The second day in St. Laurent Du Var started with the rain falling in the early morning but come the closing ceremony the only substance falling from the sky was champagne as our Kings and Queens of the Sand were coronated ending a fantastic French leg of the Beach Wrestling World Series which was also part of the St Laurent Du Var Beach Sports Festival.
Prior to this leg, French women’s +70kg star Angelique GONZALEZ had only picked up one win in her opening 2 legs of this year’s Series but with the brilliant French crowd behind her, she leaves St. Laurent Du Var as a gold medallist and the winner of the women’s top technique award as she smashed her way through her opponents on day 2 after a win and a draw on day 1. Liudmyla TCHYNA (UKR) picked up silver and Stefania ZACHEILA (GRE) took the bronze as they fought it out over 5 rounds.
Emine CATALOGLU had started the third leg of the women’s 50kg in fine form and the Turkish tornado swept her way through the remainder of the event in much the same fashion as she defeated Cristina OJEDA (ESP) in the semi-final before taking only 1 minute 52 seconds to claim her first gold of this year’s World Series. Ukrainian Yuliia ZASULSKA may have been unable to weather the sandstorm blown up by her opponent, but she will go home with a silver medal for her efforts in the Beach Wrestling World Series and as an U20’s European Champion after her victory last night in the same weight division. Justine VIGEROUX gave the home crowd reason to cheer as she landed the first medal of the day for Team France with a bronze.
France had brought a large squad of both male and female wrestlers with them as they looked to use their home sand to their advantage, and they were guaranteed to add to their medal count in the women’s 60kg when Joséphine HAEMMERLE faced Aurore CABANNE in the 3-4 match. Haemmerle took the win on this occasion. The gold medal match was an all-Ukrainian affair with Daria MEDVETSKA taking on another newly crowned U20 European Champion in Sofiia KUSHNIR. Medvestska would take home the gold, but she was pushed all the way by Kushnir as she won 2-0 in a bout that lasted the full three minutes.
The final of the women’s 70kg saw the same two wrestlers take part with the same outcome as Ukrainian pair Oksana HERHEL and Olena NIKITINSKA faced off in the sandy circle for the gold medal and Herhel emerged victorious courtesy of a 3-0 win with only 1:15 gone on the clock. They were joined on the podium by Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU (GRE) who bagged herself a bronze with victory over French U20 European Champion Mathilde GUEDON in the 3-4 bout.
With the stage set for a great final day of wrestling on Cousteau Beach on beautiful white sand, which protects the wrestlers as it doesn’t get too hot regardless of the air temperature, and the hot summer sun shining down on the enthusiastic crowd, the elimination round got underway also in the men’s division.
In the 70kg category there was a shock elimination in the groups as reigning three-time Beach Wrestling World Champion Levan KELEKSHASHVILI (GEO) failed to qualify despite winning his last remaining group tie in the morning session. Lcoal hero Quentin STICKER had given the home crowd lots to cheer about over the two days and was unlucky not to take home a medal after Ramiz HASANOV (AZE) beat him to the bronze with a 2-0 win in the 3-4 match. Oleksii BORUTA has been flying this year and the Ukrainian maintained perfect altitude as he picked up his 2nd win of the Series with a 2-0 victory over the winner of the 1st leg of the Series Yunus COSKUN (TUR) to take the gold and pick up maximum Series ranking points.
Having tasted defeat for the first time in almost two Beach Wrestling World Series editions on the first day here at Cousteau Beach on Thursday, Georgian 80kg superstar Nika KENTCHADZE had revenge on his mind. Despite being pegged back after going 1-0 up in the final the Golden Georgian exacted his revenge on Moldovan Vasile DIACON in the gold medal match to make it three for three in this edition of the Series with a resounding 4-1 win. 2021 World Champion Vasyl MYKHAILOV had won silver in Singapore on his return to the ring after a year out but would have to make do with bronze this time out after losing to Kentchadze in the semi’s before beating Hugo CUENOT (FRA) in the 3-4 match.
Defending men’s 90kg champion Ibrahim YUSUBOV had yet to taste gold this season having won silver in Buenos Aires and bronze in Singapore. He faced a massive hurdle in the semi-final in the shape of Georgian Dato PIRUZASHVILI who had won the opening two legs this year and you could see the golden glint in his eye as he overcame the Georgian to set up a final with Singapore silver medallist Mahmut OZKAYA. Yusubov wasted no time in clinching the win as he wrapped up the gold in just 1:19. Ozkaya could console himself on losing out on the gold with a silver and also a trophy for winning the top technique award. Piruzashvili dusted himself down from his semi-final disappointment to regroup and take the bronze with a win over Demid KARACHENKO (UKR).
In the men’s +90kg, reigning champion Fatih YASARLI (TUR) and Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO), who has won the opening two legs in 2023 are usually always in contention for the medals and it was no different on the French Riviera. The surprising thing was that it was the first final of the season where they had faced each other. Yasarli had taken bronze in Argentina but failed to get out of the groups in Singapore and that disappointment must have provided the momentum he needed as he ended Kordzaia’s winning run with a 2-1 win in a close gold medal encounter. “The Big Gun” Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE) has been fighting his way back to fitness after a bad injury ended last year’s campaign early and he will be delighted to be back amongst the medals as he took home the bronze beating Ukrainian Dmytro HAMILOVSKYI.
Another amazing day on the Cote D’Azur as the first European leg winners were coronated. The St Laurent Du Var Beach Sport Festival couldn’t have got off to a better start. Next stop for our sand stars is Bali for the ANOC Beach World Games as the Beach Wrestling World Series takes a short summer break before returning to Constanta in Romania for the 4th and penultimate leg of 2023 on the 9-10th of September.
Results Beach Wrestling World Series Saint Laurent du Var
- Emine CATALOGLU (TUR)
- Yuliia ZASULSKA (UKR)
- Justine VIGEROUX (FRA)
- Daria MEDVETSKA (UKR)
- Sofiia KUSHNIR (UKR)
- Joséphine HAEMMERLE (FRA)
- Oksana HERHEL (UKR)
- Olena NIKITINSKA (UKR)
- Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU (GRE)
- Angelique GONZALEZ (FRA)
- Liudmyla TYCHYNA (UKR)
- Stefania ZACHEILA (GRE)
- Oleksii BORUTA (UKR)
- Yunus COSKUN (TUR)
- Ramiz HASANOV (AZE)
- Nika KENTCHADZE (GEO)
- Vasile DIACON (MDA)
- Vasyl MYKAHILOV (UKR)
- Ibrahim YUSUBOV (AZE)
- Mahmut Seyfi OZKAYA (TUR)
- Dato PIRUZASHVILI (GEO)
- Fatih YASARLI (TUR)
- Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO)
- Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE)
Find the complete results here.