The first stop of the Beach Wrestling World Series 2023 culminated with a day full of thrills, spills, challenges, and surprises. A vibrant crowd gathered sand-side outside the Olympic Training Center in Buenos Aires, and they were treated to an amazing display of suppleness, strength and resolve as almost 130 wrestlers from four continents chased down the gold and those all-important ANOC World Beach Games ranking points.
The record-breaking entry numbers ensured that there would be plenty of Series debuts, and 11 of those debutants made the most of their unknown qualities by taking home medals once the sand settled. Let’s take a look at the action on the final day:
Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU) is known as the "Princess of Power," and as a two-time world champion in the women's 50kg category, she knows her way to gold. After safely navigating her way through the groups and into the final, she blitzed the home sand star Maia CABRERA (ARG), picking up all 3 points within 30 seconds to claim another gold for her collection and get her 2023 season off to the best possible start. Venzuela’s Naiyeliz Silvana GUTIERREZ picked up the bronze with a win over Yusneiry Najai AGRAZAL of Panama.
Karla ACOSTA MARTINEZ of Mexico stunned the current 60kg bronze medallist Elena IONESCU (ROU) with a 3-1 victory in the gold medal match to give her the Series debut of her dreams. Another great debut was made by Betzabeth Angelica AGUELLO VILLEGAS from Venezuela, who finished with a third place.
The women’s 70kg class saw another big win in the when Venezuela’s Astrid MONTERO took home the gold in her first Beach Wrestling World Series event. She defeated the reigning champion Adina IRIMIA of Romania. Colombian Paula Montoya took the bronze, overcoming Hungary’s Viktoria FELHO in the 3-4 final.
It was an all-South American pairing in the final of the women’s 70+ kg division as Tatiana Renteria (COL) and Linda Mahcuca (ARG) would battle it out for the gold with the Colombian proving too much for her Argentinian rival to deal with and scooping the top prize. The 3-4 final saw Genesis REASCO VALDEZ (ECU) waste no time at all in defeating American Eliana BOMMARITO in only seven seconds on her way to the bronze.
The glorious Georgians grip of the men’s divisions shows no sign of loosening anytime soon. They picked up three golds and a silver in the four weight categories.
In the 70 kg category, Levan KELEKHSASHVILI just made it to the finals after using a new option in beach wrestling by calling for a challenge to win a bout where he would have been down 2-0. The Georgian must have been confident that he was right. The rules state that if a challenge is lost, an additional point is added to the opponent's score. A lost challenge would have ended the fight 3:0, but the last point was awarded to the Georgian and the 31-year-old entered the final, much to the annoyance of Stefan COMAN, the losing Romanian.
Kelekhsashvili also called for a challenge in the final against Yunus COSKUN (TUR), but losing that challenge, Coskun's match turned around as he suddenly found himself leading 2-1 after trailing 0-1, with one point awarded for the grounding and another point for the lost challenge. It stayed that way to give the Turkish star an opening leg gold and additional Bali ranking points. Azerbaijan’s Ramiz HASANOV earned himself the bronze as he toppled Coman in the 3-4 final.
Nika KENCHADZE (GEO) has wowed the crowds in the sandy circle since he burst onto the scene last season and the defending 80kg champion continued to impress on his way to picking a gold to start the year, defeating the Japanese Hirotaka ABE within the opening 40 seconds in the final. Venezuela’s Steven RODRIGUES TORREYES defeated the Jamal MORRIS from the US and got himself a bronze medal.
Double Georgian delight in the men's 90 kg division: David KHUTSHISHVILI took bronze after defeating Hungary's Patrik PUESPOEKI despite a heavily bandaged shoulder and Dato PIRUZASHVILI secured gold when he defeated the reigning men's 90kg champion Ibrahim Yusubov, winning 2:3 after trailing 0:2.
It was heartbreak for Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO) in Constanta last season when, despite winning the stop, he lost out on Series gold by a slim margin. In the first-ever beach wrestling event in Argentina, it looked like he would use the disappointment to fuel his fire as he took the first gold of the year with a dominant performance in the men's over 90kg class that culminated in a victory over Venezuela's Jose DIAZ ROBBERTI in the final.
Current world champion Fatih Yasarli, who defeated Azerbaijan’s Oyan NAZARIANI in the quarter finals, will have to be satisfied with a bronze this time after he beat Luc ZANETTON (FRA) in the 3-4 final following his loss to Diaz Robberti in the semis.
What an event as a number of new Kings and Queens of the sand were coronated in brilliant Buenos Aires. A strong showing from the Americas based wrestlers on home sand and some old favourites who keep on delivering the goods.
June 10 and 11 is when more amazing beach wrestling action will unfold and the final ranking points for the ANOC World Beach Games are handed out. It’s the greatest show on sand and it’s heading now to Singapore!
Results Beach Wrestling World Series Buenos Aires
1. Stefania Claudia PRICEPUTU, ROU
2. Maria Abigail CABRERA, ARG
3. Naiyeliz Silvana GUTIERREZ RIVAS, VEN
1. Karla Abigail ACOSTA MARTINEZ, MEX
2. Elena Simona IONESCU, ROU
3. Betzabeth Angelica AGUELLO VILLEGAS, VEN
1. Astrid Paola MONTERO CHIRINOS, VEN
2. Adina Ionela IRIMIA, ROU
3. Paula Andrea MONTOYA GARCIA, COL
1. Tatiana RENTERIA RENTERIA, COL
2. Linda Mariliana MACHUCA, ARG
3. Genesis Rosangela REASCO VALDEZ, ECU
1. Yunus COSKUN, TUR
2. Levan KELEKHSASHVILI, GEO
3. Ramiz HASANOV, AZE
1. Nika KENCHADZE, GEO
2. Hirotaka ABE, JPN
3. Steven Nohel RODRIGUEZ TORREYES, VEN
1. Dato PIRUZASHIVLI, GEO
2. Ibrahim YUSUBOV, AZE
3. Davit KUTSISHVILI, GEO
1. Mamuka KORDZAIA, GEO
2. Jose Daniel DIAZ ROBERTTI, VEN
3. Fatih YASARLI, TUR
Find all results here.