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|Elena Pirozhkova advances to bronze-medal match at World Championships|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Elena Pirozhkova takes control during the first session of the World Championships on Thursday. Tony Rotundo photo.
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Elena Pirozhkova came back from a tough defeat to advance to the bronze-medal match at the World Wrestling Championships.
Pirozhkova won back-to-back repechage matches to reach the bronze bout in women’s freestyle at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. on Thursday.
Pirozhkova will battle Junior World champion Anastasia Bratchikova of Russia for a bronze medal on Thursday night at Papp Laszlo Sports Arena. Pirozhkova already owns World gold and silver medals.
Pirozhkova defeated Italy’s Maria Diana 8-0 in the second-round of the repechage to reach the bronze-medal match. She recorded a first-period fall over Venezuela’s Josefina Herrera in the first round of the repechage.
Pirozhkova opened her day with a quick 9-2 technical fall over Egypt’s Hayat Farg.
Pirozhkova then lost by fall to Olympic bronze medalist Battsetseg Sornzobold of Mongolia in the second round. Pirozhkova trailed 5-3 and shot in on a leg attack. Sornzobold countered and headlocked Pirozhkova to her back for a pin. The Mongolian then reached the finals to pull Pirozhkova back in for the repechage.
"I made a few mistakes and it really cost me against the Mongolian," Pirozhkova said. "I was really looking forward to wrestling in the finals, but wrestling for the bronze is the next best thing. I'm looking forward to coming back and trying to win a bronze medal."
2012 World silver medalist Helen Maroulis fell short of a medal at 55 kg/121 lbs.
Maroulis lost by first-period fall to Bulgaria’s Maya Hristova in the repechage to come up one match short of the bronze-medal match.
Maroulis, who turned 22 today, opened with a win over 2009 World silver medalist Kum Ok Han of North Korea. Maroulis led 7-3 before Han rallied to tie the match 8-8 in the final minute. Maroulis then scored a takedown before turning Han to her back to record a fall with five seconds left in the match.
Maroulis followed with a first-period fall over Vietnam’s Thi Hue Pham in the second round.
Maroulis then fell just short against World champion Sofia Mattsson of Sweden in the quarterfinals. Maroulis trailed 5-0 before staging a strong comeback before falling 7-6. Mattsson then reached the finals to pull Maroulis back in for the repechage.
"I had a great first two matches with two pins," Maroulis said. "I lost a tough match in the quarterfinals and I didn't shake it off. I wasn't ready to battle in the next match."
World University Games silver medalist Alli Ragan fell short of a medal in her first appearance at the Senior Worlds at 59 kg/130 lbs.
Ragan opened by pinning Junior World champion Svetlana Lipatova of Russia. Ragan led 4-0 before headlocking Lipatova for a fall in the second period.
Ragan then dropped a 3-2 decision to Japan’s Ayaka Ito in the quarterfinals. Ito trailed 2-1 before scoring a takedown with 40 seconds left for the eventual winning points. Ragan had defeated Ito at the World University Games this summer.
Ragan was eliminated when Ito was pinned by Hungary’s Marianna Sastin in the semifinals.
"I will definitely learn from this experience," Ragan said. "I'll be back next year and many more years hopefully. I definitely know I can compete with anyone in the World."
Day 4 of the seven-day event is set for Friday in Budapest. World champion Adeline Gray and Junior World silver medalist Veronica Carlson are set to take the mat for the U.S. in women’s freestyle along with two-time Olympian Spenser Mango in Greco-Roman.
FILA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Papp Laszlo Sports Arena, Budapest, Hungary
55 kg/121 lbs.
Saori Yoshida (Japan) vs. Sofia Mattson (Sweden)
59 kg/130 lbs.
Marianna Sastin (Hungary) vs. Taybe Yusein (Bulgaria)
63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Kaori Icho (Japan) vs. Battsetseg Sornzobold (Mongolia)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Kum Ok Han (North Korea), fall 5:55
WIN Thi Hue Pham (Vietnam), fall 2:08
LOSS Sofia Mattsson (Sweden), 6-7
LOSS Maya Hristova (Bulgaria), fall 0:31
59 kg/130 lbs. – Alli Ragan, Carbondale, Ill. (New York AC)
WIN Svetlana Lipatova (Russia), 4:24
LOSS Ayaka Ito (Japan), 2-3
63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Elena Pirozhkova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Hayat Farg (Egypt), 9-2
LOSS Battsetseg Sornzobold (Mongolia), fall 5:07
WIN Josefina Herrera (Venezuela), fall 1:11
WIN Marina Diana (Italy), 8-0
vs. Anastasia Bratchikova (Russia) in bronze-medal match