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FILA releases Women’s Freestyle World Rankings

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (May 15) - A trio of gold medalists from the London 2012 Olympic Games top FILA's inaugural international rankings for women's freestyle wrestling.

Three-time Olympic Games gold medalists Saori YOSHIDA (Japan) and Kaori ICHO (Japan) top the rankings at 55kg and 63kg, respectively, while 72kg champion Natalya VOROBIEVA (Russia) sits atop the 72kg rankings as she collects more championship hardware at heavyweight.

VOROBIEVA, a three-time junior world champion before her London triumph, won the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix crown in January, added the Klippan Ladies Open title in February and then prevailed at the European championships in March.

Joining VOROBIEVA on her winter tour of triumphs was another former junior world champ, Valeria CHEPSARAKOVA (Russia), who matched her teammate win-for-win at wrestling's lightest weight category.

In addition to the Japanese veterans and the Russian young guns, the other three weight categories were shared by Jessica MacDONALD (Canada) at 51kg, ZHANG Lan (China) at 59kg, and Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (Mongolia) at 67kg.

These three weight categories have been the "non-Olympic" events in women's wrestling, but the distribution of results among the top 10 in these weight classes show they are as intensely competitive as the four categories contested at the Olympic Games.

The international rankings for women's freestyle wrestling are:

48 kg

Valeria CHEPSARAKOVA (Russia) won two big winter events at 48kg -- the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix and the Klippan Ladies Open -- and then welcomed spring with her first triumph at the European championships and the top spot on the FILA rankings.

Alyssa LAMPE (United States) defeated Elena VOSTRIKOVA (Russia) for the International Ukrainian title and the No.2 spot in the rankings.

1. Valeria CHEPSARAKOVA Russia (Europe No.1, Yarygin GP No.1, Klippan No.1)
2. Alyssa LAMPE United States (International Ukrainian No.1)
3. Elena VOSTRIKOVA Russia (Yarygin GP No.2, Int'l Ukrainian No. 2)
4. Yana STADNIK Britain (Europe No.2)
5. PAK Yong-Mi DPR Korea (Asia No.1)
6. VU Thi Hang Vietnam (Asia No.2)
7. Patimat BAGOMEDOVA Azerbaidjan (Europe No. 3, Dan Kolov No.1)
8. Mikhniso NURMATOVA Kyrgyzstan (Asia No. 3, Klippan No.2)
9. Maroi MEZIEN Tunisia (Africa No.1)
10. Vanesa KALADZINSKAYA Belarus (Yarygin GP No.5, Dan Kolov No.3)

51 kg

Jessica MacDONALD (Canada) won the 2012 world championships title at 51kg and added World Cup honors and a Pan American championships crown this spring.

Yu MIYAHARA (Japan), a gold medalist at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, took the Klippan Ladies crown in February but fell to MacDONALD, 2-1 (0-1, 2-0, 3-0), in their World Cup meeting in March.

1. Jessica MacDONALD Canada (Pan America No. 1, World Cup No.1)
2. Tatyana AMANZHOL-BAKATYUK Kazakhstan (Asia No.1, Yarygin GP No.1)
3. Yu MIYAHARA Japan (Europe No.3, Yarygin GP No.2, Klippan No.2)
4. Ekaterina KRASNOVA Russia (Europe No.3, Yarygin GP No.2, Klippan No.2)
5. Roksana ZASINA Poland (European No.1, Int'l Ukrainian No.3)
6. LIU Haiping China (Asia No.2)
7. SO Sim-Hyang DPR Korea (Asia No.3)
8. Estera DOBRE Romania (Europe No.2, Dan Kolov No.3)
9. Yulia BLAHINYA Ukraine (Europe No.3, Yarygin No.3)
10. Isabelle SAMBOU Senegal (Africa No.1)

55 kg

All-galaxy Saori YOSHIDA has not posted any results since winning her 10th straight world championships title last September. But, YOSHIDA is practicing hard for the Japanese national team trials in June and will be seeking No.11 in Budapest.

World runner-up Helen MAROULIS (United States) and European champion Sofia MATTSSON (Sweden) are racking up the wins with an eye on YOSHIDA's No.1 position.

1. Saori YOSHIDA Japan (Olympic Games 3x No.1, World 10x No.1)
2. Helen MAROULIS United States (World Cup No.1, Int'l Ukrainian No.1)
3. Sofia MATTSSON Sweden (Europe No.1, Klippan No.1)
4. YANG Senlian China (Asia No.1)
5. Kanako MURATA Japan (Asia No.2)
6. Nadesda TRETYAKOVA Russia (Yarygin GP No.1, Klippan No.3)
7. Byambatseren SUNDEV Mongolia (Yarygin No.2, World Cup, No.2)
8. Tatyana OMELCHENKO Ukraine (Int'l Ukrainian No.2, Medved Prizes No. 3)
9. HAN Kum-Ok DPR Korea (Asia No.3)
10. Marie PREVOLARAKI Greece (Europe No. 2)

59 kg

No clear favorites in this weight category. 2012 world champion ZHANG Lan (China) seems to be a good place to start, while Zhargalma TSYRENOVA (Russia) is becoming a fixture on the awards podiums around Europe.

Chihiro KUMABE (Japan), although not No.1 at home, defeated world bronze medalist Tungalag MUNKHTUYA (Mongolia) for the Asia crown. Hela RIABI (Tunisia) breaks into the top 10 with her second title at the African championships and a fifth place in Kiev.

1. ZHANG Lan China (2012 World No.1)
2. Zhargalma TSYRENOVA Russia (Europe No. 2, Yarygin GP No.1)
3. Anastassia HUCHOK Belarus (Europe No. 1, Medved Prizes No.3/63kg)
4. Anna POLOVNEVA Russia (Yarygin GP No. 2, Int'l Ukrainian No.1)
5. Chihiro KUMABE Japan (Asia No.1)
6. Tungalag MUNKHTUYA Mongolia (Asia No. 2)
7. Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA Kyrgyzstan (Asia No.3, Klippan No.3)
8. Michelle FAZZARI Canada (World Cup No.1)
9. Hela RIABI Tunisia (Africa No.1. Int'l Ukrainian No.5)
10. Yaqueline ESTORNELL ELSTIQUE Cuba (Pan America No.1)

63 kg

Kaori ICHO (Japan) missed the world championships in 2008 and 2009 after winning the Olympic gold medal in Beijing, but is not letting any grass grow under her feet as she prepares for the Japanese team trials in June and a trip to Budapest in September.

Elena PIROZHKOVA (United States) became the first non-Japanese wrestler since 2002 to win a world or Olympic title at 63kg when she prevailed in Strathcona County, Canada last September.

Meanwhile, Anastasija GRIGORJEVA (Latvia) has been unbeaten since being body-slammed at the 2012 Games, avenging her loss in London with a victory over Olympic bronze medalist Battsetseg SORONZOLBOLD (Mongolia) in the semifinals of the Yarygin Grand Prix.

1. Kaori ICHO Japan (Olympic Games 3x No.1, World 7x No.1)
2. Elena PIROZKHOVA United States (2012 World No.1, Dave Schultz Memorial No.1)
3. Anastasija GRIGORJEVA Latvia (Europe No.1, Yarygin GP No.1)
4. XILUO zhuoma China (Asia No.1)
5. Battsetseg SORONZOBOLD Mongolia (Yarygin GP No.3, World Cup No.1)
6. Justine BOUCHARD Canada (Pan America No.1, Dave Schultz No.2)
7. Monika MICHALIK Poland (Europe No.2, Int'l Ukrainian No.3)
8. Katherine VIDIAUX LOPEZ Cuba (Pan America No.2)
9. Jackeline RENTARIA CASTILLO Colombia (Pan America No.3, Klippan No.3)
10. Yurika ITO Japan (Asia No.2, World Cup No.2)

67 kg

Adeline GRAY (United States) won the world title in 2012, but appears to be headed to 72kg for a new challenge. In her place, Asia champion and Yarygin Grand Prix winner Nasaburmaa OCHIRBAT (Mongolia) takes GRAY's place in the rankings.

Alina STADNIK-MAKHINYA (Ukraine) won the International Ukrainian tourney and then defeated the International Ukrainian winner at 63kg, Ilana KRATYSH (Israel) for the European crown.

1. Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT Mongolia (Asia No.1, Yarygin GP No.1)
2. Alina STADNIK-MAKHINYA Ukraine (Europe No.1, Int'l Ukrainian No.1)
3. Ilana KRATYSH Israel (Europe No. 2, Int'l Ukrainian No.1/63kg)
4. Yulia BARTNOVSKAYA Russia (Yarygin GP No.3, Dan Kolov No.1)
5. Svetlana BABUSHKINA Russia (Europe No. 3, Klippan No.1)
6. Dorothy YEATS Canada (2012 World No.2)
7. Yoshiko INOUE Japan (2012 World No.3, Yarygin GP No.2)
8. Veronica CARLSON United States (Int'l Ukrainian No.3, Dave Schultz No.2)
9. Aline FOCKE Germany (Europe No.3, Klippan No.3)
10. Stacie Anaka Canada (Pan America No.1, Dave Schultz No.3)


London 2012 Olympic Games gold medalist Natalya VOROBIEVA (Russia) took the triple crown of springtime events in women's freestyle wrestling and appears ready to tighten her grip on the category through the summer.

Maider UNDA (Spain), a bronze medalist in London, lost to VOROBIEVA in the European championship finals and snared a third place in Klippan, Sweden, while Vasilisa MARZALIUK (Belarus) has been the top bronze collector since taking a fifth place in London.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Hiroe SUZUKI (Japan) quietly controls the continent as she won the Asian championships title and individual honors at the World Cup meet in Ulan Baatar.

1. Natalia VOROBIEVA Russia (Europe No.1, Yarygin GP No. 1, Klippan No. 1) 72-1
2. Maider UNDA Spain (Europe No.2, Klippan No.3) 72-2
3. Vasillisa MARZALIUK Belarus (Europe No.3, Yarygin GP No.3, Int'l Ukrainian No.3) 72-3
4. Hiroe SUZUKI Japan (Asia No. 1, World Cup No.1)
5. Katerina BURMISTROVA Ukraine (Europe No.3, Int'l Ukrainian No.1)
6. Burmaa OCHIRBAT Mongolia (Yarygin GP No.2, Dan Kolov No.1)
7. ZHANG, Fengliu China (Dave Schultz No.1, World Cup No.2)
8. Adeline GRAY United States (Dave Schultz No.2, 2012 World No.1/67kg)
9. Jenny FRANSSON Sweden (2012 World No.1)
10. Lisset HECHEVARRIA MEDINA Cuba (Pan America No.1)

William May has been active in wrestling across three continents for more than 40 years as a competitor, coach, referee and journalist. William wrestled with the Minnesota Wrestling Club (USA) in the early 1970s and went to Japan as an English teacher and later a sportswriter for 16 years with the Kyodo News Service in Tokyo. In Japan, William continued to wrestle and coach at Kokushikan University in Tokyo. He also collaborated with the magazine, Japanese Wrestling Monthly, and later the website of the Japan Wrestling Federation. In 2002, William moved to Czech Republic where he teaches English, writes for the JWF website, and coaches at a local wrestling club in Kladno. In 2008 and 2012, William worked as the "Sports Information Specialist" for wrestling at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. He can be reached on his Facebook page or by email,
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