHEIKHAZAMI, IRI
1. Muhammad INAM, PAK
2. Oleksii YAKOVCHUK, UKR
3. Mihai Nicolae PALAGHIA, ROU
1. Soheil Eisa GHOLIPOURGOUDARZI, IRI
2. Mamuka KORDZAIA, GEO
3. Oyan NAZARIANI, AZE
Go here for the complete results.