By William May
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland – Olympic Games medalists, hopefuls and wannabes were on the move in January as they tried on the new system of weights in women’s freestyle, including two more categories for Rio de Janeiro 2016.
The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) in December announced eight new weight categories for each of the three styles for FILA events with six of the weights designated for the Olympic Games.
For women’s freestyle in the Olympic Games, which had been contested in only four categories since 2004, the new system meant two more weight categories for the women to eye in 2016.
Following the FILA announcement, wrestlers and their coaches began to consider their options for Rio de Janeiro. And, in January, some of the top wrestlers began to signal their plans for 2016.
Three-time Olympic Games gold medalist at 63kg Kaori ICHO (JPN) sits atop the newly created 58kg category while Natalya VOROBIEVA (RUS) seems to have found 69kg to her liking after striking gold in London at 72kg.
Triple gold medalist Saori YOSHIDA (JPN), however, reigns over the 55kg rankings, even though it has become a non-Olympic category for 2016 along with the newly established 60kg.
Yoshida, who has indicated that she would like to try a lighter weight category, won her 11th All-Japan title in December at 55kg and will be ranked at 55kg until she competes at a different category.
Meanwhile, London 2012 bronze medalists at 55kg Yulia RATKEVICH (AZE) and Jackeline RENTERIA CASTILLO (COL) have re-located to the 58kg and 63kg weight categories, respectively.
Two-time Olympic Games medalist Maria STADNYK (AZE) has returned to international competition at 48kg with a triumph at the Golden Grand Prix event in Paris, while London 2012 bronze medalist Battsetseg SORONZONBOLD (MGL) is top-ranked at 63kg with Icho’s move to 58kg.
In addition to the new weight categories for the rankings, each category has been expanded to include the top 20 wrestlers. As before, the rankings are listed by the wrestler’s name, country code, the wrestler’s most significant or most recent result, and the wrestler’s position in the previous rankings.
48kg – London 2012 silver medalist Mariya STADNYK (AZE) returned to competition after 18 months and edged Jessica MacDONALD (AZE) in the Paris Golden Grand Prix final to make her debut in the FILA World Rankings at No.2 behind world champion Eri TOSAKA (JPN).
Meanwhile, 2012 junior world champion Yuki IRIE (JPN) romped through the field in Krasnoyarsk to claim the Ivan Yarygin Golden Grand Prix title for her second win of the of the winter and No.5 in the rankings.
53kg – Two-time European bronze medal winner Maria GUROVA (RUS) fashioned a 3-0 win over 2012 world bronze medalist Maria PREVOLARAKI (GRE) in the Yarygin Golden Grand Prix final to break into the rankings at No.5.
Tatiana DEBIEN (FRA) took the Paris Golden Grand Prix title by technical fall to break into the rankings at No.6 after taking her third straight international title at home. Debien won the Francophone Games in September and returned to Nice 12 weeks later to take the Henri Deglane Challenge crown.
55kg – Universiade bronze medalist Kanako MURATA (JPN) erupted for 12 points in the second period to defeat 2012 world runner-up Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) by technical fall in the Yarygin Golden Grand Prix final. With the triumph, Murata climbed to No.7 in the rankings.
ZHONG Xuechen (CHN), runner-up to Murata in the 2012 junior world meet, notched a pair of falls and a technical fall on her way to the Schultz Memorial crown to join the rankings at No.12.
58g – Kaori ICHO (JPN), an eight-time world champion at 63kg, appears to be settling into her new weight category with ease, racking up the Yarygin Golden Grand Prix title with a fall and a pair of technical falls. Icho blanked junior world champ Tserenchimed SUKHEE (MGL), 10-0, in the final.
Yulia RATKEVICH (AZE), former world champion at 59kg and London 2012 bronze medalist at 55kg, staked out her claim to the newly created weight category with a 4-1 triumph over fellow Olympian Kelsey CAMPBELL (USA).
60kg – Junior world champion at 63kg Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS) defeated defending Yarygin titlist Zhargalma TSYRENOVA (RUS) for the win in Krasnoyarsk and No.3 in the rankings at 60kg, a newly created non-Olympic weight category.
Tatyana OMELCHENKO (UKR) posted a pair of technical falls in Paris, including an 11-0 whitewash of cadet world champion Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN), for the win in the new Golden Grand Prix event.
63kg – Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (LAT) won the Golden Grand Prix Final in Baku last November but was tripped up in the opening GGP event of 2014 in Krasnoyarsk. She rebounded for the Paris crown, however, and No.2 in the rankings.
Yurika ITO (JPN), meanwhile, signaled she wants a chance to become heir to Kaori Icho’s 63kg crown, defeating world and European bronze medalists and Copa Brasil winner Yulia BARTNOVSKAYA (RUS) for the Yarygin Golden Grand Prix title.
69kg – London 2012 gold medalist Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) regained the top-spot in the FILA World Rankings with a victory at the Yarygin Golden Grand Prix – but this time at the new weight category of 69kg.
Reigning European and world champion at 67kg Alina STADNIK-MAKHINYA (UKR) holds onto the second position with a runner-up showing at the Gold Grand Prix Final last November and a bronze-medal effort in Krasnoyarsk.
75kg – World bronze medalist Burmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL) edged Universiade winner Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS) on criteria in the semifinals and defeated fellow London Olympian Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) in the finals to win the Yarygin Golden Grand Prix and edge up the rankings to No.2.
Erica WIEBE (CAN) connected with a pair of low single-leg attacks to defeat reigning world champion ZHANG Fengliu (CHN), 6-2, at the Schultz Memorial, lifting the Universiade bronze medal winner to No.3 in the rankings.
|3||Jessica MacDONALD||Canada||(3 at 51kg)|
|4||Alyssa LAMPE||United States||4|
|7||Victoria ANTHONY||United States||(5 at 51)|
|9||Mayelis CARIPA CASTILLO||Venezuela||2|
|15||PAK Yong-Mi||DPR Korea||8|
|16||Yana STADNIK||Great Britain||12|
|19||Erin GOLSTON||United States||NR|
|3||Helen MAROULIS||United States||(7 at 55)|
|4||SO Sim-Hyang||DPR Korea||4|
|7||Katherine FULP-ALLEN||United States||NR|
|19||Sarah HILDEBRANDT||United States||(11 at 55)|
|1||Kaori ICHO||Japan||(1 at 63)|
|4||Anna VASILENKO||Ukraine||(9 at 63)|
|9||Joice SOUZA DE SILVA||Brazil||8|
|12||Allison RAGAN||United States||9|
|14||Kelsey CAMPBELL||United States||NR|
|16||Karima SANCHEZ RAMIS||Spain||14|
|20||PHAM Thi Loan||Vietnam||15|
|1||Marianna SASTIN||Hungary||(1 at 59)|
|2||Tungalag MUNKHTUYA||Mongolia||(4 at 59kg)|
|4||Zhargalma TSYRENOVA||Russia||(12 at 59)|
|5||Anastassia HUCHOK||Belarus||(11 at 59)|
|11||Jennifer PAGE||United States||NR|
|13||Amanda HENDEY||United States||NR|
|17||Janet SOVERO NINO||Peru||NR|
|18||Deanna BETTERMAN||United States||NR|
|4||Jackeline RENTARIA CASTILLO||Colombia||5|
|16||Dailane GOMES DOS REIS||Brazil||NR|
|18||Luz Clara VAZQUEZ||Argentina||NR|
|20||Taybe YUSEIN||Bulgaria||(2 at 59)|
|1||Natalia VOROBIEVA||Russia||(2 at 72)|
|6||Elena PIROZHKOVA||United States||(3 at 63)|
|9||Svetlana SAENKO||Moldova||(6 at 72)|
|13||Randi MILLER||United States||NR|
|15||Veronica CARLSON||United States||11|
|16||Odonchimeg BADRAKH||Mongolia||(13 at 72)|
|19||Julia SALATA||United States||NR|
|5||Adeline GRAY||United States||4|
|12||Aline da Silva FERREIRA||Brazil||NR|
|16||Victoria FRANCIS||United States||NR|
William May conducts the World Rankings for FILA. He has been active in wrestling across three continents for more than 40 years as a competitor, coach, referee and journalist. William worked as the “Sports Information Specialist” for wrestling at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. He can be reached on his Facebook page or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
FILA, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, is the global governing body of the sport of wrestling. It works to promote the sport and facilitate the activities of its 177 national federations from around the world. It is based in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.
To learn more about FILA visit its official website, http://www.fila-official.com/; Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/fila.official, or Twitter handle, @FILA_Official.
(For more information please contact FILA at 41.21 312 84 26 or Bob Condron, Press Officer, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see rankings on www.fila-official.com