World Championships preview in womenâ€™s freestyle wrestling at 59 kg/130 lbs.
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Gary Abbott (USA Wrestling)
Date of competition: Thursday, September 19
As a non-Olympic weight class, this weight class has seen a variety of top wrestlers, many who have switched to an Olympic weight for the Olympic year. We can expect to see this trend continued, as some athletes may return to the weight after changing weights for last year.
Keep an eye on Yulia Ratkevich of Azerbaijan, who was a World champion at this weight class in 2009. Ratkevich was an Olympic bronze medalist at 55 kg last year, but has been at 59 kg/130 lbs. all year and is listed on the Azebaijan roster. She holds the No. 1 ranking from FILA going into the World meet.
A hometown favorite is expected to be Marianna Sastin of Hungary, who is ranked No. 2 by FILA. She has won a pair of World silver medals and a World bronze medal in the past. Sastin has been doing very well this year, winning gold medals at international events in Poland, Romania and Italy this season.
For the last two Olympic cycles, FILA hosted a World Championships for women after the Olympic Games, which allows there to be World champions at the non-Olympic weights for that year as well.
The 2012 World champion at this weight class is Lan Zhang of China, who has not competed at a major event since then and is not on the Chinese lineup for Budapest. World silver medalist Zalina Sidakova of Belarus has continued competing, but wrestled at 55 kg this year and is not on the Belarus lineup at either weight this year. Bronze medalist Olga Butkevich of Great Britain has not wrestled this year either.
The only World medalist from last year who we might see is bronze medalist Munkhtuya Tungalag of Mongolia, who was second at the Asian Championships and competed at the World University Games. She is on her nationâ€™s preliminary roster at 59 kg. The 2010 World champion at 59 kg is also from Mongolia, Battsetseg Soronzonbold, but she is expected to compete at 63 kg in Budapest. Mongolia also has the 2013 Junior World champion at this weight, Tserenchimed Sukhee.
The 2013 European champion at 59 kg is Anastassia Huchok of Belarus, who has gone back and forth from 63 kg all season at a number of events. She is on the Belarus roster at this weight class. She has won medals in international events in Spain, Germany and Belarus this season.
Kyrgyzstan has a top contender in Aisuluu Tynbekova, who was third at both the University World Games and the Junior World Championships at this weight. She took a bronze at the Asian Championships and the Klippan Lady Open in Sweden this season, and also competed at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Another top young star to watch is Canadaâ€™s Braxton Stone, who won international Senior events in Spain and Germany this year, was third at the Pan American Championships and placed second at the 2013 Junior Championships.
Alli Ragan of the USA is another young star seeking success in her first Senior World Championships. This year, she won a silver medal at the World University Games. She is also a two-time Junior World bronze medalist.
It is not clear who Russia will enter this year. Zargalma Tsyrenova was the European runner-up this year and placed fifth at the World University Games. She is on the Russian roster, but so are Oksana Nagornykh and Anna Maximova.
The 2011 World champion at this weight, Ganna Vasylenko of Ukraine, is listed at 63 kg on their roster. Ukraine may be represented by Tetyana Lavrenchuk, a 2013 European bronze medalist at this weight class.
China is usually very tough at this weight class. Their entry is expected to be Chen Yang, who was eighth in the 2012 World Championships and second in the 2011 Asian Championships. China has tremendous depth, so it would not be a surprise if another athlete enters.
Geeta from India, a 2012 World bronze medalist at 55 kg, has moved up to 59 kg and is expected to compete in Budapest. Geeta won silver medals at the World Cup and the Dave Schultz Memorial this season.
A tough European to watch is Hafize Sahin of Turkey, a European bronze medalist this year, as well as the champion at the Mediterranean Games.
Japan will have a young newcomer, Ayaka Ito as its entry. She was second in the 2011 Asian Junior Championships, third at the 2013 Ivan Yarygin Memorial in Russia and fifth in the World University Games.
Finland has a challenger in Petra Olli, a bronze medalist at the Junior World Championships. She won a gold at the Senior level Klippan Ladies Open in Sweden, and was the European Junior champion.
Cuba has the reigning Pan American champion, Yaquellin Estornell, who could be a sleeper. The womenâ€™s program in Cuba has been improving quickly. Pan American silver medalist Joyce Souza da Silva of Brazil is a veteran who was ninth in the World last year and competed at the 2012 Olympic Games at 55 kg.
No matter how you look at it, this weight class is wide open. Ratkevich has the biggest resume coming in, but it would not be surprising to see a young up-and-comer make a run at the gold medal this year. It really is anybodyâ€™s game.
FILA WORLD RANKINGS
1. Yulia Ratkevich (Azerbaijan); 2. Marianna Sastin (Hungary); 3. Irina Netreba (Azerbaijan); 4. Braxton Stone (Canada); 5. Zhargalma Tsyrenova (Russia); 6. Alli Ragan (USA); 7.Aisuluu Tynbekova (Kyrgyzstan); 8. Tungalag Munkhtuya (Mongolia); 9. Anna Polovneva (Russia); 10. Michelle Fazzari (Canada); 11. Petra Olli (Finland); 12. Hafize Sahin (Turkey); 13. Joice Souza De Silva (Brazil); 14. Ayaka Ito (Japan); 15. Hayat Farac Youssef (Egypt)
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2012 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold â€“ Lan Zhang (China); Silver â€“ Zalina Sidakova (Belarus); Bronze â€“ Munkhtuya Tungalag (Mongolia); Bronze â€“ Olga Butkevych (Great Britain); 5th - Sheoran Shilpi (India); 5th - Kayoko Shimada (Japan); 7th - Yuliya Ratkevich (Azerbaijan); 8th - Ekaterina Melnikova (Russia); 9th - Michelle Fazzari (Canada); 10th - Leigh Jaynes (USA)
2011 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. â€“ Gold - Ganna Vasylenko (Ukraine); Silver - Sofia Mattsson (Sweden); Bronze - Takako Saito (Japan); Bronze - Sona Ahmadli (Azerbaijan); 5th - Dorj Narmandakh (Mongolia); 5th - Amanda Gerhart (Canada); 7th - Nadzeya Mikhalkova (Belarus) ; 8th - Adeline Vescan (France); 9th - Valeria Zholobova (Russia) ; 10th - Agata Pietrzyk (Poland)
2010 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold â€“ Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia); Silver â€“ Lian Zhang (China); Bronze â€“ Ayako Shoda (Japan); Bronze â€“ Johanna Mattsson (Sweden); 5th â€“ Tonya Verbeek (Canada); 5th â€“ Kelsey Campbell (USA); 7th â€“ Laura Skujina (Lithuania); 8th â€“ Olga Kalinina (Kazakhstan); 9th - Alka Tomar (India); 10th â€“ Joice Souza da Silva (Brazil)
2009 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold - Yulia Ratkevich (Azerbaijan); Silver - Agata Pietrzyk (Poland); Bronze - Marianna Sastin (Hungary); Bronze - Ganna Vasylenko (Ukraine); 5th - Deanna Rix (USA); 5th - Katherine Patroch (Canada); 7th - Olga Kalinina (Kazakhstan); 8th - Ludmila Cristea (Moldova); 9th - Aurora Fajardo (Spain); 10th - Olga Kiosova (Russia)
2008 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold â€“ Ayako Shoda (Japan); Silver â€“ Natalia Golts (Russia); Bronze â€“ Elvira Mursalova (Azerbaijan); Bronze â€“ Agata Pietrzyk (Poland); 5th â€“ Deanna Rix (USA); 5th â€“ Sabrina Esposito (Italy); 7th â€“ Katie Patroch (Canada); 8th â€“ Leyla Metin (Turkey); 9th â€“ Marianna Sastin (Hungary); 10th â€“ Alla Cherkasova (Ukraine)
2007 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold - Audrey Prieto-Bokhashvili (France); Silver - Stephanie Gross (Germany); Bronze - Natalya Synyshyn (Ukraine); Bronze - Dorj Narmandakh (Mongolia); 5th - Brittanee Laverdure (Canada); 5th - Sandra Roa (Colombia); 7th - Ayako Shoda (Japan); 8th - Larissa Kanaeva (Russia); 9th - Miruyert Dynbaeva (Kazakhstan); 10th - Agata Pietrzyk (Poland)
2006 World Championships results
59 kg/130 lbs. â€“ Gold - Ayako Shoda (Japan); Silver - Su Liu Hui (China); Bronze - Alka Tomar (India); Bronze - Nataliya Sinishin (Ukraine); 5th - Ludmila Cristea (Moldova); 5th - Marianna Sastin (Hungary); 7th - Erin Tomeo (United States); 8th - Stefanie Stuber (Germany); 9th - Jackeline Renteria (Colombia); 10th - Gudrun Hoie (Norway)
2005 World Championships results
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold - Ayako Shoda (Japan); Silver - Marianna Sastin (Hungary); Bronze - Sally Roberts (USA); Bronze - Lene Aanes (Norway); 5th - Anna Zwirydowska (Poland); 5th - Ida Theres-Karlsson (Sweden); 7th - Yuliya Ratkevich (Belarus); 8th - Michelle Richardson (Canada); 9th - Olena Komarova (Ukraine); 10th - Alka Tomar Singh (India)