Our wrestlers are sand superstars, but they are also pretty handy on the more traditional mats themselves and they have been fine tuning their techniques.
Our 50kg queen of the sand Stefania PRINCEPUTU (ROU) took part in the U23 World Championships in Serbia in November and the pint size powerhouse landed a bronze medal, having lost in the quarter finals to eventual gold medalist Emily Shilson (USA), before bouncing back with victory over German Lisa Ersel in the repechage, then Tunisian Sarra Hamdi in the Bronze medal match. She’ll be hoping that her medal rush continues as she comes back to defend her World Series title.
Queen of the Sand at 60kg, Francesca INDELICATO (ITA), has spent her downtime from the series like most of our athletes working hard in the gym, making sure her body is in the best condition it can be for the rigours of the tour and defending her world title. She’s also taken part in Powerlifting competitions and recently she took part in the Deadlift Cup in Turin, Italy where she lifted a very impressive 142.50 kg, more than double her own bodyweight. She will face a tougher task to retain her title with her missing the first stop and will be hoping she can make up the points quickly.
Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA (UKR) managed a clean sweep of the 70kg division in last year’s series and it would have taken a brave person to bet against her doing so again but it looks like, for very happy reasons, we may be crowning a new 70kg queen of the sand as she will miss competing in the series as she has recently shared the news that she is with child. She will still be with the tour as she is now also the head coach of the Ukrainian Woman’s Beach Wrestling team.
Catalina AXENTE (ROU) took gold in front of her compatriots on the sands of Constanta in the +70kg division and her thirst for medals didn’t diminish with her World Beach Gold as she took part in the European Senior Wrestling Championships in Budapest in March where she made it to the bronze medal match. Sadly, for Catalina she was beaten to the bronze by a familiar face in Erica RINALDI, who became Italy’s first ever gold medallist at the Beach Wrestling World Series back on home sand in Rome last series but that will only fuel her fire as she defends her title this time around.
70kg Men’s World Champion Levan KELEKHSASHVILI (GEO) swept aside the opposition in the 2021 edition of the series to retain the title he had won in the 2019 edition, making him a back-to-back World Champion and the golden Georgian will be looking to make it a three-peat. He’s kept himself ticking over by taking part in the Georgian National Championships as well as the Yasar Dogu Tournament in Istanbul where he made the quarter finals before being beaten by eventual winner Iranian Amir Mohammad YAZDANI, who is also taking part in the Series this season.
Ukrainian Vasyl MYKHAILOV (80kg) joined compatriot Alina Makhynia in taking gold in the 2021 edition of the series and the king of the sand who finished 10th in the Summer Olympics of 2021 in Tokyo has maintained his golden taste, winning the Ukrainian Freestyle wrestling championship in January of this year.
2012 Olympic Bronze medallist Dato MARSAGISHVILI (GEO) was our 90kg king of the sand last time around, however there will be a new king crowned come the climax of this season’s Series after we received word that he would not be competing this year, having already retired from Olympic team consideration in the run up to Tokyo 2021. The 31-year-old is a back-to-back Beach Wrestling World Series champion and has provided us with many memories to be thankful for.
Dato’s fellow countryman Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO) pipped Azerbaijan’s Oyan NAZARIANI to the +90kg Series gold in the 2021 edition and the Georgian heavyweight will be looking to retain his title this time around. He has been working hard behind the scenes keeping himself fit and ready for the challenge ahead as he looks to replicate his fellow Golden Georgians Kelekhsashvili and Marsagishvili in becoming a Beach Wrestling Back-to-Back World Series Champion.
Will all the hard work and preparations by our kings and queens of the sands be enough or will a new group of champions be coronated when the sand settles in Constanta at the end of the 5th stop. Join us every step of the way as the 2022 edition of the Beach Wrestling World Series gets underway tomorrow.