To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world


By William May
(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee


  WOLFURT, Austria (February 11) - Marianna Sastin enjoyed a four-month break after the 2005 world championships in Budapest where she became Hungary’s first world-level medalist. But, judging from the performance of the 22-year-old student here in Wolfurt, she hasn’t missed a step and will be aiming for another world medal in Guangzhou, China.

  Of course, she would like the medal to be gold, but she is realistic about her chances at 59 kg where Seiko Yamamoto and Ayako Shoda have won the last two world titles for Japan. “I wrestled Seiko in New York and Ayako last year, so I know how strong both of them are,” Sastin during a break at Wolfurt. “I would like to wrestle them both again, but maybe Ayako a little more.”

  Sastin lost to Yamamoto 8-2 in the preliminary rounds in New York, where she finished fourth. She lost to Shoda 4-0, 6-0 in the 59-kg final before a hometown crowd last September. One measure of Sastin’s progress, however, might be seen in her two matches with Sally Roberts of the United States. Sastin lost to Roberts by fall in New York, but edged the feisty American 7-4, 7-6 in the semifinals in Budapest. At both meets, Roberts finished with a bronze medal.

  Sastin, wrestling with the Hungarian national team in Wolfurt, was also reserved about her chances in this year’s European championships where she is certain be a favorite. “There are many good wrestlers in Europe at 59 kg, beginning with (defending European champion) Ida-Theres Karlsson of Sweden,” said Sastin. “Still, I hope I can win a medal.”

  Sastin could only manage a seventh-place finish last year after losing to Karlsson 1-0, 3-0 in the second round and then falling 2-0, 2-0 to Italian veteran Diletta Giampiccolo.

  As for 2008, Sastin said she will move up to 63 kg in an attempt to fulfill her dream of wrestling in the Olympics since 59 kg is not on the program for the Beijing Games. “I know it will be very difficult, but I will continue to hope and train hard to realize my dream,” Sastin said.

  In the Wolfurt finals, Sastin defeated Birgit Stern of Austria 2-0, 4-3 as Hungarian wrestlers won three of the senior titles and seven medals altogether. A total of 229 wrestlers from 8 countries took part in the one-day event in western Austria for senior and cadet females and junior men.

  Hungarian coach Laszlo Vatai was satisfied with the results, but hesitated to say that his team is among the European elite.
“We’re still not among the best teams, but we’re getting better,” said Vatai. “The world championships (in Budapest) have given us a lot of energy.”

  The Hungarian women, coached by Vatai and Laszlo Biro, finished in eighth place as a team in Budapest and was the third highest ranked team from Europe after Russia and Ukraine.