Women's Wrestling Takes Centerstage at #WrestleUfa
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 11:33 By Vinay Siwach
UFA, Russia (August 17) -- Amit ELOR (USA), Emily SHILSON (USA) and Irina RINGACI (MDA) highlight a field of 19 former age group world medalists as women's wrestling gets underway at the Junior World Championships Wednesday in Ufa, Russia.
Though Japan and China are going to miss a second consecutive age-group World Championships, USA will look to repeat their team title winning performance from the cadet World Championships in Budapest, Hungary last month.
Elor was with that team winning the gold medal at the 69kg weight class in dominating fashion. Still 17, she will be at her first junior Worlds and is the prime contender for the gold medal.
USA is bringing a strong team to Ufa with former world champion at the cadet level Shilson looking for her first junior world title. She also had a silver medal in 2017.
But SIMRAN (IND) would like to avenge her loss from the Youth Olympic Games final against Shilson. She is also entered the competition at 50kg.
Two more wrestlers from that 2018 Worlds are also entered in Natallia VARAKINA (BLR), bronze medalist and Viktoriia ALEKSANDROVA (RUS), also a bronze medalist.
For Elor, she is unlikely to face trouble from any of the competitors and this tournament could mark the start of a long title-winning career for her.
Another wrestler from the USA to look out for is Kennedy BLADES (USA) at 72kg who stunned everyone with her run at the US Olympic team trials by reaching the final. She lost to Taymra MENSAH STOCK (USA) who won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
At 65kg, Alara BOYD (USA) will try to capture the gold after winning a silver and bronze at the cadet Worlds level. But a big match up against Ringaci awaits her.
Ringaci is the most accomplished wrestler in the field with gold medals at the senior and U23 European Championships in 2021, a gold at the U23 Worlds in 2019.
Kylie WELKER (USA), who wrestled Adeline GRAY (USA) in the final of the US Team Trial, will be hoping to improve on her bronze medal finish at the 2019 cadet Worlds, which she won at 61kg.
Kseniya DZIBUK (BLR), who won bronze for Ukraine at that Worlds, will also entered at 76kg and so is 2021 European champion Melisa SARITAC (TUR).
Four former world medalists are entered at 55kg as well. Alesia HETMANAVA (BLR) won a bronze medal at the 2019 cadet Worlds and will be looking to improve on that performance in Ufa. From the same Worlds, Kalmira BILIMBEK KYZY (KGZ) won a silver medal.
Munkhgerel MUNKHBAT (MGL) also has won a bronze medal at the 2019 cadet Worlds at the 49kg and is now entered at 55kg.
A former junior World Championships bronze medalist Mansi AHLAWAT (IND) is entered at 57kg and she will be looking to make her first final at this level. But home favourite Anastasiia KOZLOVA (RUS) and Claire DICUGNO (USA) will be big threats for her.
At 59kg, Anna SZEL (HUN) will be the favourite given she already has two cadet World medals apart from a host of European medals.
Women's wrestling begins Wednesday with five weight classes -- 50kg, 55kg, 59kg, 68kg and 76kg -- followed by the remaining five on Thursday.