#WrestleSofia

#WrestleSofia U20 World Championships entry list

By Vinay Siwach

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 4) -- Two weeks after the U17 World Championships, the U20 Worlds will be thrown open in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Close to 600 wrestlers will be in the Bulgarian capital eyeing the 30 world titles on offer with Iran and the USA hoping to defend their freestyle and women's wrestling team titles respectively.

Iran is led by two defending U20 world champions in Erfan ELAHI (IRI) and Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI). Elahi won the title at 70kg and will now be jumping up to 74kg while Friozpour, who has made his name at the senior level as well, will be moving from 86kg to 92kg.

Azerbaijan has two returning silver medalists in Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE) and Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) at 70kg and 74kg.

At 86kg, Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) will try to win the gold he missed last time as he returns in the same weight class as the U20 European champion.

In women's wrestling, Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) at 62kg and Oleksandra KHOMENETS (UKR) are the biggest names in the field. A few former and current U17 world champions are also entered.

Greco-Roman has none of the finalists returning but five bronze medalists are trying to better their medals from the previous edition.

The U20 World Championships begins August 15 in Sofia with all the action live on uww.org.

Freestyle 

57kg
Harutyun HOVHANNISYAN (ARM)
Nuraddin NOVRUZOV (AZE)
Ivaylo TISOV (BUL)
Abdelrahman MAHMOUD (EGY)
Seyfulla ITAEV (FRA)
Harvey RIDINGS (GBR)
Luka GVINJILIA (GEO)
Andreas PAROTSIDIS (GER)
Abhishek DHAKA (IND)
Ahmad MOHAMMADNEZHAD (IRI)
Simone PIRODDU (ITA)
Kento YUMIYA (JPN)
Merey BAZARBAYEV (KAZ)
Iukhan DOKTURBEK UULU (KGZ)
Dmitri CARASTOIANOV (MDA)
Munkh Od LKHAMBUZMAA (MGL)
Rafal SZEWC (POL)
Thomas FISCHER (SUI)
Tolga OZBEK (TUR)
Heorhii KAZANZHY (UKR)
Jore VOLK (USA)
Azizbek NAIMOV (UZB)

61kg
Hayk ABRAHAMYAN (ARM)
Jeyhun ALLAHVERDIYEV (AZE)
Ilyas ABDURASHIDOV (BEL)
Shehabeldin MOHAMED (EGY)
Akseli ERKKOLA (FIN)
Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA)
Daviti ABDALADZE (GEO)
Dimitrios OFLIDIS (GER)
Mohit KUMAR (IND)
Armin HABIBZADEH (IRI)
Yuto NISHIUCHI (JPN)
Maiis ALIYEV (KAZ)
Aden SAKYBAEV (KGZ)
Fatlum BRAKA (KOS)
Diego RODRIGUEZ (MEX)
Daniel KULCZYNSKI (POL)
Mika LEHMKUEHL (RSA)
Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR)
Mykyta ABRAMOV (UKR)
Nicholas BOUZAKIS (USA)
Arslan RAKHIMOV (UZB)

65kg
Abderrahmane BENAISSA (ALG)
Artur SARDARYAN (ARM)
Muhamed BEKTEMIROV (AUT)
Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE)
Ayub MUSAEV (BEL)
Ismail POMAKOV (BUL)
Matias RAMIREZ (CHI)
Yehia HAFEZ (EGY)
Luka JANEZASHVILI (GEO)
Jonnathan PEREZ (GUA)
SUJEET (IND)
Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI)
Yoshinosuke AOYAGI (JPN)
Olzhas OLZHAKANOV (KAZ)
Myrza ZHYRGALBEK UULU (KGZ)
Egzon XHONI (KOS)
Pavel GRAUR (MDA)
Erick BAUTISTA (MEX)
Doru DINCA (ROU)
Hamza ZOPALI (TUR)
Mykyta ZUBAL (UKR)
Robert CORNELLA (USA)
Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB)

70kg
Saad BOUGUERRA (ALG)
Hayk PAPIKYAN (ARM)
Benedikt HUBER (AUT)
Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE)
Muhammad ABDURACHMANOV (BEL)
Ivan STOYANOV (BUL)
Stone LEWIS (CAN)
Said ELGAHSH (EGY)
Davit KUTCHUASHVILI (GEO)
Marcell NAGY (HUN)
Mulaym YADAV (IND)
Hossein MOHAMMAD (IRI)
Raul CASO (ITA)
Kota TAKAHASHI (JPN)
Rodion ANCHUGIN (KAZ)
Kanat KERIMBEKOV (KGZ)
Pavel ANDRUSCA (MDA)
Alexandru MATEA (ROU)
Mustafo AKHMEDOV (TJK)
Harun SOYLER (TUR)
Ivan SEMENOV (UKR)
Mitchell MESENBRINK (USA)
Begijon KULDASHEV (UZB)

74kg
Menua YARIBEKYAN (ARM)
Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE)
Petar PETKOV (BUL)
Amaan Ali GULACHA (CAN)
Luka CHKHITUNIDZE (GEO)
Balint NEMES (HUN)
Sagar JAGLAN (IND)
Erfan ELAHI (IRI)
Luca FINIZIO (ITA)
Ryunosuke KAMIYA (JPN)
Iliyas YERBOLATOV (KAZ)
Nurbolot ADYL UULU (KGZ)
Gheorghi CARA (MDA)
Batbayar BATSUKH (MGL)
Kamil BARLOWSKI (POL)
Krisztian BIRO (ROU)
Arno VAN ZIJL (RSA)
Umar MAVLAEV (SUI)
Muhammed OZMUS (TUR)
Tymur HUDYMA (UKR)
Alexander FACUNDO (USA)
Jafar CHULIBOYEV (UZB)

79kg
Mushegh MKRTCHYAN (ARM)
Soslan TIGIYEV (AZE)
Radomir STOYANOV (BUL)
Connor CHURCH (CAN)
Gabriel RAMOS (ESP)
Miko ELKALA (FIN)
Otari ADEISHVILI (GEO)
DEEPAK (IND)
Sobhan YARI (IRI)
Daisuke SHIMIZU (JPN)
Shamsat TAIR (KAZ)
Mukhammad ABDULLAEV (KGZ)
Eugeniu MIHALCEAN (MDA)
Mateusz PEDZICKI (POL)
Gigi SUBTIRICA (ROU)
Johannes HATTINGH (RSA)
Kimi KAEPPELI (SUI)
Bekir OVEC (TUR)
Oleksandr MAMROSH (UKR)
Braydew THOMPSON (USA)

86kg
Gurgen SIMONYAN (ARM)
Sabuhi AMIRASLANOV (AZE)
Zhulien IVANOV (BUL)
Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA)
Daviti KOGUASHVILI (GEO)
Angelos KOUKLARIS (GER)
Cesar ESTRADA (GUA)
Nandor HAJDUCH (HUN)
Jointy KUMAR (IND)
Aref RANJBARI (IRI)
Gabriele NICCOLINI (ITA)
Fumiya IGARASHI (JPN)
Muslim ZHAKSYLYK (KAZ)
Aslan MAMASADYKOV (KGZ)
Pureun KIM (KOR)
Lilian BALAN (MDA)
Batbilguun NAADAMBAT (MGL)
Ismail KUCUKSOLAK (TUR)
Nazar DOD (UKR)
Bennett BERGE (USA)

92kg
Sergey SARGSYAN (ARM)
Suray RUFAD (BUL)
Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA)
Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO)
Kiril KILDAU (GER)
Gkivi BLIATZE (GER)
Krisztian ANGYAL (HUN)
AKASH (IND)
Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI)
Satoshi MIURA (JPN)
Nurdaulet BEKENOV (KAZ)
Kutman TEMIRBEKOV (KGZ)
Seohyun CHA (KOR)
Ion DEMIAN (MDA)
Juan RUIZ (MEX)
Yildiray PALA (TUR)
Denys SAHALIUK (UKR)
Jaxon SMITH (USA)
Ravshanbek JUMABOEV (UZB)

97kg
Harutyun KIRAKOSYAN (ARM)
Sali SALIEV (BUL)
Mohamed SALAHELDIN (EGY)
Luka KHUTCHUA (GEO)
NIRAJ (IND)
Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI)
Toyoki HAMADA (JPN)
Zelimkhan MUSSIKHANOV (KAZ)
Joobin PARK (KOR)
Vilius MIKALAUSKAS (LTU)
Georgian TRIPON (ROU)
Rifat GIDAK (TUR)
David MCHEDLIDZE (UKR)
Benjamin KUETER (USA)

125kg
Lyova GEVORGYAN (ARM)
Georgi IVANOV (BUL)
Roger LI (CAN)
Merab SULEIMANASHVILI (GEO)
Mahendra GAIKWAD (IND)
Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI)
Ryusei FUJITA (JPN)
Bekzat TAZHI (KAZ)
Adil MISIRCI (TUR)
Volodymyr KOCHANOV (UKR)
Nicholas FELDMAN (USA)
Namoz ABDURASHIDOV (UZB)

Nonoka OZAKI (JPN)Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) is a senior world bronze and Asian champion. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

Women’s Wrestling

50kg
Asmar JANKURTARAN (AZE)
Emine OSMAN (BUL)
Serena DI BENEDETTO (CAN)
Karolina MUELLEROVA (CZE)
Priyanshi PRAJAPAT (IND)
Umi ITO (JPN)
Laura GANIKYZY (KAZ)
Gabija DILYTE (LTU)
Imane BOUJNANE (MAR)
Munkhgerel MUNKHBAT (MGL)
Marija SPIRKOVSKA (MKD)
Natalia WALCZAK (POL)
Ana PIRVU (ROU)
Svenja JUNGO (SUI)
Ellen OESTMAN (SWE)
Yung LIN (TPE)
Sevval CAYIR (TUR)
Aida KERYMOVA (UKR)
Audrey JIMENEZ (USA)

53kg
Gultakin SHIRINOVA (AZE)
Nazife TAIR (BUL)
Shaimaa MOHAMED (EGY)
Chadia AYACHI (FRA)
Amory ANDRICH (GER)
Vivien MATYI (HUN)
ANTIM (IND)
Ayaka KIMURA (JPN)
Altyn SHAGAYEVA (KAZ)
Aruuke KADYRBEK KYZY (KGZ)
Mihaela SAMOIL (MDA)
Patricia IURASCU (ROU)
Emine CAKMAK (TUR)
Nataliia KLIVCHUTSKA (UKR)
Katie GOMEZ (USA)
Dilshoda MATNAZAROVA (UZB)

55kg
Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE)
Irena BINKOVA (BUL)
Robbie PINGAL (CAN)
Antonia ARRIAGADA (CHI)
Roza SZENTTAMASI (HUN)
MANJU (IND)
Immacolata DANISE (ITA)
Moe KIYOOKA (JPN)
Ainur ASHIMOVA (KAZ)
Andrea BARRIENTOS (MEX)
Georgiana LIRCA (ROU)
Pei LIAO (TPE)
Tuba DEMIR (TUR)
Albina RILLIA (UKR)
Adriana MARIN (USA)
Sarbinaz JIENBAEVA (UZB)

57kg
Gabriela CROSS (CAN)
Anna MICHALCOVA (CZE)
Celeste SION (FRA)
Adrienn BERES (HUN)
SITO (IND)
Aurora RUSSO (ITA)
Ruka NATAMI (JPN)
Zeinep BAYANOVA (KAZ)
Sezim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ)
Bertha CHAVEZ (MEX)
Othelie HOEIE (NOR)
Julia NOWICKA (POL)
Ana PUIU (ROU)
Melda DERNEKCI (TUR)
Oleksandra KHOMENETS (UKR)
Sofia MACALUSO (USA)

59kg
Fatme SHABAN (BUL)
Mia FRIESEN (CAN)
Viktoria BORSOS (HUN)
Bhagyashree FAND (IND)
Sakura MOTOKI (JPN)
Madina AMAN (KAZ)
Hedda KVAALE (NOR)
Aleksandra WITOS (POL)
Kara LE ROUX (RSA)
Ebru DAGBASI (TUR)
Yuliia LESKOVETS (UKR)
Savannah COSME (USA)

62kg
Mastoura SOUDANI (ALG)
Birgul SOLTANOVA (AZE)
Mima TANEVA (BUL)
Angelina TODDINGTON (CAN)
Iva GERIC (CRO)
Iris THIEBAUX (FRA)
Luisa SCHEEL (GER)
Yasmine SOLIMAN (HUN)
Sonam MALIK (IND)
Bianca CONTRAFATTO (ITA)
Nonoka OZAKI (JPN)
Tynys DUBEK (KAZ)
Bermet NURIDIN KYZY (KGZ)
Viktoria OEVERBY (NOR)
Wiktoria STANETA (POL)
Yu LO (TPE)
Busra EFE (TUR)
Iryna BONDAR (UKR)
Adaugo NWACHUKWU (USA)
Rushana ABDIRASULOVA (UZB)

65kg
Valentina KOZHUHAROVA (BUL)
Eniko ELEKES (HUN)
PRIYANKA (IND)
Veronica BRASCHI (ITA)
Mahiro YOSHITAKE (JPN)
Korlan AMANOVA (KAZ)
Dilnaz SAZANOVA (KGZ)
Melanie VILLALBA (MEX)
Davaajargal ALTANSUKH (MGL)
Zofia POLOWCZYK (POL)
Nora SVENSSON (SWE)
Khadija JLASSI (TUN)
Derya KARADUMAN (TUR)
Manola SKOBELSKA (UKR)
Reese LARRAMENDY (USA)
Gulmira AITMURATOVA (UZB)

68kg
Nigar MIRZAZADA (AZE)
Daniela BRASNAROVA (BUL)
Nicoll OSORIO (COL)
Menatalla BADRAN (EGY)
Sophia SCHAEFLE (GER)
Nikoleta BARMPA (GER)
ARJU (IND)
Laura GODINO (ITA)
Ami ISHII (JPN)
Zhibekzhan SABYRZHANOVA (KAZ)
Nurzat NURTAEVA (KGZ)
Luciana BEDA (MDA)
Sandra MENCHACA (MEX)
Patrycja SLOMSKA (POL)
Caroline KVIST (SWE)
Nesrin BAS (TUR)
Yevheniia SIEDYKH (UKR)
Destiny RODRIGUEZ (USA)
Firuza ESENBAEVA (UZB)

72kg
Marziya SADIGOVA (AZE)
Vanesa GEORGIEVA (BUL)
Nyla BURGESS (CAN)
Jennifer ROESLER (GER)
Zsofia VIRAG (HUN)
REETIKA (IND)
Sumire NIIKURA (JPN)
Anastassiya PANASSOVICH (KAZ)
Ximena RODRIGUEZ (MEX)
Patrycja CUBER (POL)
Ping HUNG (TPE)
Zaineb SGHAIER (TUN)
Nazar BATIR (TUR)
Iryna ZABLOTSKA (UKR)
Amit ELOR (USA)

76kg
Ana SANTOS (BRA)
Vianne ROULEAU (CAN)
Laura KUEHN (GER)
Eleni CHRYSIKAKI (GER)
Veronika NYIKOS (HUN)
Priya MALIK (IND)
Ayano MORO (JPN)
Alina YERTOSTIK (KAZ)
Daniela TKACHUK (POL)
Elena MARGAS (ROU)
Melisa SARITAC (TUR)
Mariia ORLEVYCH (UKR)
Tristan KELLY (USA)

Emre MUTLU (TUR)Emre MUTLU (TUR) is a U23 European champion. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Greco-Roman

55kg
Karapet MANVELYAN (ARM)
Nihad GULUZADE (AZE)
Paolo MILKOV (BUL)
Abdalla SHAABAN (EGY)
luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO)
Ilias ZAIRAKIS (GER)
Anup KUMAR (IND)
Seyedarash NEGAHDARI (IRI)
Taiga ONISHI (JPN)
Iskhar KURBAYEV (KAZ)
Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ)
Vilius ADOMAVICIUS (LTU)
Marco ALVAREZ (MEX)
Denis MIHAI (ROU)
Emre MUTLU (TUR)
Mykola HAVRYCHKIN (UKR)
Jonathan GURULE (USA)
Alisher GANIEV (UZB)

60kg
Suren AGHAJANYAN (ARM)
Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE)
Borislav KIRILOV (BUL)
Ronaldo RAMIREZ (COL)
Dimitri KHACHIDZE (GEO)
Georgios SCARPELLO (GER)
SUMIT (IND)
Saeid Morad ESMAEILI (IRI)
Melkamu FETENE (ISR)
Koto GOMI (JPN)
Bakytzhan KABDYL (KAZ)
Adilet ABYKEEV (KGZ)
Ismail ETTALIBI (MAR)
Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL)
Aleksandar BERAROV (SRB)
Firuz MIRZORAJABOV (TJK)
Yong SU (TPE)
Mert ILBARS (TUR)
Volodymyr VOITOVYCH (UKR)
Maxwell BLACK (USA)
Akmal KHAMROEV (UZB)

63kg
Fayssal BENFREDJ (ALG)
Arman VARDANYAN (ARM)
Ziya BABASHOV (AZE)
Ivan KOSTOV (BUL)
Matias RAMIREZ (CHI)
Domagoj CELICEK (CRO)
Romeo BERIDZE (GEO)
Ioannis PETKOS (GER)
David MANYIK (HUN)
UMESH (IND)
Iman Khoon MOHAMMADI (IRI)
Chiezo MARUYAMA (JPN)
Dinislam SAGITZHAN (KAZ)
Baiaman KARIMOV (KGZ)
Donatas RINDEIKIS (LTU)
Arslanbek SALIMOV (POL)
Azat SARIYAR (TUR)
Oleh KHALILOV (UKR)
Haiden DRURY (USA)

67kg
Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE)
Angelo DE OLIVEIRA (BRA)
Radoslav DIMITROV (BUL)
Nestor TRUYOL (CHI)
Luka IVANCIC (CRO)
Abdelrahman OMAR (EGY)
Nestori MANNILA (FIN)
Yanis NIFRI (FRA)
Nika BROLADZE (GEO)
Marco STOLL (GER)
Zsolt TAKACS (HUN)
Ankit GULIA (IND)
Seyed SOHRABI (IRI)
Shon NADORGIN (ISR)
Steve MOMILIA (ITA)
Ryohma TOYOTA (JPN)
Din KOSHKAR (KAZ)
Erlan MARS UULU (KGZ)
Adomas GRIGALIUNAS (LTU)
Alexei HAHLOVSCHI (MDA)
Kasper OEVERBY (NOR)
Mairbek SALIMOV (POL)
Iulian LUNGU (ROU)
Fritz REBER (SUI)
Onur YURTADA (TUR)
Marian HOLUBOVSKYI (UKR)
Robert PEREZ (USA)
Ilyosjon ABDINAZAROV (UZB)

72kg
Haithem ISSAAD (ALG)
Arman KHACHIKYAN (ARM)
Matthias HAUTHALER (AUT)
Gurban GURBANOV (AZE)
Dimitar STEFCHEV (BUL)
Niko KAMENJASEVIC (CRO)
Jakub SIMCIK (CZE)
Emad GHALY (EGY)
Junior ORTIZ (ESP)
Ekke LEITHAM (EST)
Temuri ORJONIKIDZE (GEO)
Aaron BELLSCHEIDT (GER)
Alexandros BATZAKIDIS (GER)
Attila TOESMAGI (HUN)
Deepak PUNIA (IND)
Amir ABDI (IRI)
Ariell SOSUNOV (ISR)
Eito NISHIDA (JPN)
Merey MAULITKANOV (KAZ)
Alibek BERDIEV (KGZ)
Minseo OH (KOR)
Rokas CEPAUSKAS (LTU)
Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA)
Elsi ORDONEZ (MEX)
Magomed EDAEV (NOR)
Igor BOTEZ (ROU)
Daniel DU TOIT (RSA)
David LOHER (SUI)
Georgios BARBANOS (SWE)
Sheroz OCHILOV (TJK)
Omer DOGAN (TUR)
Irfan MIRZOIEV (UKR)
Richard FEDALEN (USA)

77kg
Henrik GEVORGYAN (ARM)
Khasay HASANLI (AZE)
Guilherme DE ARRUDA (BRA)
Martin DIMITROV (BUL)
Michal ZELENKA (CZE)
Omar OKIL (EGY)
Tornike MIKELADZE (GEO)
Deni NAKAEV (GER)
Andreas VASILAKOPOULOS (GER)
Rajmund ZURAI (HUN)
SACHIN (IND)
Masoud GHAFI (IRI)
Isami HORIKITA (JPN)
Omar SATAYEV (KAZ)
Nurel DUISHONBEKOV (KGZ)
Alexandrin GUTU (MDA)
Diego TORRES (MEX)
Benjamin HANSEN (NOR)
Filip LOCH (POL)
Simon BORKENHAGEN (SWE)
Yuksel SARICICEK (TUR)
Ramazan PASHAIEV (UKR)
Payton JACOBSON (USA)
Samandar BOBONAZAROV (UZB)

82kg
Ruben GEVORGYAN (ARM)
Rauf ALIYEV (AZE)
Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL)
Marek VRBA (CZE)
Fares GHALY (EGY)
Olavi LAISARV (EST)
Jonni SARKKINEN (FIN)
Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO)
Odysseas ROUNGERIS (GER)
Rohit DAHIYA (IND)
Alireza MOHMADI (IRI)
Leon RIVALTA (ITA)
Renta YAMAGUCHI (JPN)
Azimkhon ABDALIYEV (KAZ)
Artykbek ALYMBEK UULU (KGZ)
Mihai GUTU (MDA)
Christian NUNEZ (MEX)
Vasile COJOC (ROU)
James HOLDER (RSA)
Milos PEROVIC (SRB)
Alexander JOHANSSON (SWE)
Shan LIN (TPE)
Alperen BERBER (TUR)
Ruslan ABDIIEV (UKR)
Adrian ARTSISHEUSKIY (USA)

87kg
Vigen NAZARYAN (ARM)
Lachin VALIYEV (AZE)
Ivan MANOV (BUL)
Tomislav BRKAN (CRO)
Ondrej HAVELKA (CZE)
Kareem ELDESOUKY (EGY)
Robin USPENSKI (EST)
Aapo VIITALA (FIN)
Beka MELELASHVILI (GEO)
Nikolaos IOSIFIDIS (GER)
Surjeet SINGH (IND)
Abolfazl CHOUBANI (IRI)
Tomofumi IWAI (JPN)
Maksat SAILAU (KAZ)
Nartu ABDURAKHMANOV (KGZ)
Donghyun YUN (KOR)
Damian MATVEIKO (LTU)
Gabriel LUPASCO (MDA)
Patrik GORDAN (ROU)
Mario VUKOVIC (SRB)
Algot KAELLMAN (SWE)
Furkan TAS (TUR)
Mykyta ALIEKSIEIEV (UKR)
Kodiak STEPHENS (USA)
Azamatjon ABDUBANNOBOV (UZB)

97kg
Kaloyan IVANOV (BUL)
Marko MILANOVIC (CRO)
Richard KARELSON (EST)
Kote SITCHINAVA (GEO)
Connor SAMMET (GER)
Archontis XOURAS (GER)
Narinder CHEEMA (IND)
Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI) 
Riku NAKAHARA (JPN)
Iussuf MATSIYEV (KAZ)
Nurmanbet RAIMALY UULU (KGZ)
Joowan KIM (KOR)
Rostislav COVALI (MDA)
Mateusz IWANOWSKI (POL)
Ionut GOSA (ROU)
Luka KATIC (SRB)
Maans KLOSTERMANN (SWE)
Oktay DEMIR (TUR)
Vladyslav DRAHANCHUK (UKR)
Christian CARROLL (USA)
Islomjon RAKHMATOV (UZB)

130kg
Albert VARDANYAN (ARM)
Artur SARKISJAN (CZE)
Fekry EISSA (EGY)
Eerik PANK (EST)
Mate GOKADZE (GEO)
Rafail GKIRNIS (GRE)
Adolf BAZSO (HUN)
PARVESH (IND)
Fardin HEDAYATI (IRI)
Koei YAMADA (JPN)
Jokhar UZAROV (KAZ)
Junho PARK (KOR)
Dominik KRAWCZYK (POL)
Talip CIFTCI (TUR)
Mykhailo VYSHNYVETSKYI (UKR)
Aden ATTAO (USA)
Temurbek NASIMOV (UZB)

#WrestleSofia

Ozaki leads strong Japan team; USA, Ukraine eye U20 Worlds glory

By Vinay Siwach

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 10) -- Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) has competed in three World Championships so far in her career. At the two U17 World Championships, she was unperturbed and claimed gold with much ease.

In 2019, she debuted at the senior World Championships and hoped to continue her unbeaten international record. But her opening round opponent, the defending champion Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) came from behind to hand Ozaki her first international loss and second overall since 2017.

Before she makes another run for the senior world title in Serbia in September, Ozaki will make a pit spot in Sofia, Bulgaria at the U20 Worlds.

Ozaki, who defeated Tynybekova in the Asian Championships final, will be leading a talented Japan squad into the tournament which begins August 15.

Like the U17 World Championships, Japan skipped the 2021 edition due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the nation is primed to win the women's team title in Sofia. The USA claimed it in Japan's absence in Ufa, Russia last year.

The USA has once again entered a strong team hoping to repeat the title-winning performance. Ukraine, which also missed the Worlds in Ufa, will be one of the favorites as well with India hoping to build on its U17 success.

Apart from Ozaki, two other senior world team members -- Ami ISHII (JPN) and Sakura MOTOKI (JPN) -- are also taking the trip to Sofia. All three would hope to warm up for Belgrade with gold medals at the U20 level.

Former U17 world champions Umi ITO (JPN), Moe KIYOOKA (JPN) and Ruka NATAMI (JPN) and senior Asian Championships silver medalist Sumire NIIKURA (JPN) add depth to the squad.

Ozaki, undoubtedly, will be the favorite to win the 62kg weight class but it not be a cakewalk.

Returning bronze medalist Birgul SOLTANOVA (AZE) won the U20 European Championships in Rome and would be keen on adding a world title to her name. At the Euros, she pulled off an upset by pinning Iryna BONDAR (UKR) who was leading 11-4. Bondar will look to avenge that loss in Sofia.

Luisa SCHEEL (GER) will be another wrestler hoping to reverse the result against Soltanova as she finished second to her in Rome.

Two-time U17 world champion and Tokyo Olympian Sonam MALIK (IND) will also be making her U20 debut and hope to become India's first woman to be a world champion in this age group.

Amit ELOR (USA)Amit ELOR (USA), red, is a returning U20 world champion. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

The USA will be led by returning world champion Amit ELOR (USA) who is hoping to become the nation's first two-time U20 world champion. Elor won the U17 and U20 world titles last year and like Ozaki, will represent the USA in Belgrade.

In the four competitions she has wrestled internationally, Elor has suffered only one loss when Honoka NAKAI (JPN) defeated her in the semifinals of the '19 U17 Worlds, incidentally in Sofia.

She will face a packed field at 72kg with Niikura leading the contenders. Her experience at the senior level will give her an upper hand against Elor but the American is one of the most composed wrestlers around the world.

Others in the pack include U20 European champion Iryna ZABLOTSKA (UKR), silver medalist Nazar BATIR (TUR), U20 Asian champion REETIKA (IND) and Tokyo Olympian Zaineb SGHAIER (TUN).

Katie GOMEZ (USA)Katie GOMEZ (USA) will hope to add a U20 world to her U17 one she won in 2021. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Another world champion for the USA is Katie GOMEZ (USA) who won the U17 title last year. She will try to win the gold medal at 53kg which also has the returning silver medalist Mihaela SAMOIL (MDA) who also won the silver at U20 Europeans this year.

Gomez may run into ANTIM (IND), a wrestler she defeated at the U17 Worlds in a controversial ending to all but clear her path to the gold. ANTIM has since won the U20 Asian title and claimed the Ranking Series gold medal in Tunis.

U20 European champion Amory ANDRICH (GER), who outscored her opponents 38-1, will hope to carry her form in Sofia and challenge the other stars. Returning bronze medalist Emine CAKMAK (TUR) has a chance to upgrade her medal as well.

Japan is sending Ayaka KIMURA (JPN) at this weight class. Kimura was second to world champion Akari FUJINAMI (JPN) at the Junior Queen's Cup and will be making her international debut.

As the winner of the Junior Queen's Cup, Fujinami was in the Japan team but the 18-year-old decided to skip the tournament.

Oleksandra KHOMENETS (UKR)Oleksandra KHOMENETS (UKR) will try to win her first world title in Sofia. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Leading the Ukraine star is World Championships bronze and European silver medalist Oleksandra KHOMENETS (UKR). The experienced international star won the U20 European Championships and will be the favorite to win the 57kg gold.

The category has three returning medalists in silver Aurora RUSSO (ITA) and both bronze winners -- SITO (IND) and Sezim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ).

But the biggest threat to Khomentes hopes of winning the gold is Ruka NATAMI (JPN) who is trying to add a U20 world title to the 2019 U17 title she won in Sofia, the last time she was competing internationally.

Natami also has a U17 Asian silver medal from 2018 after she lost the final to now world silver medalist Anshu MALIK (IND).

Two-time U20 European champion at 59kg Yulia LESKOVETS (UKR) is aiming to win her first world title after being denied by Ozaki at 61kg in 2018.

The Ukraine wrestler has been on a serious run since that loss. She won '21 Euro gold and defended it without conceding a point in her five bouts in Rome.

But it won't be an easy road to gold in Sofia as Sakura MOTOKI (JPN) will be returning to international competition for the first time since winning the '18 U17 world title at 46kg. She defeated Asian champion Sara NATAMI (JPN) twice at the Meiji Cup to win the spot on Japan's team for the senior World Championships.

The weight class also has returning bronze medalist Madina AMAN (KAZ), who also finished with a silver at the U20 Asian Championships and Ebru DAGBASI (TUR) who was second to Leskovets at the U20 Euros.

Umi ITO (JPN)Umi ITO (JPN) is entered at 50kg. (Photo: UWW / Sachiko Hotaka)

Unbeaten internationally over six tournaments, Umi ITO (JPN) is back at the World Championships, the first time since winning the U17 title in 2017 at 43kg. She was injured during the Meiji Cup semifinal against world champion Remina YOSHIMOTO (JPN) but has recovered in time for Sofia.

Ito has won the Klippan Lady Open twice with the second coming in 2020. But since then, she has not been able to venture out of Japan due to the pandemic. 

Her biggest competitor may turn out to be U20 European champion Sevval CAYIR (TUR) as she continues to gain international experience. The 17-year-old is a two-time U17 Worlds bronze medalist with her second one coming in Rome two weeks ago.

Munkhgerel MUNKHBAT (MGL) won the bronze medal at the '21 U20 Worlds and will return with the aim of upgrading her medal.

Former U17 world bronze medalist Audrey JIMENEZ (USA) would like to put her disappointing experience at the U17 Worlds behind and look to win a medal in Sofia.

Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE)U20 European champion Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE) is eyeing her first World Championships medal. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

At 55kg, Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE) is the most accomplished wrestler with experience in various senior-level events. The U20 European champion has never won a medal at any World Championships but Sofia will present her with another chance. Since finishing 12th at the previous U20 Worlds, Mammadova has won gold at U20 Euros and silver at the U23 continental level.

Another wrestler with a wealth of experience is Tuba DEMIR (TUR) who finished second to Mammadova at the U20 European Championships. Just 16 years of age, Demir won the U17 continental title and a bronze medal at the U17 Worlds as well.

But 2019 U17 world champion Moe KIYOOKA (JPN) will be returning to Sofia once again with the hope of winning another world title in the same arena. Recently, she finished second to Olympic champion Mayu SHIDOCHI (JPN) at the Meiji Cup in June.

Two continental champions can potentially collide at 65kg as PRIYANKA (IND) and Manola SKOBELSKA (UKR) are both entered for the competition.

Priyanka won the U20 Asian title in some style in Manama, Bahrain in June while two-time U20 European champion Skobelska was dominant during her golden run in Rome. She did not concede a single point during her four bouts.

Last year's U17 world champion and second to Skobelska in Rome, Eniko ELEKES (HUN) will be another threat to the gold medal.

Priya MALIK (IND)Priya MALIK (IND) is a two-time U17 world champion. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Two of the most stacked weight classes in Sofia are the 68kg and 76kg as they have some of the most accomplished wrestlers in the field.

At 76kg, U20 Euro champion Veronika NYIKOS (HUN) is joined by silver medalist Mariia ORLEVYCH (UKR) who is likely to play a crucial role in the team race.

2021 U20 European champion Melisa SARITAC (TUR) is also entered in the field. She lost her opening bout via fall to Elena MARGAS (ROU) in 2022.

But Ayano MORO (JPN) may prove to be the dark horse and win the gold. She won gold at the 2018 and 2019 U15 Asian Championships and those runs are part of her 32-bout winning streak which began in 2017.

Two-time U17 world champion Priya MALIK (IND) will now test herself at the U20 level and become India's first-ever wrestler to hold three world titles. Malik has lost only once in her entire career -- a 3-2 loss to Nodoka YAMAMOTO (JPN) at the Asian Championships.

Pan-Am champion Vianne ROULEAU (CAN) is also joining the field and can make the run for the gold which will be Canada's first since 2013.

Ami ISHII (JPN)Ami ISHII (JPN) is Japan's respresentative for U20 and senior World Championships. (Photo: Japan Wrestling Federation / Takeo Yabuki)

The 68kg field offers Ami ISHII (JPN) who has qualified for the senior world team for Japan. She impressed with her title-winning run at the Meiji Cup in June and defeated world silver medalist Rin MIYAJI (JPN) in the final.

Returning bronze medalist Nesrin BAS (TUR) won the U20 European Championships and will be hoping to reach the final this year, especially after gaining senior-level experience.

ARJU (IND) lost the bronze medal bout in Budapest but she has since won the U20 Asians and finished with a silver at the U23 level to put her name in the mix.

Silver to Arju in Bishkek, Nurzat NURTAEVA (KGZ) is another wrestler to keep an eye on along with U20 European silver medalist Luciana BEDA (MDA) and '21 U17 world silver Yevheniia SIEDYKH (UKR)

Sophia SCHAEFLE (GER), who has managed to reach the medal bouts of all her five international competitions, will be the dark horse of the weight class.

Women's wrestling begins on August 17 and the 10 champions will be crowned by August 17. All the action will be live on uww.org.