Watch full replay coverage of the Under 17 & Under 20's European Championships here.
Alongside the third leg of the Beach Wrestling World Series, St Laurent Du Var was also the venue for the Under 17’s and Under 20’s Beach Wrestling European Championship finals which took place after the Series first day was over, giving those watching at Sandside a glimpse of the stars of the Beach Wrestling future.
In the Under 17’s the women compete in the 40kg, 50kg, 60kg and 70kg weight divisions and the men in the 50kg, 60kg, 70kg and 80kg divisions. In the Under 20’s the weight categories mirror that of the Beach Wrestling World Series where women compete at 50kg, 60kg, 70kg and +70kg and the men at 70kg, 80kg, 90kg and +90kg.
The Under 17’s women’s 40kg final saw Khrystyna LYTKA (UKR) face up against Daniela OJEDA ARANDA (ESP). Despite dropping a very early point after seven seconds to the Spaniard, Lytka took the gold with three quick one point groundings which saw her end the contest after only twenty five seconds.
In the women’s 50kg, there was another Ukrainian gold as Sofiia POREMCHUK (UKR) took home the championship with wins over home-sand protégé Manon COLOMBET and Mara JURADO GIL (ESP). Gil would take the silver after she defeated Colombet with a fine 3-0 win after 1:59’, Colombet claiming the bronze.
The women’s 60kg saw Pau GIMENO FRANCO (ESP) end the Ukrainian gold rush as she defeated Ukrainian silver medallist Maria TIT 4-1 after losing 3-1 to Leana Aurore Clara SIERRA (FRA) in her first bout on her way to the championship. Tit took the silver with a 3-0 victory over Sierra, the point gained against Franco proving vital for the young Ukrainian.
French fans rejoiced over the women’s 70kg, as Lise Nicole Liliane LANDOUZY was crowned European Champion on home sand, losing only one point on her way to the title where she beat Raquel OJEDA SOLAZ (ESP) in the final. Greece’s Foteini NALMPANTI (GRE) picked up the bronze after she lost to Landouzy in the semis.
In the Under 17’s men’s 50kg the gold went to Kyllian Laurent DURANDET, with Lohan DURANDET forfeiting after only 3 seconds, taking home the silver. In the men’s 60kg it was an all-Ukrainian affair in the final. Artem MARTIUSHEV taking home the gold after he beat fellow countryman, Vadym BURLAKA in the final. Gaspard Camille CHEYNOUX (FRA) took the bronze with victory over his compatriot Aram MARGARYAN (FRA).
The Ukrainian men’s team was soon celebrating its second U17’s European Champion as Yurii PYHULSKYI defeated Denis KODAKOV GIL (ESP) in the men’s 70kg division with a 3-1 victory in the gold medal match. Taking home the bronze was Argan Rayan ROUSSET (FRA) after his win over Maksym RUDENKO (UKR) in the 3-4 match.
Having already secured their own U17 men’s European Champion in the 50kg division, France made it two European Champions for 2023. Haik Michel SARGSYAN emphatically defeated Dmytro POSTOVYI (UKR) with a 5-1 win in the gold medal match in the men’s 80kg division. It was bronze for Marat KURBANOV (UKR) after his win over Ioannis TSAKEROPOULOS (GRE) in the 3-4 match.
Buoyed on by the success of the Under 17’s, Ukraine’s Under 20’s women took home the gold in the woman’s 50kg as Yuliia ZASULSKA beat Lola Patricia Martine JACQUINOT (FRA) with a 3-1 victory. In the women’s 60kg there was a five round group to decide this years’ U20’s European Champion and it went to Sofiia KUSHNIR (UKR) who won all four of her matches, beating fellow Ukrainian Sofiia BORDINSKYKH into silver with Lilou DUPINAY (FRA) taking bronze.
Mathilde Evelyne GUEDON (FRA) had taken part in the Senior Beach Wrestling World Series earlier in the day and the French U20’s star was set to take part in day two as an Under 20’s European Champion after she took the gold in the women’s 70kg. Picking up the silver was Ukrainian Anna POSHTAR and the bronze went to Mathilde Marie Odile Eliane GAUMET (FRA).
Ukraine secured three out of the four golds on offer with Taisiia HEHA claiming women’s +70kg title, winning both her bouts. Silver went to Caroline Madeleine Colette BARBEY (FRA) and bronze was taken home by Eftychia Ioanna MOUSTAKA (GRE).
One of the emerging Beach Wrestling nations this season is Moldova and they will be delighted as they return to their homeland with a newly crowned 70kg men’s U20’s European Champion after Pavel GRAUR (MDA) won 2-0 in the gold medal match versus Maksym SHKOLNIAK (UKR). Ilias Rafail KARNAVAS (GRE) beat Artur VELINSKYI (UKR) to take home the bronze.
Moldova added their second U20’s European champion when Traian CAPATINA was crowned the men’s 80kg champion, beating off competition from Nikita KANEVSKYI (UKR) who took silver and Rolan ARNTASEV ARDASHEV (GRE) who had to settle for bronze after a 5 round group stage decided the championship.
It would have been a tragedy for Greece had they gone home from the Championships without gold, but Angelos APOSTOLIDIS made sure they brought the goods home when he triumphed in the men’s 90kg. Ukrainian pair Kostiantyn ZADOIANCHUK and Bohdan KYRYLENKO also made the podium taking silver and bronze respectively.
The last word in the Championships would go to Ukraine as Dmytro HAMILOVSKYI was crowned +90kg champion fighting off the challenge of France’s Fares BENAHMED who took silver and Hamilovskyi’s fellow countryman Tymur SAMEDOV who finished with bronze.
It was fast and furious in the sandy circle throughout the entire U17 and U20’s European Championships and that can only bode well for the future of the sport as the young athletes put on a fantastic show. Keep an eye out for some of the names from the tournament as they look to break into the senior teams and become mainstays in what is the greatest show on sand.