The magical Mamaia Beach, Constanta is the setting, where not only the champions of the 4th stop of the Beach World Series would be crowned but also the overall World Champions claimed their titles after a fantastic four stops in the 2021 edition of the Series. With triple ranking points on offer a win on Mamaia could prove vital in the hunt for the World titles.
Having thrilled in France, inspired in Italy, and gripped the crowds in Greece it all came down to who would be left rejoicing in Romania after the sand had settled. Here’s how day 2 unfolded as champions were crowned and legends created!
The group stages reached a quick conclusion in the women’s -50kg division with home sand star and odds-on favourite for both event and world gold Stefania Claudia PRICEPUTU breezing into the semi-final with another quick win to add to the two from yesterday. Joining her in the semis were Emine CATALOGLU (TUR), Tetiana PROFATILOVA (UKR) and Karalina TJAPKO (LAT).
PRICEPUTU faced PROFATILOVA for a place in the final with a clean sweep of all four series events a step closer. With 18 seconds of the bout gone it looked like the home crowd favourite was headed for another quick win as she put the first point on the board, but it turned out to be far from the case as PROFATILOVA proved a much tougher prospect holding her own throughout but she failed to overturn the early deficit and PRICEPUTU advanced to the final.
The other semi-final saw CATALOGLU face TJAPKO and it was the Turk who would make it through to face PRICEPUTU as she scored a 3-0 win. The first point coming after 30 seconds. TJAPKO fought well, almost pulling it back before two quick points in succession gave CATALOGLU the win and a repeat of the final in the last stop would decide who took home the gold.
The bronze medal bout saw Latvian Karalina TJAPKO take on Ukrainian Tetiana PROFATILOVA and it was TJAPKO who took the early lead after only 20 seconds, but PROFITALOVA came storming back to win the bronze, levelling with a minute and a half remaining before securing a 3-1 win with 30 seconds left on the clock
The final between PRICEPUTU and CATALOGLU was a classic, neither woman giving an inch and the points were flying almost as much as the sand as PRICEPUTU took the lead after only six seconds, CATALOGLU came straight back with a point of her own after 20 seconds before taking the lead 6 seconds later. The pace never gave up and with one minute and six seconds left the home crowd roared as the Princess of Power PRICEPUTU came back to 2-2 and the noise was even louder as the Princess became Queen as she took down CATALOGLU for the 3-2 victory with only six seconds remaining on the clock.
A clean sweep of all four legs means that PRICEPUTU was crowned Beach Wrestling World Champion and to do it on home sand will make an already amazing achievement that little bit more special.
In the Woman’s -60kg division the group stages concluded with wins for Francesca INDELICATO (ITA), Georgia GKOUGKOUDI (GRE) and Denisa Iuliana FODOR (ROU) which saw them reach the semi-final stages alongside Anastasiya KRAVCHENKO (UKR) who was looking to replicate her series win in Greece.
INDELICATO was in no mood to stay in the sand circle for any length of time as she powered through to the final taking only 26 seconds to end Georgia GKOUGKOUDI’s hopes of gold for the series event.
In the other ring the home crowd were screaming support for Denisa Iuliana FODOR (ROU) as she faced KRAVCHENKO. Much to the crowd’s delight she took a 2-1 lead with 34 seconds remaining and as the clock ticked down it looked like the Ukrainian’s quest for the win may have been coming to an end but with 11 seconds to go, she levelled at 2-2 before securing victory with a three-point throw with only six seconds remaining to make the final.
The Bronze was settled in spectacular fashion as Georgia GKOUGKOUDI came from 2-0 down against Denisa Iuliana FODOR, firstly by scoring a point with 1:46 left on the clock, before wowing the crowds with a 3-point throw to win 4-2.
In the final Francesca INDELICATO and Anastasiya KRAVCHENKO locked horns and despite their best efforts neither woman could take the other down and the bout finished 0-0 therefore it was IDELICATO who was awarded the gold as the lightest competitor becoming only the second Italian to win gold in a Beach Wrestling World Series event.
She may have been the second Italian to win gold in an event, but Francesca made history of her own as she was crowned the World Champion with the victory in Rome and silver medals in both France and Rome enough to see her take home World Championship Gold becoming the first Italian to do so much to her and the Italian Beach Wrestling team’s delight.
It wasn’t just Stefania PRINCEPUTU (ROU) looking to complete a Series clean sweep here in Constanta, as Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA (UKR, -70kg) targeted the same achievement and as the groups ended it was almost mission completed as she had reached the semi-finals alongside Adina Ionela IRIMIA (ROU), Asli TUGCU (TUR), and Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU (GRE).
Standing between Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA and the final match was Adina Ionela IRIMIA but with laser sharp focus on the gold, the Ukrainian swept aside the challenge after only 36 seconds. She would be facing Katerini stop bronze medallist, Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU, after the Greek grappler defeated Turkey’s TUGCU in just under a minute.
The bronze medal match saw Asli TUGCU up against Adina Ionela IRIMIA and it was the Turkish fighter who came out on top winning a closely fought match to ensure her place on the podium.
It was all about Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA and her domination in the final as she decimated her opponent Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU in 50 seconds to claim her fourth straight Beach Wrestling World Series gold and cemented her place as the -70kg women’s Queen of the Sand winning her first Beach Wrestling World Championship gold.
The women’s +70 kg semis pitted Catalina AXENTE of Romania against Enrica RINALDI of Italy and Iryna PASICHNYK of Ukraine opposite to Beste CIVELEK ALTUG of Turkey with AXENTE and PASICHNYK winning to set up a winner takes all final leaving RINALDI and CIVELEK ALTUG to battle for Bronze and it was the Italian who won the medal with a 2-1 victory.
PASICHNYK had lost only one point in the tournament so far and knew that victory against AXENTE would give her double gold in Constanta, but with the backing of the rowdy Romanian home crowd AXENTE more than rose to the occasion and took the lead after a minute and 28 seconds before throwing PASICHNYK onto her back for a three-point award and gold.
The victory was enough to see AXENTE scoop not only event victory but would see her take the World Championship title over her Ukrainian opponent much to the delight of her compatriots in the Mamaia arena.
In the men’s -70kg division the groups ended with Levan KELEKHSASHVILI (GEO), Volodymyr BURUKOV (UKR), Oleksii BORUTA (UKR), and Yunus COSKUN (TUR) making the semi-finals with KELEKHSASHVILI closing in on the World Title.
Volodymyr BURUKOV provided the opposition for the Georgian in the semi-final, but he was powerless to stop his opponent from reaching another series event final despite claiming the first point of the bout with 1:54 remaining but 10 seconds later KELEKHSASHVILI levelled before two quick points saw him reach the final with 1:56 left on the clock.
Yunus COSKUN and Oleksii BORUTA faced off in the second semi-final and it would be COSKUN who would eventually reach the final in a very closely contested fight where neither man could be separated, finishing 2-2 with COKSUN getting the win as he was the last person to score a point.
The bronze medal match would have saw BURUKOV and BORUTA battle it out, but BURUKOV conceded the match which saw BORUTA claim the medal and overall silver medal in the Series.
Levan KELEKHSASHVILI went into the final knowing victory would surely see him crowned as back-to-back World Champion and after a start that saw both he and COSKUN get a feel for each other’s tactics, the Georgian landed his first point with a minute remaining before sealing the event and World Championship gold as he got a second point with only 40 seconds remaining.
Winning a World Championship is hard, but retaining one is special and the golden Georgian KELEKHSASHVILI has done just that with his second title in a row.
Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR, -80kg) had claimed the gold in Katerini and he booked his place in the semi-finals of this event winning all three of his group matches. He was joined in the elimination stages by Davit KHUTSISHVILI (GEO), Vasile Madalin MINZALA (ROU), and Omid Abdolali KAMALIAGHDAM (AZE). The semi-finals were tense tactical affairs in both rings as KHUTSISHVILI faced off against MINZALA with MYKHAILOV taking on KAMALIAGHDAM.
MYKHAILOV put his first point on the board with 1:29 remaining. KAMALIAGHDAM levelled the scoreboard with 45 seconds to go but the Ukrainian wrapped up his place in the final with only 17 seconds remaining to win 2-1.
He would be facing Davit KHUTSISHVILI in the final after the Georgian defeated MINZALA with a 2-0 victory taking the lead with just over a minute left and then confirming his place with a nice takedown within the final 20 seconds.
The bronze would be Omid Abdolali KAMALIAGHDAM’s to take back to Baku as he triumphed against overall World Championship Bronze medalist Vasile Madalin MINZALA, ending the contest with just over a minute on the countdown clock.
Vasyl MYKHAILOV was not only in the hunt for more event gold but following wins in France and Greece, the World Championship was in his sights and having taken an early lead over Davit KHUTSISHVILI in the final, he realised his World Championship dreams with a second point ending the Georgian’s reign and himself becoming the King of the Sand.
Having won back-to-back golds in the previous two stops Pakistan’s Muhammad INAM would have been a good choice to claim gold in Constanta but following an opening day loss and two victories he was knocked out of the competition at the group stages. Going through to the semi-finals were Dato MARSAGISHVILI (GEO), Mahmut Seyfi OZKAYA (TUR), Ibrahim YUSUBOV (AZE), and Oleksii YAKOVCHUK (UKR).
Defending World Champion MARSAGISHVILI took on Oleksii YAKOVCHUK for a place in the final and it literally went right down to the wire as they battled to the last second at 1-1, YAKOVCHUK almost snatching it in the very millisecond, but the end whistle had sounded before he took his Georgian opponent out of the sandy circle. MARSAGISHVILI advanced to the final courtesy of scoring the last point of the match.
The second semi saw ANOC Beach Games silver medalist YUSUBOV face OZKAYA and it was the Azerbaijani athlete who advanced to face MARSAGISHVILI in the final with a 3-0 victory.
Oleksii YAKOVCHUK took home the bronze for the event which also saw him place in the bronze medal spot for the World Championships. This time the countdown clock was his friend as with 0.5 seconds remaining, he levelled at 1-1 and as per the last point tie-break rule the 3rd place was the Ukrainians.
It was too tight to make a call before the final as both MARSAGISHVILI and YUSUBOV had been in great form all weekend and in a pulsating final the big Georgian took the lead after 23 seconds but YUSUBOV dusted himself down to come back and level fifteen or so seconds later before taking the lead shortly after and then sealing the gold for Azebaijan with 27 seconds showing on the countdown clock.
It was a blow for the defending champion, however his disappointment at losing the event was soon forgotten as it emerged that he had retained his crown as the Beach Wrestling World Champion, adding to the crown he won in 2019 and making it a double world gold for the Glorious Georgians with KELEKHSASHVILI’s win in the -70kg division.
The +90kg weight class group stages saw the main contenders for gold all safely through as defending World Champion Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE), Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO), Ivan MALIN (UKR) and Vasile Vlad CARAS (ROU) all made the elimination stages.
The semi-finals saw KORDZAIA edge out MALIN 1-0 whilst NAZARIANI secured a 3-0 victory over CARAS to set up a final showdown between the two world championship main contenders.
CARAS made sure there was more joy for the home crowd as he scooped bronze with a last point scored tie break win over MALIN, a result that saw him finish 3rd in the season rankings and claim overall bronze.
The final was a tense affair, both men not wanting to give the other any kind of advantage however it was back-to-back golds for Azerbaijan as the Big Gun NAZARIANI timed his tactics perfectly with two points in the last minute of the contest.
A bittersweet victory for NAZARIANI it turned out as he missed out on becoming a two-time Beach Wrestling World Series Champion by 2000 ranking points, a visa issue stopping him from competing in France but despair at losing the final in Constanta turned to joy for Mamuka KORDZAIA who dethroned the Azerbaijani to make sure of a triple world championship gold for Georgia as their dominance of the men’s competitions continued for another year.
It’s been a sensational 2021 Beach Wrestling World Series with eight World Champions taking the gold back to their homelands. We hope you can join us next year as it looks to come back even bigger and even better so keep your eyes peeled for details of the next Series.