72 athletes (40 men and 32 woman) from 13 nations, including 5 nations who had never entered before took to the sand in soaring temperatures.
In sensational sunshine a vibrant crowd watched as the sands started to fly and the feel-good factor sand side was helped with music and that special beach wrestling atmosphere; and they were treated to some top-quality beach wrestling action as the World Series got started. Here’s a rundown of how day 1 of the 2022 series went:
Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU) and home sand star Emine CATALOGLU (TUR 50kg) continued their great runs of form as they both won their two opening matches of the series.
Iryna CHYKHRADZE (UKR) also made a great start to her series with three wins, including a qualifier as did India’s first competitor in the women’s 60kg division with Preeti PREETI winning two of her 3 matches with a defeat to the hands of the impressive CYKHRADZE.
Adina IRIMIA (ROU) and Hatice Ece TEKIN (TUR) showed their prowess in the sandy circle in the woman’s 70kg division by both winning their opening two bouts, with Irimia still to lose a point in the series.
Defending +70kg champion Catalina AXENTE (ROU) got her defence off to a strong start with 2 victories as did Ayesgul OZBEGE (TUR) much to the delight of the home sand crowd, cheering along as she beat compatriot Havva DURAN and greek Aikaterni PITISAVA.
Over in the men’s, the glorious Georgians won three of the four World Series golds in the 2021 edition and 70kg men’s champ Levan KELEKHSASHVILI had a strong win over Rubali IBRAHIMLI (AZE) and beat Fatih ONALAN (TUR) to start with two wins out of two. Indian Raviraj Dharmraj CHAVAN also picked up two wins in his two first ever Beach Wrestling World Series bouts.
Somonjon IKROMOV (80kg, TJK) also got his and Tajikistan’s first ever World Series event off to a flier with a 100%-win record at the end of day one, as did Nika KENCHADZE (GEO).
Having won gold in the Series last year in the 80kg division, Georgian David KHUTSISHVILI has stepped up to the 90kg class but didn’t get off to the best of starts as last year’s silver medallist Ibrahim YUSUBOV (AZE) handed him a defeat in his opening bout before he rallied to beat event newcomer Robin SINGH (IND) and there was a return to winning ways for Pakistan’s Muhammad INAM as he won both of his openers. YUSUBOV having won his first bout was beaten by another newcomer in Hungarian Patrik PUESPOEKI in a division that is wide open going into day two.
Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO) and ‘The Big Gun’ Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE) are the top two in the +90kg division and they showed why, both winning their two matches of the day.
It’s been a superb return to action, and we can’t wait to see who comes out on top tomorrow as the medals are handed out and our first winners emerge. Who comes out on top? Tune in tomorrow for more from the greatest show on sand from 7:00 am GMT!
Watch all matches from Day 1 on our YT channel.