In the absence of Uguev and Sadulayev

The European wrestling championship has ended in Bucharest. The Russian team competed in neutral status and managed to win 14 medals: three gold, four silver and seven bronze. And this is the fourth result in the overall standings of the tournament, which was won by the Turkish team (7-5-3). This number of awards is a very good result, taking into account all the difficulties that the athletes and coaching staff had to face. 

So, the competition was not without scandal. Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulayev was not allowed into Romania at the border. The freestyle representative had a visa and all the necessary documents, but he was sent home. Now the leader of the national team, who has not yet qualified for the Games in Paris, is preparing for other qualifying tournaments. The next one will be held in Azerbaijan on April 4-7.

“Today there are no obstacles to his participation in competitions. But now there are no established rules to talk about, nothing to discuss. Yesterday he was not allowed into Romania, despite having a visa. And tomorrow they can come up with something else and limit us in some way. But we are preparing for anything - both in sports terms and in all other aspects,” emphasized the head of the FSBR, Mikhail Mamiashvili, in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Olympic champion Zaur Uguev also did not go to Bucharest. Unlike Sadulayev, he was simply not given a visa. For the same reasons, Artur Nayfonov and David Baev were not included in the application


And world number one Zaurbek Sidakov missed the start due to injury. Therefore, the composition of the freestyle wrestling team underwent significant changes before the visit to Romania. A total of eight people entered the tournament. But, despite the absence of a number of leaders, the Russians have two golds, a silver and two bronzes in this discipline. 

For the first time in his career, Akhmed Usmanov became the European champion, winning in the up to 79 kg category. In the decisive battle, the world champion turned out to be stronger than Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov, representing the Belarusian national team. It is noteworthy that two neutral athletes competed in the final.

Abasgadzhi Magomedov also supported his compatriot. The second number in the world ranking at the 2023 World Cup in Belgrade stopped one step away from the highest step of the podium, losing to the American Vitaly Aroujau. However, this time he left no chance for the Albanian Zelimkhan Abakarov - 7:4.

Gadzhimurad Rashidov won a silver medal. The two-time European champion played the final with Islam Daudov passively and was defeated - 1:2. At the same time, the athlete performed in a new category. The wrestler's previous victories at continental championships were in the weights up to 57 kg (2016) and up to 61 kg (2018), and now - up to 65 kg.

Young Imam Ganishev won bronze on Sunday. Back in October, the athlete took part in the youth world championship, and has already gone to the adult tournament, replacing Baev, who did not receive a visa, in the weight category up to 74 kg. The debut can be recorded as an asset for the athlete. In the small final, the Russian defeated Murad Kuramagomedov, representing Hungary. Another third place went to the experienced Magomed Kurbanov. The 31-year-old Russian managed to beat Denis Sakhalyuk in the fight for bronze, putting his opponent on his shoulder blades.

Among women in wrestling, the only medal - bronze - was won by Milana Dadasheva. In the fight for third place, she defeated Oksana Livac. The fight turned out to be very tense. And its climax came when the score was 16:15. The judges spent a long time examining the episode in which the opponent threw the Russian woman from the ground, but in the end they considered that this action was committed after the end of the fight and awarded the victory to the domestic athlete. After the fight, the girls, as expected, did not shake hands, and Livac could not hold back her tears.

Moreover, the 28-year-old Russian woman cannot overcome the barrier of the small final. Previously, at the European Championships, she twice climbed to the third step of the podium - in 2018 and 2020.

Semenov's gold

Representatives of the Greco-Roman style brought Russia slightly more awards than freestyle wrestlers - eight. And if the national team had participated in the team competition, it would have confidently topped it, scoring 159 points. But Turkey won the official ranking (147), and the top three included Azerbaijan (142) and Armenia (99).

The only gold in this type of wrestling was won by Sergei Semenov in the weight category up to 130 kg. In the final, the 2019 world champion met with the titled Turk Ryza Kayaalp. The fight ended with the score 4:2 in favor of the Russian, when he threw his opponent on his back, making a touch.

“Sergey is a very experienced wrestler. When he is in a normal state, he is capable of much. And he has proven this more than once. The most important thing for him is to take more care of his health and then everything will be fine,” Mamiashvili said. 

At the same time, there could have been more awards of the highest standard. In addition to Semenov, three more athletes made it to the finals. In the weight category up to 67 kg, Ruslan Bichurin fought for victory. But the debutant of the European Championship in the decisive battle could not cope with the current title holder, as well as two-time World Championship medalist, Hasrat Jafarov from Azerbaijan.

Islam Aliyev also competed at the continental championship for the first time. However, the 22-year-old athlete managed to reach the final in the weight category up to 82 kg, in which he lost to Turk Alperen Berber - 3:4. Moreover, the referees revised the results several times, but still gave the victory to the opponent.

It was even more difficult for Magomed Murtazaliev. Not only was it his first time at such a major tournament, but he was also forced to compete in a category that was more difficult for him. Usually he fights in weight up to 87 kg, but this time he “went up” by 10 kg.

Therefore, even reaching the finals is a huge achievement for a young man. In the decisive battle, the 22-year-old athlete failed to cope with the much more experienced Armenian Artur Aleksanyan (3:6), who is a six-time winner of the European tournament.

Bronze medals were also won by Sadyk Lalaev (up to 60 kg), Narek Ohanyan (up to 72 kg), Adlet Tyulubaev (up to 77 kg) and Anvar Allahyarov (up to 63 kg). Moreover, the latter, like Murtazaliev, usually competes in the lighter category - up to 60 kg.

So Mamiashvili’s reaction to the results of the European Championship is not at all surprising. According to the head of the FSBR, such a number of awards is the success of the domestic team.

“For nine out of ten of our athletes, performance at the European Championships can be considered a debut, since many of them are between 20 and 21 years old and have already become prize-winners of an international tournament. Of course, we are very satisfied with their results and congratulate the wrestlers and coaches on this success. It’s always very joyful when, along with already established athletes, new names such as Aliyev, Bichurin or Murtazaliev appear, who was affected by the lack of experience in the final with the famous Olympic champion Arthur Aleksanyan,” Mamiashvili told RT.