The Romanian crowd turned out in good number as the atmosphere started building nicely as the sand began to fly with the first takedown of the day coming within 13 seconds of the competition starting. With 90 competitors from 16 countries there was a lot of action to watch. Here’s how the first day of the action went down in Constanta -
We start as always with a look at the Women’s -50kg division where hot favourite Stefania Claudia PRICEPUTU (ROU) continued her incredible run of form, winning her first match against Liliana COSTA DOS SANTOS 3-0 in just over a minute before taking only 6 seconds to put Ana Nair MARQUES DIAS on her back for win number two. Emine CATALOGLU (TUR) also won her opener against Ukrainian Tetiana PROFATILOVA, securing the win with 6 seconds remaining before winning her second bout in the afternoon as she put Maria Alexandria CIOCLEA (ROU) to the sword.
In the woman’s -60kg category Anastasiya KRAVCHENKO (UKR) overcame Greece’s Georgia GKOUGKOUDI in a tightly contested bout, edging her out 3-2 with 1:53 on the clock before a dominant performance over Breanna STIKKELMAN (USA) which she won after 52 seconds. Returning Italian Francesca INDELICATO, who missed out on leg 3 in Greece, got straight back into the swing of things as she narrowly took the win against Denisa Iuliana FODOR of the host country Romania and got her second with a win over Andreea Stefania Rebecca BARAGA (ROU).
The women’s -70kg weight class started with a preliminary knock out round where Elena ESPOSITO (ITA) dropped out of the contest with defeat to Paula Aurelia Izabela ROTARU (ROU) as did Zoe Soraya KLUNDER (NED) against Maria Iarisa NITU (ROU) who wasted no time in making the group stage, winning after only 35 seconds.
The group stages saw the winner of the previous 3 legs Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA (UKR) continue her own quest for a four-leg clean sweep with victories over Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU (GRE) and Manon KURY (FRA) whilst Turkey’s Asli TUGCU got her championships off to a winning start with victory over preliminary knock out round winner Paula Aurelia Izabela ROTARU and Sonia Marina PEREIRA BRAZIO (POR).
Ukrainian Iryna PASICHNYK and home sand star Catalina AXENTE (ROU) met in the women’s +70kg division and the home crowd got right behind AXENTE, making a lot of noise as she looked to end PASICHNYK’S dominant performances. It looked like she may have done just that as the home crowd rose to their feet to cheer what they thought was a win for AXENTE but upon a check with the observer sand-side the points were awarded to PASICHNYK. Both fighters picked up wins in their second group matches, with PASICHNYK losing her first point in the Series but coming back to beat Elena Irina MARGAS (ROU) with AXENTE defeating compatriot Diana Elena VLASCEANU.
In leg 2 on home sand in Rome, Enrica RINALDI had secured Italy’s first Beach Wrestling World Series gold and after missing out on Katerini, she wanted to show that she was here to challenge for the top spot again with a win over Tiaira Cournette SCOTT (USA) after only 29 seconds although she had a tougher time of it over Aikaterini Eirini PITSIAVA (GRE) winning courtesy of gaining the last point as it finished 2-2.
The men’s -70kg division saw Levan KELEKHSASHVILI (GEO) continue where he left off as he eyes both gold in the leg, and the overall world championship title with a win over Nikolas DASKOULIDIS (GRE) in his opening bout of the stop and then defeating Volodymyr BURUKOV (UKR). There was also two wins for Yunus COSKUN (TUR) defeating Michael PETERS (USA) and Norbert MOLNOS (ROU).
Fancied French Wrestler Quentin STICKER however suffered an opening defeat to Norbert MOLNOS (ROU) who had come through a preliminary knock out round over Abdellatif MANSOUR (ITA) before rallying to beat PETERS in his second bout.
Another Georgian with Gold on his mind is Davit KHUTSISHVILI (-80kg) whose competition got off to the best possible start with a win over Anthony John RAUPP (USA) and followed it up with an afternoon session win over Gheorge Constantin CONSTANTIN (ROU) but he will face stiff opposition from Ukrainian Vasyl MYKHAILOV, fresh from winning gold in Katerini, who defeated the tenacious Turkish fighter Buluthan OKSUZ in his first match before victory over Dimitar Atanasov ANGELOV (BUL).
Jamal Davon MORRIS (USA) and Abdussamed TURGUT (NED) also won their opening bouts before losing their second to OKSUZ and RAUPP respectively and Azerbaijan’s Omid Abdolali KAMALIAGHDAM is still in the hunt for gold with two wins from two fights giving him a great chance of making the elimination rounds.
Pakistani powerhouse Muhammad INAM (-90kg) had won back-to-back golds in Rome and Katerini but he fell to defeat in his opening round of the groups when he was out manoeuvred by Oleksii YAKOVCHUK (UKR) without earning a point; the man he beat to the Greek gold, Azerbaijani Ibrahim YUSUBOV started his championships with a fine win over Micheil TSIKOVANI (GRE). YUSUBOV and INAM faced each other in the second group match with INAM taking the victory to ensure he goes into tomorrow’s session right in contention.
The heavyweight division (+90kg) saw defending champion and winner at the last stop Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE) start with a fine 5-0 win over Konstantinos FOTIADIS (GRE) in the morning session which he followed up with a 5-1 demolition of Achilleas CHRYSIDIS (GRE) in the afternoon as he also looks to take home series leg, and world championship gold. The main contender for his title, Georgian Mamuka KORDZAIA, picked up two victories as well as he beat Turkey’s Hidayet KURT in a very tight contest, finishing 2-2 but KORDZAIA earning the win after winning the last point, then defeating Loic Dimitri SAMEN (FRA) in his second outing of the stop.
A fantastic day on the sand in magical Mamaia where we were treated not only to world class Beach Wrestling, but also some traditional Romanian Wrestling in an exhibition in the sandy circle, and some traditional Romanian folk dancing much to the delight of the packed arena.
It really is all to grapple for tomorrow where we will find out who the kings and queens of the sands of Constanta and more importantly who will take home the title of World Champion. If you can’t join us in person on the sand, you can join us for all the action from 10am local time on the live stream on the website.