ISTANBUL (September 14) – Roman Vlasov defeated two-time defending champion Selcuk Cebi for the 74kg title and spoiled Istanbul's plans for a huge celebration to signal the close of the greco-roman events at the senior wrestling world championships.
The young Russian, the winner of the junior world title slightly over a year ago, turned hometown favorite Cebi to take the first period of the championship final and then won the bout with 30 seconds of solid defense in the second period.
Vlasov's win also added an exclamation point to Russia's triumph in the greco-roman competition. Russia took the team title with 41 points, Vlasov's gold medal and three bronze.
Turkey was the team runner-up with 35 points and one champion, followed by Iran with 30 points and two individual champions.
In earlier greco-roman bouts, Beijing Olympic champ Manuchar Kvirkvelia (GEO) fell to Neven Zugaj (CRO) in the third round while last year's runner Armen Julfalakyan (ARM) lost 0-1, 2-0, 0-1 to Cebi in the same round.
Women's freestyle also got under way with competition in the two lightest weight categories – 48kg (an Olympic event) and 51kg (non-Olympic).
At 48kg, Hitomi Obara, formerly known as Hitomi Sakamoto, scratched out a 2-1 victory over Maria Stadnyk (AZE) in the toughest challenge ever faced by Obara in her eight appearances in the world championship finals.
Obara, FILA's female wrestler of the year in 2000, now looks ahead to her first trip to the Olympic Games in London next year. Obara won six of her world titles at the non-Olympic weight of 51kg before moving to 48kg for last year's world meet.
Also at 48kg, Olympic gold medalist Carol Huynh (CAN) lost in the quarterfinals to Obara and then again in the bronze medal match, but still booked her place at the London Games. The top six wrestlers in each of the Olympic weight categories earned Olympic berths.
At the non-Olympic category of 51kg, Zamira Rakhmanova (RUS) emerged with her first world title after a 2-1 win over Davaasukh Otgontsetseg (MGL), after both wrestlers thought they had taken the clinch in the third period. A video replay, however, showed that Rakhmanova scored the points needed before being turned over herself.
Rakhmanova, a bronze medalist one year ago in Moscow, won her first major title since winning the European crown in 2007.
74kg (47 entries)
F1 – Roman Vlasov (RUS) df. Selcuk Cebi (TUR), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F3 – Neven Zugaj (CRO) df. Robert Rosengren (SWE), 2-1 (0-2, 1-0, 2-0)
F3 – Armen Julfalakyan (ARM) df. Ashkat Dilmukhamedov (KAZ), 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
SF – Vlasov (RUS) df. Zugaj (CRO), 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 3-0)
SF – Cebi (TUR) df. Dilmukhamedov (KAZ), 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 2-0)
48kg (40 entries)
F1 – Hitomi Obara df. (JPN) Mariya Stadnyk (AZE), 2-1 (2-3, 1-0, 1-0)
F3 – Zhao Shasha (CHN) df. Carol Huynh (CAN), 2-1 (0-1=2:03, 1-0=2:02, 1-0=2:01)
F3 – Jyldyz Eshimova (KAZ) df. Carolina Castillo Hidalgo (COL), 2-0 (1-0=2:02, 3-0=2:05)
SF – Obara (JPN) df. Zhao (CHN) by fall, 1P=1:42 (F6-2)
SF – Stadnyk (AZE) df. Castillo Hidalgo (COL), 2-0 (6-0, 4-0)
51kg (23 entries)
F1 – Zamira Rakhmanova (RUS) df. Davaasukh Otgontsetseg (MGL), 2-1 (2-3, 5-0, 2-0=2:07)
F3 – Patimat Bagomedova (AZE) df. Rathi Neha (IND), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0=2:03)
F3 – Jessica MacDonald (CAN) df. Mareka Shidochi (JPN), 2-0 (6-1, 1-0)
SF – Davaasukh (MGL) df. Neha (IND), 2-0 (7-0, 1-0)
SF – Rakhmanova (RUS) df. Shidochi (JPN), 2-0 (3-0, 5-0)