2010 World Championships preview at 63 kg 138 75 lbs in women s freestyle wrestlingThis weight division has been dominated by Japanese wrestlers. For seven straight years (2002-2008), Kaori Icho won everything at this division, winning two Olympic gold medals and five World titles. Icho did not compete after the Olympics, and Japan's Mio Nishimaki took the spot, and claimed the 2008 and 2009 World titles.
Icho has returned, winning a gold medal at the 2010 World Cup. She qualified for the Japanese World Team, and will be seeking an eighth career World or Olympic title. Icho will be a heavy favorite at this class until somebody knocks her off the top of the podium.
Winning a World silver medalist for the last two years was Lubov Volosova of Russia. She continued her effective wrestling with a victory at the 2010 European Championships. The Russian lineup has not been announced, but 2008 Olympic silver medalist at Alena Kartashova has moved up to 67 kg where she won the European Championships. Winning a silver medal at the World Cup for Russia at 63 kg was Natalia Laushkina.
Elena Shalygina of Kazakhstan has been a star at this division, winning bronze medals at the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships. However, Shalygina won the 2010 FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals and the 2009 Asian Championships up at 67 kg. Olga Kalanina, who was seventh at the 2009 World Championships at 59 kg, is an option here, after taking fifth at 63 kg at the Asian Championships.
2007 World champion Audrey Prieto Bokhashvili of France will be a contender. She placed second in the 2010 European Championships and was a 2008 World bronze medalist. She also won a bronze at the Poland Open, a pre-World tuneup event.
Canada's Justine Bouchard won the other 2009 World bronze medal. She won gold medals at the Hargobind International, the Dave Schultz Memorial and the Canada Cup this season. Bouchard was also fifth at the World Cup this year.
Elena Pirozkhova of the United States is seeking to bring home her first World medal. She was seventh at the 2009 World Championships at 63 kg and eighth in the 2010 World Championships at 67 kg, Pirozkhova, who was born in Russia and raised in Massachusetts, won the Pan American Championships this year and was third in the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals.
Monika Michalik of Poland was fifth in the 2009 World Championships. She won World bronze medals at this weight class in 2006 and 2007, and was eighth in the 2008 Olympic Games. Michalik also won the gold medal at the FILA Golden Grapd Prix finals this year.
Winning European Championships bronze medals this year were Elina Vaseva of Bulgaria and Yulia Ostapchuk of Ukraine. Vaseva was eighth and Ostapchuk placed 10th at the 2009 World Championships. Ostapchuk was also a 2007 Junior World champion.
2009 Junior World champion Hanna Johansson of Sweden is also making a move up on the Senior level. She was second in the Poland Open this summer, and was third at the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals.
Olesja Zamula of Azerbaijan was fifth at the 2008 and 2009 World Championships and placed fifth at the European Championships this year. Hanna Belayeva of Belarus was also fifth in the European Championships. Her top international performance was fifth in the 2008 World Championships.
The 2010 Asian champion was Park Sang-Eun of Korea. Ochirbat Nasanburmaa of Mongolia was third in the 2010 World Cup and second in the 2010 FILA Golden Grand Prix finals.
Others to watch include Martina Zyklova of the Czech Republic, Hali Cui of China, Katherine Videux of Cuba, Olga Butkevich of Great Britain and Irina Netreba of Ukraine.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2009 World Championships
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Mio Nishimaki (Japan); Silver - Lubov Volosova (Russia); Bronze - Elena Shalygina (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Justine Bouchard (Canada); 5th - Olesja Zamula (Azerbaijan); 5th - Monika Michalik (Poland); 7th - Elena Pirozkhova (USA); 8th - Elina Vaseva (Bulgaria); 9th - Martina Zyklova (Czech Republic); 10th - Yuliya Ostapchuk (Ukraine)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Kaori Icho (Japan); Silver - Alena Kartashova (Russia); Bronze - Yelena Shalygina (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Randi Miller (USA); 5th - Lise Golliot-LeGrand (France); 5th - Martine Dugrenier (Canada); 7th - Elina Vaseva (Bulgaria); 8th - Monika Mihalik (Poland); 9th - Xu Haiyan (China); 10th - Odonchumeg Badrakh (Mongolia)
2008 World Championships
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Mio Nishimaki (Japan); Silver - Lubov Volosova (Russia); Bronze - Audrey Prieto Bokhashvilla (France); Bronze - Lili Meng (China); 5th - Olesja Zamula (Azerbaijan); 5th - Hanna Belyaeva (Belarus); 7th - Justine Bouchard (Canada); 8th - Olga Butkevich (Great Britain); 9th - Irina Netreba (Ukraine); 10th - Alaina Berube (USA)
2007 World Championships results
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Kaori Icho (Japan); Silver - Elena Shalygina (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Sara McMann (United States); Bronze - Monkia Michalik - Rogien (Poland); 5th - Lise Golliot - Legrand (France); 5th - Yulia Ostapchuk (Ukraine); 7th - Olesja Zamula (Azerbaijan); 8th - Haiyan Xu (China); 9th - Nikola Hartmann-Duenser (Austria); 10th - Badrakh Odonchimeg (Mongolia)
2006 World Championships results
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Kaori Icho (Japan); Silver - Xu Hai Yan (China); Bronze - Monika Rogien (Poland); Bronze - Helena Allandi (Sweden); 5th - Yoselin Rojas (Venezuela); 5th - Lyubov Volosov (Russia); 7th - Karine Shadoyan (Armenia); 8th - Agoro Papavassiliou (Greece); 9th - Mihaela Sadoveanu (Romania); 10th - Volha Khilko (Belarus)
2005 World Championships results
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Kaori Icho (Japan); Silver - Rui Xue Jing (China); Bronze - Sara McMann (USA); Bronze - Olga Khilko (Ukraine); 5th - Anna Polovneva (Russia); 5th - Katarzyna Juszezak (Italy); 7th - Michaela Krizkova (Czech Republic); 8th - Tara Hedican (Canada); 9th - Monika Szerencse (Hungary); 10th - Helena Allandi (Sweden)