WRESTLING Preview: Top stars head to Siberia for first UWW Ranking Tournament of 2019

Olympic champion Kyle Snyder of the U.S. (at right; Photo: UWW)

After escaping Olympic elimination, United World Wrestling is slowly getting its act together and finding better ways to draw attention to the second-oldest sport in Olympic history.

One of its new innovations is to make four events as “ranking tournaments,” which score points toward the UWW World Rankings, already a popular way to size up the top wrestlers in each weight class. First up is the already-popular Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, roughly in the middle of Russia.

The 30th edition of this tournament runs from 24-26 January and has competition in men’s and women’s Freestyle, in all 20 classes. The fields are large, but studded with outstanding wrestlers; USA Wrestling did a superb job of picking out the stars (here), but we’ll list just some of the top stars:

Men/Freestyle:

57 kg:
● Bekhbayar Erdenebat (MGL) ~ 2015 & 2017 World Championships bronze medalist
● Tuvshintulga Tumenbileg (MGL) ~ 2018 World Championships bronze medalist (61 kg)
Thomas Gilman (USA) ~ 2017 World Championships silver medalist

61 kg:
Joseph Colon (USA) ~ 2018 World Championships bronze medalist

65 kg:
● Akhmed Chakaev (RUS) ~ 2016 & 2018 World Championships bronze medalist
● Gadzhimurad Rashidov (RUS) ~ 2017-18 Worlds silver medalist (61 kg)

70 kg:
● Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (MGL) ~ 2013 & 2014 World Championships bronze medalist
● David Baev (RUS) ~ 2017 World Junior Champion
James Green (USA) ~ 2015 Worlds bronze and 2017 Worlds silver medalist

74 kg:
● Zaurbek Sidakov (RUS) ~ 2018 World Champion
● Magomed Kurbanaliev (RUS) ~ 2013 Worlds bronze; 2016 World Champion
● Yakup Gor (TUR) ~ 2014 Worlds silver, 2015 Worlds bronze medalist

79 kg:
● Akhmed Gadzhimagomedov (RUS) ~ 2018 World Championships bronze medalist
● Alan Zaseev (RUS) ~ 2013 World Junior Champion
Alex Dieringer (USA) ~ 2013 World Junior silver medalist

86 kg:
● Vladislav Valiev (RUS) ~ 2013 World Junior Champion; 2017 Worlds bronze medalist
● Soslan Ktsoev (RUS) ~ 2010 World Championships bronze medalist
● Fatih Erdin (TUR) ~ 2018 World Championships silver medalist

92 kg: No Olympic or World Championships medalists

97 kg:
● Shamil Musaev (RUS) ~ 2017 World Junior Champion
Kyle Snyder (USA) ~ 2016 Olympic Champion, 2015 & 2017 World Champion; 2018 World Championships silver medalist

125 kg:
● Zhiwei Deng (CHN) ~ 2018 World Championships silver medalist
● Taha Akgul (TUR) ~ 2016 Olympic Champion, 2013 & 2014 World Champion; 2017 World Championships silver medalist

Women/Freestyle:

50 kg:
● Kika Kagata (JPN) ~ 2017 World Junior Champion
Victoria Anthony (USA) ~ 2009 & 2010 World Junior Champion

53 kg:
● Sumiya Erdenechimeg (MGL) ~ 2013 World Championships silver
● Natalya Malysheva (RUS) ~ 2014 World Junior Champion
Sarah Hildebrandt (USA) ~ 2018 World Championships silver medalist

55 kg: No Olympic or World Championships medalists

57 kg:
● Bilyana Dudova (BUL) ~ 2018 World Championships silver medalist
● Tserenchimed Sukhee (MGL) ~ 2014 World Champion; 2015 Worlds silver
Becka Leathers (USA) ~ 2017 World Championships bronze medalist

59 kg:
● Battsetseg Altantsetseg (MGL) ~ 2014 World Junior Champion

62 kg: No Olympic or World Championships medalists

65 kg:
● Shoovdor Baatarjav (MGL) ~ 2018 World Championships bronze medalist

68 kg:
● Battsetseg Soronzonbold (MGL) ~ 201- & 2015 World Champion; 2013 Worlds silver

72 kg:
● Nasanburmaa Ochirbat (MGL) ~ 2018 Worlds silver; 2008-11-13 Worlds bronze medalist
Tamyra Mensah-Stock (USA) ~ 2018 World Championships bronze medalist and defending champion

76 kg:
● Aline Focken (GER) ~ 2014 World Champion; 2015 Worlds bronze medalist
● Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki (JPN) ~ 2017 & 2018 Worlds bronze medalist
● Elena Perepekina (RUS) ~ 2005 & 2006 Worlds bronze; 1999 World Junior Champion

Snyder will be trying for his third title in this event; Mensah-Stock will be trying for her third title as well; she has won both times she has entered.

Look for results on the UWW site here.

While the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix is on in Russia, one of the top tournaments held annually in the U.S. will take place in Colorado Springs this weekend: the 21st edition of the Dave Schultz Memorial International.

While most of the entries are American, there are also competitors from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Japan, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Among the notable contenders (U.S. unless otherwise noted):

Men/Freestyle:
70 kg: Frank Molinaro, 2016 Olympian
79 kg: Aaron Brooks, 2018 World Junior Champion

Men/Greco-Roman:
82 kg: Kamel Bey, 2017 World Junior Champion

Women/Freestyle:
50 kg: Jessica MacDonald (CAN), 2012 World Champion and 2016 Olympic Champion
65 kg: Mallory Velte, 2018 World Championships bronze medalist
68 kg: Danielle Lappage (CAN), 2018 World Championships silver medalist
76 kg: Erica Wiebe (CAN), 2018 World Championships bronze medalist

Look for results here.

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