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Impressive India to equal Turkish hosts’ medal table in Beach Wrestling debut

May 29, 2022
Romania continues to be the commanding force in the women’s Beach Wrestling World Series as Hungary claims copious championships points in their first showing during the opener of the 2022 World Series in Ortaca, Turkey.

The medals have been handed out and the sands of Sarigerme are slowly settling after two days of brilliant beach wrestling in the scorching Turkish Sun. With the group stages concluding in the morning session, it was finals time come the afternoon and the first winners of 2022 would become apparent with upsets and debut wins the story of the day.

The women’s 50kg division saw last years series gold and silver medalists Stefanie PRICEPUTU (ROU) and Emine CATALOGU (TUR) make their way to the final match and it was the princess of power Priceputu who once again came out on top to claim the gold with the home sand star Catalogu picking up silver. Indian Nisha TOMAR, making her debut in the series defeated fellow newcomer Bianka RECZI (HUN) to the bronze.

Iryna CHYKHRADZE (UKR) had impressed on day 1 in the 60kg division and she didn’t disappoint on day 2 as she breezed through to the final without dropping a point where she would face Preeti PREETI (IND) who was making her series debut. It was CHYKHRADZE who would come out on top and claim gold for Ukraine with Preeti taking home silver. Hungarian Nikolett SZABO claimed the bronze with a victory over Elena IONESCU (ROU).

Stefania Claudia Priceputu (L) of Romania competes against Emine Cataloglu of Turkey during the final day of the first stop of the UWW Beach Wrestling World Series at Sarigerme, Turkey on May 29, 2022.

Another female who had caught the eye on the first day was the Romanian Adina IRIMIA in the 70kg class and her fine form continued on finals day as she eased into the final to face Viktoria FELHO (HUN) and took home the gold with a dominant display in a 3-0 win. The home sand nation had to settle for bronze in an all Turkish bronze medal match where Hatice TEKIN beat compatriot Ozlem SIMSEK to clinch third place.

Defending woman’s +70kg champ Catalina AXENTE (ROU) showed why she is champion as she lifted the gold without losing a single point in her 4 bouts as she ended the golden dreams of Pooja POOJA (IND) who made it a third medal for the debutants from India in the woman’s division. Greece’s Stefania ZACHEILA grabbed Greece’s first medal of this series with a bronze after she defeated Aysegul OZBEGE.

Adina Ionela Irimia (R) of Romania competes against Viktoria Felho of Hungary during the final day of the first stop of the UWW Beach Wrestling World Series at Sarigerme, Turkey on May 29, 2022.

Meanwhile over in the men’s division, Levan KELEKHSASHVILI (GEO) has won back to back World Series titles and as the 2022 edition started it looked like business as usual as the 30-year-old athlete made his way into the final without much fuss; however the glorious Georgian will have to make do with silver at this stop as he was defeated in the final by Raviraj Dharmraj CHAVAN who became India’s first ever Beach Wrestling World Series gold medallist in their first ever event. Azerbaijan’s Ramiz HASABOV took the bronze with victory over Fatih ONALAN (TUR).

The Georgians have a great record in the Series and Nika KENCHADZE became the latest to take home a gold, this time in the 80kg division as he beat Csaba VIDA (HUN) in the final having beaten the fancied Omid Abdolali KAMALIAGHDAM (AZE) in the semi final. KAMALIAGHDAM would take home the bronze after victory over Tajikistan debutant Somonjon IKROMOV in the 3/4th placed match. 

Ramiz Hasanov of Azerbaijan reacts during the final day of the first stop of the UWW Beach Wrestling World Series at Sarigerme, Turkey on May 29, 2022.

The outcome of the mens 90kg was anyone’s guess and there was a shock as the group stages ended when last years 80kg champion David KHUTSISHVILI, who had stepped up a weight class this time round, was beaten in his final group match by Patrik PUESPOEKI (HUN) and exited the competition before the finals. The final itself saw PUESPOEKI take on World Series 2021 silver medallist Ibrahim YUSUBOV (AZE) and it was the Azerbaijani who would be celebrating gold at the end having scored the last point in a 1-1 tie. Muhammad INAM (PAK) got himself back on the podium to pick up a bronze with a win over Mahmut Seyfi OZKAYA (TUR).

The heavyweight division (+90kg) has been a straight shootout between Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO) and ’The Big Gun' Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE) over the past two editions and few would have bet against both men competing in the gold medal match this time around after good showings on day one, but come the final neither man would be taking part after they both lost their semi finals; this was much to the delight of the home sand crowd as two Turkish heavyweights in Fatih YASARLI and Hidayet KURT faced off for gold with YASARLI getting the win. KORDZAIA took home the bronze after a muscle injury suffered at the end of yesterday’s second group stage match proved too painful for NAZARIANI to continue to fight on with. 

Ibrahim Yusubov (C-R) of Azerbaijan competes against Patrik Puespoeki of Hungary during the final day of the first stop of the UWW Beach Wrestling World Series at Sarigerme, Turkey on May 29, 2022.

The top technique awards were awarded to newcomer Bianka RECZI from Hungary for her round 3 takedown of Aysun SEVINGEN (TUR) in the women’s 50kg category. In the men’s, this fan vote went to Greece’s Christos Christoforidis (80kg) for throwing Mukhammed ALIIEV (UKR) on his back.

What an opening leg of the World Series and what a debut by the incredible Indians as they take home a total of one gold, two silvers and a bronze, not a bad haul for their first ever Beach Wrestling World Series event.

The Series now heads for Silgar beach in Sanxenxo, Spain, for the second stop on the 18th and 19th June. Can the medallists from stop one continue their winning ways or will there be revenge on the minds of those who lost out this time. Theres only one way to find out!

Results Beach Wrestling World Series Ortaca 2022

  1. Stefania Claudia PRICEPUTU, ROU
  3. Nisha TOMAR, IND


  2. Preeti PREETI, IND
  3. Nikolett SZABO, HUN


  1. Adina Ionela IRIMIA, ROU
  2. Viktoria FELHO, HUN
  3. Hatice Ece TEKIN, TUR


  1. Catalina AXENTE, ROU
  2. Pooja POOJA, IND
  3. Stefania ZACHEILA, GRE


  1. Raviraj Dharmraj CHAVAN, IND
  3. Ramiz HASANOV, AZE


  2. Csaba VIDA, HUN
  3. Omid Abdolali KAMALIAGHDAM, AZE


  1. Ibrahim YUSUBOV, AZE
  2. Patrik PUESPOEKI, HUN
  3. Muhammad INAM, PAK


  1. Fatih YASARLI, TUR
  2. Hidayet KURT, TUR
  3. Mamuka KORDZAIA, GEO

Full results here

Watch all matches from the first stop on our YT channel. 

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