To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writer：email@example.com）
OLYMPIC HOPEFULS ADVANCE ON 1ST DAY OF EURO C'SHIPS
RIGA (May 1) - World champions Sofia
Poubouridou of Greece and Alena Kartakhova
of Russia opened their bids for berths at
next year's Olympic Games by earning convincing
wins at the European freestyle wrestling
championships in Riga on May 1.
Poubouridou and Kartakhova won world
titles last November at weight categories
which unfortunately are not on the program
for the 2004 Athens Games. Poubouridou won
the world title at 51 kg and Kartakhova triumphed
at 59 kg. Women's wrestling will be making
its debut in Athens, but only the 48-kg,
55-kg, 63-kg and 72-kg weight categories
will be contested.
Poubouridou posted a pair of wins at
55 kg at RTU International Exhibition Center,
but will have to defeat Sweden's Ida-Theres
Karlsson, the world bronze medalist and No.
2 in Europe last year at the Olympic weight,
to advance to the championship bracket.
Kartakhova, wrestling up at 63 kg, meanwhile,
overpowered Adrienn Szabovik of Hungary for
a fall at 2:14. Kartakhova will meet Lene
Aanes of Norway on the second day of competition
for a chance to advance. Also at 55 kg, two-time
defending European champion Tatiana Lazareva
of Ukraine was upended 5-1 by Norwegian veteran
and former four-time world champion Gudrun
Natalia Golts of Russia, the world bronze
medalist at 51 kg who is also up at 55 kg,
booked her place in the championship bracket
with technical fall and a one-sided win over
Sandrine Seve of France. At 48 kg, world
champion Brigitte Wagner also won twice as
she seeks to secure her first senior European
title. Lilia Kaskarakova of Russia, who upset
Wagner at the Poland Open in March, moved
into the semifinals with tightly contested
wins over Poland's Iwona Matkowska-Sadowska
and Yuliya Voytova of Ukraine.
At 63 kg, two-time European champion
Malgorzata Bassa of Poland struggled with
Ukraine's Oxana Shalikova, giving up a pair
of single-leg takedowns in the first period,
but came back for a pin in the second period.
Sara Ericksson, who fell to Japan's Kaori
Icho in the 63-kg world meet final last fall,
is seeking a repeat of the European title
she won at 59 kg last year after a pair of
In the men's competition, Olympic and
world heavyweight champion David Musulbes
of Russia opened defense of his continental
crown with a dominating 8-0 win over Poland's
The Polish veteran is the last wrestler
to defeat Musulbes in a major international
meet when he topped the Russian 2-1 in the
finals of the 2000 European championships.
Musulbes dumped Germany's Sven Thiele
to his back in overtime for a 5-0 win. Chasing
the Russian are Alexander Modebadze of Georgia,
No. 2 in Europe in 2001, and Turkey's Aydin
Polatci, the 1998 European champion who took
a bronze medal in last year's world championships.
At 55 kg, Sydney Olympic gold medalist Namik
Abdullaev of Azerbaijan started with a technical
fall win in just 59 seconds and received
a bye in the second round.
Four-time European champion Alexander
Zakharuk of Ukraine lost 6-5 in overtime
to Olympic bronze medalist Amiran Kartanov
of Greece and ended the first day of competition
with a win and a loss.
Zakharuk ruled over the European lightweights
from 1997 to 2000 but has won only a pair
of bronze medals at the world championships
(in 1999 and 2002). He also had to settle
for a fifth place at the Sydney Olympics.
At 66 kg, defending world champion Elbrus
Tedeev of Ukraine cruised into the quarterfinals
with a pin and a win by technical fall superiority.The
Ukraine veteran, however, will face a stiff
challenge over the next two days from 2001
world champ Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria
(63 kg) and Russia's Irbek Farniev.