The morning sun was shining brightly on the beautiful sands of the Paralia beach in Katerini as the 3rd leg of the Beach Wrestling World Series got underway, each wrestler taking to the sand with dreams of gold come Saturday evening. The heat from the sun was nothing compared to the heat generated by the athletes as we got down to business and before long the sand was flying. Here’s how day one unfolded on the Aegean coast.
Fresh from her two series victories in France and Italy, Stefania Claudia PRICEPUTU (ROU, -50kg) got her third leg off to a great start as she picked up wins in both her group matches to keep up her winning streak and on course for a clean sweep. Emine CATALOGLU (TUR) lost to PRICEPUTU in her opening match but she bounced back to defeat Tetiana PROFATILOVA (UKR) in her second match in the sandy circle. Lilliana COSTA DOS SANTOS (POR) also picked up a win in her only match of the day.
In the women’s -60kg division Mehlika OZTURK (TUR) had yet to lose a match in this year’s series and it looked like this winning streak would continue when she narrowly defeated Camila FAMA TRISTAO (BRA) in her opening match, but the winning run ended abruptly in her next match as Anastasiya KRAVCHENKO (UKR) avenged her group stage defeat in Rome with a 3-0 victory over her Turkish rival. KRAVCHENKO ended the day undefeated after she also won her opening match against Denisa Iuliana FODOR of Romania. With Greece’s Georgia GKOUGKOUDI defeating FAMA TRISTAO in her only fight of the day, the group is wide open as we head into day two.
Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA (UKR -70KG) continued to impress as she won both her bouts without losing a point to make the next stage inevitable and there were also wins for Agoro PAPAVASILEIOU (GRE) and Asli TUGCU (TUR)
The women’s +70kg division saw home favourite Aikaterini Eirini PITSIAVA (GRE) have a morning to forget in front of the energetic home crowd as she lost her opening two matches with Iryna PASICHNYK (UKR) and Catalina AXENTE (ROU) both defeating her as well as winning their other bout to make tomorrow’s group match against each other a chance to put down a marker on their intentions for gold.
In the Mens division the Glorious Georgians got back to winning ways in the -70kg division with Levan KELEKHSASHVILI coming out on top in both of his group matches today, looking impressive as he didn’t lose a point. Romania’s Stefan Ionut COMAN impressed in the other group in the draw as he defeated Michael PETERS (USA) on his way to two victories from two on the picturesque beach.
Alongside the crowd of people in the stands ringside, A crowd of people who had come along to spend their day sunbathing on the beach had their attention grabbed to watch on with the noise and colour on display and they could only be impressed with the level of skill, power and tactical awareness on display by all of the athletes on show however you feel they would have been further amazed if they had known that Davit KHUTSISHVILI (GEO -80kg) had dislocated his shoulder last week in Rome as the Georgian dispatched his two opponents of the day.
Having been drawn to take part in the -80kg knockout match before the group stage Buluthan OKSUZ (TUR) fed off the crowd giving his Greek opponent massive backing only to be silenced as OKSUZ took the win in the final 6 seconds of the tie. He then went on to win his two group matches giving him three wins out of three for the day. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) picked up two victories from his opening two group matches in the other half of the draw to all but secure his place in the next stage.
World Beach Games Silver medalist Ibrahim Yusubov (AZE, -90kg) was drawn in the pre-group stage knockout match and took his place in the groups with a win over Georgios TSAKNAKIS (GRE). In his opening group match he was narrowly defeated by the pride of Pakistan Muhammad INAM, who last week won Pakistan’s first ever Beach Wrestling World Series gold but he bounced back to win his next bout to give himself a chance of making the next stage. INAM showed why he is a serious contender for back-to-back golds with that win coupled with another win defeating Dato MARSAGISHVILI (GEO). Turkey’s Mahmut Seyfi OZKAYA won his two bouts in Group B to keep his chances of taking the -90kg title back to Turkey alive.
The +90kg division saw reigning Beach World Champion and Azerbaijani head coach Oyan NAZARIANI (AZE) went behind very early in his opening match against Romania’s Vasile Vlad CARAS but he came back to win by VSU1 with only 53 seconds on the clock and the champ almost certainly booked his place in the semis with a second win. Pakistan’s Zaman ANWAR looked in good form as he won his opening two ties as he looks to replicate fellow countryman INAM’s gold last week. Back to winning ways was Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO) who battled his way to two wins from his two bouts in the division’s other group.
A sizzling hot day of wrestling on Paralia Beach’s debut as a World Series venue see’s the groups for most of the divisions still wide open as we go into tomorrow’s final group matches before we hit the elimination stages to see who emerges with the gold when the sand settles.
Tomorrow’s action from the beach starts from 10am local time as the group stages conclude and the elimination round should start around 4pm CEST and you can follow all of the action on our live stream.
All of today’s results and how the groups are shaping up are available on our event downloads section.