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2019 World Championships: 53kg Women’s Freestyle Preview

Hildebrandt_Sarah

photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Women’s Freestyle 53 kg Preview

Days of competition: Preliminaries-Semifinals: Tuesday, September 17th; Finals: Wednesday, September 18th

Seeds: #1 Sarah Hildebrandt (USA); #2 Qianyu Pang (China); #3 Diana Weicker (Canada); #4 Luisa Valverde Melendres (Ecuador)

US Entry: Sarah Hildebrandt

The first of the four returning world medalists for the American women is their 53 kg entrant Sarah Hildebrandt. 2018 was truly a breakout year for Sarah, who got onto the world podium for the first time when she made the world finals in Budapest. Also, during 2018, Sarah won the International Ukrainian, the Grand Prix of Spain and the Pan-American Championships. Those wins came just over a year removed from an ugly elbow injury suffered by Hildebrandt at the 2017 US Open, which dashes any hopes of a world team berth that year. Since Sarah is a returning world medalist, she got to skip the Open and World Team Trials this year and went directly to Final X Lincoln. There Hildebrandt would do battle with veteran Katherine Shai with the world team spot on the line. In their two bouts, Shai was never able to score on Sarah and she prevailed 3-0 and 8-0. Sarah has been just a tough on her international foes as well in 2019. So far she has won the Pan-American Championships and Pan-Am Games, along with her first title at the Ivan Yarygin. Her only setback of the year came at the Dan Kolov/Nikola Petrov Tournament, where she rebounded to take the bronze. Hildebrandt’s resume has allowed her to receive the top seed at the 2019 World Championships. Sarah’s biggest threats to winning a world title will most likely come from a trio of unseeded competitors. Former world champions Mayu Mukaida (Japan) and Sofia Mattsson (Sweden) are both without a seed, as is Vinesh (India), the only woman to defeat Sarah in 2019.

Favorites:

Hildebrandt – 2019 Pan-American Games Champion, Four-time Pan-American Champion, 2019 Dan Kolov bronze medalist, 2019 Ivan Yarygin Champion, 2018 World silver medalist, Two-time Klippan Lady Open silver medalist

Pang – 2019 Asian fifth-place, 2019 Dan Kolov Champion, Two-time Klippan Lady Open runner-up, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2016 Asian Champion, 2015 World fifth-place

Weicker – 2019 City of Sassari bronze medalist, 2019 German Grand Prix Champion, 2018 World bronze medalist

Mayu Mukaida (Japan) – 2019 Asian silver medalist, Two-time World Champion, 2017 World silver medalist, 2017 Asian Champion, 2016 Junior World Champion, Two-time Cadet World Champion

Sofia Mattsson (Sweden) – Two-time European Games Champion, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Four-time European Champion, Four-time World silver medalist, 2010 World bronze medalist, 2009 World Champion, Two-time Junior World Champion

Medal Contenders:

Valverde Melendres – 2019 City of Sassari bronze medalist, 2018 World seventh-place, Four-time Pan-American silver medalist

Vanesa Kaladzinskaya (Belarus) – 2019 City of Sassari silver medalist, 2019 European bronze medalist, 2019 Klippan Lady Open silver medalist, 2018 European silver medalist, Two-time World Champion, 2017 European Champion, 2016 Olympian

Lianna Montero Herrera (Cuba) – 2019 Pan-American Games bronze medalist, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2017 World silver medalist

Maria Prevolaraki (Greece) – 2019 Dan Kolov Champion, Two-time European bronze medalist, 2017 World bronze medalist, 2017 Yasar Dogu Champion, 2012 World bronze medalist, Two-time Olympian, 2011 Junior World bronze medalist

Vinesh Vinesh (India) – 2019 Alexander Medved silver medalist, 2019 Yasar Dogu Champion, 2019 Grand Prix of Spain Champion, Two-time Asian bronze medalist, 2019 Dan Kolov silver medalist, 2018 Asian Games Champion, Two-time Asian silver medalist, 2016 Olympian

Sumiya Erdenechimeg (Mongolia) – 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist, 2018 Asian silver medalist, 2016 Olympian, 2013 World silver medalist

Yong Mi Pak (North Korea) – 2019 Asian Champion, 2018 Asian Games Champion, 2017 World fifth-place

Roksana Zasina (Poland) – 2019 Dan Kolov bronze medalist, 2019 Klippan Lady Open bronze medalist, 2017 World bronze medalist

Stalvira Orshush (Russia) – 2019 European Games bronze medalist, Two-time European Champion, Two-time Junior World silver medalist

2018 Medalists:

Gold: Haruna Okuna (Japan)

Silver: Sarah Hildebrandt (USA)

Bronze: Diana Weicker (Canada)

Bronze: Qianyu Pang (China)

2019 Medal Predictions:

Gold: Mayu Mukaida (Japan)

Silver: Sarah Hildebrandt (USA)

Bronze: Sofia Mattsson (Sweden)

Bronze: Vinesh Vinesh (India)

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