There was a rain-delayed start to the penultimate leg of the Beach Wrestling World Series here on the beautiful sandy Paralia Beach in Katerini but it did little to dampen the spirits of either the wrestlers or fans when the sand eventually started to fly.
The princess of power, Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU 50kg) made a winning comeback from the injury that saw her miss out the leg in France last week. There was also a win in the same division for Cristina ANDUJAR OJEDA (ESP) who beat the bronze medallist from France Laura White (USA).
Team Ukraine have been strong in the women’s 60kg and it looked like they will be the team to beat again with first round wins for both Daria MEDVETSKA and Iryna KHARIV CHYKHRADZE as well as for Elena Simona IONESCU (ROU) and Aurore CABANNE (FRA) who had to also win a qualifier to take her place in the groups.
Much to the delight of the strong Greek contingent of fans, coaches and wrestlers Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU got off to a winning start in the women’s 70kg; this category also saw wins for Adina Ionela IRIMIA (ROU) and another strong Ukrainian pair of Yuliia KREMEZNA MALYK and Olena NIKITINSKA.
Catalina AXENTE (ROU) continued her good form in the women’s +70kg division with a win over home sand star and last leg’s bronze medallist Stefania ZACHEILA; however, there was no opening round victory for another home sand favourite, Aikaterini Eirini PITSIAVA, who was beaten well by Liudmyla PAVLOVETS TYCHYNA (UKR).
In the men’s 70kg the glorious Georgian Levan KELEKHSASHVILI defeated 3-time 2022 Series bronze medallist Ramiz HASANOV (AZE) in his opening round match; a round that also saw wins for Stefan Ionut COMAN (ROU) and Nahim CHELIT (FRA).
The 80kg weight category saw 2021 World and European Championship bronze medallist Nika KENTCHADZE (GEO) pick up a win over compatriot Zurabi ERBOTSONASHVILI whilst his main rival for the 80kg crown, Omid Abdolali KAMALIAGHDAM (AZE) also won his opener as he beat Spain’s Pablo GARCIA GARCIA.
The top two in the men’s 90kg division Ibrahim YUSUBOV (AZE) and current 80kg World Champion Davit KHUTSISHVILI (GEO) will be happy with their day’s work, both picking up opening round wins over Mathis Damien Leon MAYRAND (FRA) and Dato PIRUZASHVILI (GEO) respectively.
The heavyweight division (+90kg) saw defending champion Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO) open his weekend’s account with a win over Greece’s Rafail GKIRNIS, who had taken bronze on the Côte D’Azur last week as well wins for Richard VEGH (HUN), Vasile Vlad CARAS (ROU) and Niazi IMPIS (GRE).
It’s all to wrestle for tomorrow with the conclusion of the groups in the morning session, followed by the all-important finals in the afternoon and we can’t wait for you to join us either sand side to take in that special Beach Wrestling vibe or following all the action live on beachwrestling.org to see who takes home the golds and who adds more ANOC World Beach Games ranking points to their points generated in France.