The weights may be new, but the story is the same. As they have for most of the past decade, Saori YOSHIDA (JPN) and Kaori ICHO (JPN) won in their respective categories at the wrestling world championships on Thursday.
Yoshida defeated European champion Sofia MATTSSON (SWE), 6-0, for a second straight year for the 53kg crown and Kaori ICHO (JPN) forced a 10-0 technical fall on Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS) in the 58kg final at the Gymnastics Palace arena in Tashkent.
Yoshida and Icho have monopolized the 55kg and 63kg categories since 2002, but with the installation of a new system of weight categories in January, both wrestlers welcomed the new categories closer to their natural weights.
Yoshida won her 12th world championship title to go along with three Olympic Games gold medals while Icho, who has also won three gold medals at the Olympic Games, won her ninth world crown.
In the final weight category contested on Thursday, 2013 world bronze medalist Adeline GRAY (USA) scored a single-leg takedown in the first period and made it stand for a 2-1 win over Aline FERREIRA (BRA).
It was Gray’s second world title after winning the 67kg crown at the 2012 world meet in Strathcona County, Canada.
Ferreira, meanwhile, won Brazil’s first medal in wrestling in any of the three Olympic Games disciplines, despite the loss.
Ferreira defeated 2013 world bronze medalist OCHIRBAT Burmaa (MGL), 5-2, in the 75kg semifinals earlier in the day to book her berth in the championship final.
The best previous finish at the world championships for a Brazilian was an eighth place earned by Joice SILVA (BRA) at 59kg in 2013 and equaled by Giulia RODRIGUES (BRA) at 55kg in Tashkent on Wednesday. Brazil was first represented at the world championships in 1987.
Wrestling continues Friday with competition in the final female event, 63kg, and the first two categories in Greco-Roman – 75kg and 85kg.
Summaries of the medal finals
53kg – Yoshida broke the 30-second shot clock with a single-leg takedown in the second period that dropped Sofia MATTSSON (SWE) to her back for a 6-0 win.
In the bronze medal matches, Jillian GALLAYS (CAN) scored a pair of spin-behind counters in the second period for a 6-2 in over junior world champion Natalya MALYSHEVA (RUS).
Asia junior champion JONG Myong-Suk (PRK) scored a four-point double-leg takedown on her way to an 11-5 win over European bronze medalist Natalia BUDU (MDA).
58kg – Icho spun behind from a front headlock three times against a defense-minded Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS) and picked up a couple of leg attacks for a 10-0 technical fall at 5:49.
Former European champ Anastassia HUCHOK (BLR) scored a takedown and exposure points off a counter for a 4-4 win on criteria Allison RAGAN (USA). Elif YESILIRMAK (TUR) scored on three spin-behinds in the second period to defeat Lissette ANTES (ECU), 8-2.
75kg – Gray scored a single-leg takedown midway through the first period of the day’s finale and was happy to let a 30-second shot clock pass for a one-point penalty late in the second period for a 2-1 win over Ferriera.
OCHIRBAT Burmaa (MGL) received a point off the 30-second clock and a go-behind right before the end of the first period and held on for a 3-0 victory over Andrea OLAYA (COL) for the bronze medal a second straight year.
ZHOU Qian (CHN) opened with a double-leg takedown for four-points 30 seconds into the bout and added another double-leg in the second on her way to a 7-1 win over Epp MAE (EST).
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