UPDATED U S wrestlers eliminated at Beach Worlds in Bulgaria

By Gary Abbott | Aug. 31, 2009, 5:18 p.m. (ET)
OBZOR, Bulgaria - The two U.S. wrestlers who competed at the World Beach Wrestling Championships this year were beaten and eliminated in the first round on Saturday.

Beaten in their opening matches were Jeff Funicello (Gilbert, Ariz./American Pankration-Sunkist Kids) and Ben Johnstone (Rochester, N.Y./RIT). Both competed in the Below 85 kg/187.5 lbs. division.

Funicello was beaten by Augusto Midana of FILA Centre, who went on to capture the bronze medal.

Johnstone was eliminated by Plamen Kirov of Bulgaria, who finished sixth.

The World Beach Championships was a single-elimination tournament, so neither U.S. wrestler competed again.

The competition featured about 34 competitors from 10 different nations.

In the men's division, winning the Under 85 kg division was Bulgaria's Nikolai Stanchev, while capturing the Over 85 kg division was Dimitar Kumchev of Bulgaria. Kumchev, a freestyle wrestler who was eighth in the 2008 European Championships, defeated Eldar Kurtanidze of Georgia, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in freestyle.

In the women's division, claiming the Under 70 kg/154 lbs. was Isabelle Sambou (FILA Centre), while winning the Over 70 kg/154 lbs. was Annabel Laure Ali (FILA Centre). Sambou, who is from Senegal, has won three African titles in freestyle wrestling.

Winning the Absolute Champion match for men, which pitted the two champions in a challenge match, was Kumchev. The women's Absolute Champion was Ali.

This was the first time that FILA hosted a World Beach Wrestling Championships as a stand-alone event. In past years, the World Beach event was held as part of the World Wrestling Games.

Funicello entered the event as the only American to win more than one medal at the World Beach Championships. He captured his bronze medals in Antalya, Turkey in 2007 and in Durres, Albania in 2008.

Johnstone was competing in his first World Beach event.

at Obzor, Bulgaria, August 29

Men's Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs.
Gold - Nikolai Stanchev (Bulgaria)
Silver - Adem Akbulut (Turkey)
Bronze - Augusto Midana (FILA Centre)
4th - Dimitar Kasov (Bulgaria)
5th - Mihail Yanev (Bulgaria)
6th - Plamen Kirov (Bulgaria)
7th- Petar Kasabov (Bulgaria)
8th - Predrag Stanjevic (Montenegro)
9th - Huseyin Gundruz (Turkey)
10th - Alak Erkki (Estonia)

Men's Over 85 kg/187.5 lbs.
Gold - Dimitar Kumchev (Bulgaria)
Silver - Eldar Kurtanidze (Georgia)
Bronze - Rodrigo Artilheiro (Brazil)
4th - Abdulkadir Sarac (Turkey)
5th - Petar Bogaevski (Bulgaria)
6th - Mehmed Husein (Bulgaria)
7th - Petar Tonev (Bulgaria)
8th - Charalambos Kaltsidis (Greece)
9th- Ivaylo Sofiadi (Bulgaria)

U.S. performances

Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs. - Jeff Funicello (Gilbert, Ariz./American Pankration-Sunkist Kids), dnp/17th
LOSS Augusto Midana (FILA Centre)

Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs. - Ben Johnstone (Rochester, N.Y./RIT), dnp/11th
LOSS Plamen Kirov (Bulgaria)

Women's Under 70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold - Isabelle Sambou (FILA Centre)
Silver - Tayebe Yusein (Bulgaria)
Bronze - Judicael Rafalharisolo (FILA Centre)
4th - Zomitza Valeva (Bulgaria)
5th - Valya Trandeva (Bulgaria)

Women's Over 70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold - Annabel Laure Ali (FILA Centre)
Silver - Elina Vaseva (Bulgaria)
Bronze - Ralitsa Ivanova (Bulgaria)

MEN'S ABSOLUTE CHAMPION - Dimitar Kumchev (Bulgaria)