Ukraine women snag trio of Pellicone golds

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (June 23) -- Ukraine women shined at Matteo Pellicone by winning three of four gold-medal matches contested on Thursday, while Azerbaijan closed out the Greco-Roman side of the Ranking Series event with the team title.

The trio of Ukraine winners were Alina HRUSHYNA (UKR), Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) and Alla BELINSKA (UKR).

In Greco-Roman, Azerbaijan had six finalists – including four wrestlers who ascended to the top of the podium – and won the Greco-Roman team title 46 points ahead of second-place Hungary (102 points).

Of the three Ukraine women who summitted the Ranking Series podium Thursday, Belinska, without question, made the biggest splash.

In just her second competition down at 68kg since the 2018 World Championships, Belinska snapped world champion Irina RINGACI's (MDA) 20-match win streak that dated back to August 2021.

Since the 2021 U20 World Championships, Ringaci has been victorious in 20 consecutive matches. Her run spanned the U20 and Senior World Championships, U23 and Senior European Championships, Dan Kolov and the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event.

But Belinska wasn't worried about Ringaci's resume or her win streak. Instead, she had one thing on her mind: flip the script from their March matchup where Ringaci pinned Belinska after leading, 12-0.

In the short-lived 68kg finals in Rome, Belinska snapped the continental champion into a front headlock and caught Ringaci's head near her knee. Then, the 2022 European bronze medalist locked up a cradle, remained composed and was methodical in working to the fall. She remained patient and took her time, using nearly 90 seconds to inch Ringaci's shoulders to the mat for the pin.

With her win on Thursday, Belinska added a third Ranking Series gold to her resume. She also won golds at the '21 Poland Open and '18 Yasar Dogu.

Alina HRUSHYNA (UKR) dominated Elvira KAMALOGLU (TUR), 11-1, in the 57kg gold-medal match. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Hrushyna and Koliadenko also dominated their final opponents on Thursday, helping Ukraine (95 points) carry the 55-point lead over Brazil (40 points) into Friday, the final day of women's wrestling action.

In the first period of the 57kg finals, Hrushyna snapped Elvira KAMALOGLU (TUR) down to the mat and worked on a front headlock for nearly 40 seconds before getting to the corner and picking up her first takedown. After a minute of scoreless action, Hrushyna went back to her front headlock and picked up a second go-behind takedown.

With less than a minute to go in the first frame, Hrushyna brought Kamaloglu down to all fours with two-on-one. Then, as the reigning European champ's Turkish opponent tried building back up to her feet, Hrushyna used an underhook throw-by to put four points on the board, increasing her lead to 8-0.

There was some confusion at the end of the scoring sequences, as Hrushyna's corner thought there should have been another set of two awarded. The refs came together and white-paddled the two in question, keeping Hrushyna's lead to 8-0.

In the second period, Hrushyna and Kamaloglu traded step-outs, before the Ukraine wrestler stopped a swing single attempt to her left leg and spun behind for the 11-1 win.

In an all-Ukrainian battle at 62kg, Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Koliadenko cruised to a one-sided 6-0 win over Ilona PROKOPEVNIUK (UKR).

While on the shot clock in the first period, Koliadenko shot an open double leg, transitioned into a pair of leg laces and jumped out to the 6-0 lead.

In the second period, Koliadenko switched to a more defensive wrestling style and was never really in danger of surrendering points. Instead, she stayed poised, controlled Prokopevniuk's head with a left-side collar tie and halted the European bronze medalist's high-level attacks.

Zoltan LEVAI (HUN) eased his way to a 4-0 win over Amin KAVIYANINEJAD (IRI) in the 77kg finals. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Meanwhile, Hungary, Lithuania and Moldova each had a wrestler win Greco-Roman gold on Thursday. Still, Azerbaijan ended up winning the team title after pushing six wrestlers into the finals.

Zoltan LEVAI (HUN) breezed past Amin KAVIYANINEJAD (IRI) in the 77kg finals and defended his Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series titles from '20 and '21. He was the second Hungarian Greco-Roman champion of the week, joining David LOSONCZI (HUN), who won 87kg last night.

Levai controlled the bout against Kaviyaninejad from whistle to whistle and was never threatened by the former U20 world champ. He earned an inactivity point in each period and scored two points from a correct lift.

More importantly, Levai likely punched his ticket to World Championships after beating fellow Hungarian and reigning European champion Robert FRITSCH (HUN), 8-1, in their semifinal meeting.

Mihail BRADU (MDA) celebrates beating Rasoul GARMSIRI (IRI), 2-1, in the 82kg finals. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

At 82kg, Mihail BRADU (MDA) used a first-period takedown to edge Rasoul GARMSIRI (IRI), 2-1.

Bradu worked on a front-head pinch when Garmsiri bailed out and conceded the first two points of the match. That lone takedown proved to be the key factor in the match.

In the second period, Bradu was dinged with inactivity when Garmsiri went for a reverse lift and transitioned into somewhat of an unorthodox gut wrench, picking up what seemed to be two exposure. The Moldovan challenged the call, saying his Iranian opponent committed a leg foul. Bradu won the challenge and led, 2-1, with under a minute to go in the match. He held on to the one-point win and grabbed gold at a Ranking Series event for the first time in his career.

The final Greco-Roman gold went to top-ranked Kristupas SLEIVA (LTU). In the 72kg finals, the Lithuanian earned an injury default victory as Ulvi GANIZADE (AZE) could not compete in the gold-medal bout.

Yelena MAKOYED (USA) hip tossed Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR) during the 76kg finals. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Makoyed's dream run

In her debut senior-level competition, Yelena MAKOYED (USA) shocked the wrestling world en route to winning the 76kg gold medal. 

Makoyed picked up confidence-building wins over European champion Epp MAE (EST), world bronze medalist Martina KUENZ (AUT) and European bronze medalist Catalina AXENTE (ROU) before throttling U23 world champ Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR) in the finals. 

In the gold-medal match, Makoyed capitalized on a swing single and led by two points. Then, after the action was blown dead and the wrestlers came up to their feet, the American worked with an underhook when she timed a hip tossed perfectly and tacked on another two points. Her third takedown came with a low-level double, sitting Alpyeyeva to her butt, gaining a 6-0 lead at the end of the first period.

In the second, Makoyed only needed 35 seconds to score four points off a beautiful go-behind to a gut wrench with double boots in, giving her the 10-0 win and first Ranking Series gold. 


Women's Wrestling

GOLD - Alina HRUSHYNA (UKR) df. Elvira KAMALOGLU (TUR), 11-1

BRONZE - Patrycja GIL (POL) df. Tamara DOLLAK (HUN), via fall
BRONZE - Giullia RODRIGUES (BRA) df. Erika BOGNAR (HUN), via fall


BRONZE - Lais NUNES (BRA)  df. Ana GODINEZ (CAN), 8-6

GOLD - Alla BELINSKA (UKR) df. Irina RINGACI (MDA), via fall 

BRONZE - Wiktoria CHOLUJ (POL) df. Noemi SZABADOS (HUN), 4-2
BRONZE - Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) df. Grabriela PEDRO (BRA), 11-0

GOLD - Yelena MAKOYED (USA) df. Anastasiya ALPYEYEVA (UKR), 10-0

BRONZE - Martina KUENZ (AUT) df. Catalina AXENTE (ROU), 5-2


GOLD - Kristupas SLEIVA (LTU) df. Ulvi GANIZADE (AZE), via inj. def.

BRONZE - Valentin PETIC (MDA) df. Haavard JOERGENSEN (NOR), 3-1 
BRONZE - Selcuk CAN (TUR) df. Matias LIPASTI (FIN), 9-0


BRONZE Robert  FRITSCH (HUN) df.Joilson DE BRITO (BRA), 9-0

GOLD - Mihail BRADU (MDA)  df. Rasoul GARMSIRI (IRI), 2-1

BRONZE - Exauce MUKUBU (NOR) df. Oldrich VARGA (CZE), 2-1 


WATCH: Matteo Pellicone 10 freestyle finals

By Vinay Siwach

ROME, Italy (June) -- Freestyle at Matteo Pellicone saw Azerbaijan claim most of the gold medals at the Ranking Series event. Azerbaijan won four gold medals and Slovakia being the second-best with two gold. Turkey, Puerto Rico, Ukraine and Georgia managed to win a gold each in Rome.

Here are the 10 gold-medal bouts from the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event.

GOLD: 57kg - Horst LEHR (GER) vs. Aliabbas RZAZADE (AZE)


GOLD: 61kg - Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) vs. Recep TOPAL (TUR)


GOLD: 70kg - Joshgun AZIMOV (AZE) vs. Murad EVLOEV (AZE)