#WrestlePlovdiv: Golden Pair Ringaci, Nichita Defend U23 European Titles

By Vinay Siwach

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria (March 10) -- World champion Irina RINGACI (MDA) and her teammate Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) continued their winning start to the year as they defended their U23 European Championships title in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The pair showed the gulf of class between them and the rest of the field, winning the gold medals with ease and adding to their stellar collection of titles.

At 68kg, Ringaci, who won the Dan Kolov Invitational tournament last month, outscored her opponents 38-2 en route to the gold medal to become a three-time U23 European champion.

“I feel great in the new weight class 68kg,” Ringaci said. “It's a new experience and I get to wrestle some new wrestlers and I will continue to wrestle in this weight [for Olympics].”

After winning Moldova's first-ever gold in women's wrestling in Oslo last year, Ringaci remained out of competition for five months but looked as good as ever on her return.

In the final, the 21-year-old wrestled Asli DEMIR (TUR) and blanked her 6-0. The two had wrestled before at Individual World Cup in 2020. Ringaci won that battle 14-4.

This time, Ringaci did not let Demir score any points and defend all attacks from the 2-on-1 position. Her ability to wear out her opponents made it even more difficult for Demir to score.

Ringaci scored four points in the second period but was in no hurry to finish the bout, playing out the clock for a 6-0 win.

Anastasia NICHITAAnastasia NICHITA (MDA) won the 59kg final 12-0 against Magdalena GLODEK (POL). (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Nichita's title defense at 59kg was similar to last year as she did not look in any trouble.

Against Magdalena GLODEK (POL), Nichita began with a takedown and added two more points with a go behind.

Glodek's attacks were easily countered and a cool-as-ice Nichita was leading 8-0 at the break. She finished the bout with a four-pointer.

“I don't think too much about the final,” Nichita said. “I just treat it as any other bout or like training. So that's why don't care about the final.”

Nichita began the season with a gold-winning performance at the Yasar Dogu Ranking Series event in Istanbul, Turkey last month and says is looking forward to competing at more ranking events.

“I want to make some ranking points at 59kg and I will be at 59kg this year,” she said. “This was a good test for me for the senior competition this month where I will wrestle at 59kg.”

But as the Paris Olympics come close, Nichita will opt for 57kg as her preferred weight class.

Moldova was the only country to have two gold medals Thursday but have a chance to win another Friday. Nichita hopes that girls in her country can continue the good work.

“We have some good girls and I want them to continue working hard and get some good results,” she said. “We work hard in training and you can see the result so I want to keep this going with the whole team.”

Andreea ANAAndreea ANA (ROU) won her first European title in Plovdiv. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

U23 world champion Andreea ANA (ROU) won her first continental title after she defeated Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE), 10-0 in the 55kg final. The Azerbaijan wrestler was called passive and a double-leg blast for four points helped Ana lead 5-0 at the break.

She began the second period with a go-behind before adding a stepout. The Romanian then slowed down the bout and was happy to play out the clock for the rest of the bout.

But countering a Mammadova attack, she got another two points to finish the bout 10-0.

Ana had not won a Championships before the Worlds in Belgrade but now has two back-to-back. The confidence from the Belgrade win will help her to be better at winning the finals.

“I think the world title win in Belgrade helped me a lot,” Ana said. “That made me stronger mentally and removed a big block.”

Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA)Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA) celebrates after winning the 50kg gold medal in Plovdiv. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

At 50kg, Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA) ended her country's four-year wait for a U23 Euro title by winning the gold against Szimonetta SZEKER (HUN).

In a 3-0 win, the France wrestler got a point for Szeker's passivity and score two via a takedown. The 23-year-old joins Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) as the only U23 European champions.

Hungary did finish with a gold medal as Bernadett NAGY (HUN) defeated Kamile GAUCAITE (LTU), 4-0 in the 76kg.

Daughter of two-time cadet world champion Attila NAGY (HUN), Bernadett scored via two takedowns, the only action in the final.

Her wrestling skills were honed at the Ujpesti Torna Egylet club in Budapest, which she joined as a 12-year-old following the wrestling tradition of her family.

While her win denied Gaucaite to become Lithuania's first-ever European champion, it was still historic as Gaucaite was the first-ever finalist from her country.

Along with her, Gabija DILYTE (LTU)'s bronze at 50kg was the nation's first medal at the U23 level.

The remaining five finals of women's wrestling will be held Friday.

Bernadett NAGY (HUN)The four medalists at 76kg including gold winner Bernadett NAGY (HUN). (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)


WW Medal Bouts

GOLD: Emma LUTTENAUER (FRA) df Szimonetta SZEKER (HUN), 3-0

BRONZE: Lisa ERSEL (GER) df Shahana NAZAROVA (AZE), 9-8
BRONZE: Gabija DILYTE (LTU) df Zehra DEMIRHAN (TUR), via fall

GOLD: Andreea ANA (ROU) df Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE), 10-0

BRONZE: Mihaela SAMOIL (MDA) df Mariia MARTYNCHUK (SVK), via inj. def.
BRONZE: Zeynep YETGIL (TUR) df Nova BERGMAN (SWE), 3-1

GOLD: Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) df Magdalena GLODEK (POL), 12-0

BRONZE: Morena DE VITA (ITA) df Anna SZEL (HUN), via inj. def.

GOLD: Irina RINGACI (MDA) df Asli DEMIR (TUR), 6-0


GOLD: Bernadett NAGY (HUN) df Kamile GAUCAITE (LTU), 4-0

BRONZE: Marion BYE (NOR) df Lolita OBOLEVICA (LAT), via fall

Day 4 Semifinals

GOLD: Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) vs Anastasia BLAYVAS (GER)

SF 1: Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) df Rahime ARI (TUR), 6-1
SF 2: Anastasia BLAYVAS (GER) df Gultakin SHIRINOVA (AZE), via fall


SF 1: Zhala ALIYEVA (AZE) df Paulina DANISZ (POL), 6-1
SF 2: Anna FABIAN (SRB) df Luisa SCHEEL (GER), via fall


SF 1: Amina CAPEZAN (ROU) df Yagmur CAKMAK (TUR), 4-2
SF 2: Ewelina CIUNEK (POL) df Viktoria VESSO (EST), 13-8

GOLD: Maria NITU (ROU) vs Wiktoria CHOLUJ (POL)

SF 1: Maria NITU (ROU) df Kendra DACHER (FRA), 10-0
SF 2: Wiktoria CHOLUJ (POL) df Tuende ELEKES (HUN), 5-0


WATCH: #WrestlePlovdiv 10 Freestyle Finals

By United World Wrestling Press

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria -- Azerbaijan brought a solid freestyle team to Plovdiv with World Championships medalist and some continental champions.

The team did not disappoint and won the team title over Turkey and Georgia at the U23 European Championships. All four wrestlers from Azerbaijan who reached the finals won gold medals.

Germany had their first U23 European champion in Horst LEHR (GER) at 57kg while a few more firsts were recorded in the tournament.

Here are the 10 freestyle finals from the U23 European Championships.

57kg - GOLD: Giorgi GEGELASHVILI (GEO) vs Horst LEHR (GER)