2010 World Championships preview at 51 kg 112 25 lbs in women s freestyle wrestlingDate of competition: Wednesday, September 8
The defending World champion is Sofia Mattsson of Sweden, who moved up to 51 kg last year and had a strong season. Mattsson won Junior World titles in both 2006 and 2007 at 48 kg. This season, she won the European Championships, the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals and the Poland Open, a major tuneup event. She comes into the World Championships with confidence and momentum.
North Korea's Kum Ok Han won the World silver medal last year in her first attempt at the World level. She won a bronze at the Asian Championships this year. North Korean athletes don't enter many competitions, but they are always top challengers in the lighter weights.
Oleksandra Kohut of Ukraine won a World bronze medal last year. She was a bronze medalist at the 2010 European Championships, as well as a bronze medal at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals. A former Junior World champion, Kohut placed fifth at the 2005 and 2006 World Championships.
Last year, Yuri Kai of Japan won a World bronze medal. However, Japan is reportedly entering Yu Horiuchi at the Worlds this year. Horiuchi was a Junior World champion this year at 55 kg, and won the Junior Worlds in 2008 at 51 kg. She was third at the World Cup this season. The great Hitomi Sakamoto, who retired in 2008 with six World titles at this weight, has returned, but is now down at 48 kg.
Estera Dobre of Romania won the European silver medal this year. She previously competed at 48 kg, where she was a European silver medalist in 2009. However, back in 2007, Dobre won a European silver medal up at 51 kg.
Natalia Budu of Moldova was fifth at the 2009 World Championships, and came back to take fifth at the 2010 European Championships. Alexandra Englehardt of Germany was third at the 2009 European Championships, and was seventh in the World Championships last year. Her best Worlds finish was fifth, back in 2007.
Zamira Rakhmanova has been chosen to compete for Russia this year. She was second in the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals, behind Mattsson. She represented Russia in the 2008 Olympic Games at 48 kg but did not reach the medal rounds.
For the second straight year, the United States will be represented by Jessica Medina, who won a silver medal at the 2010 Pan American Championships. Vanessa Brown of Canada won the Pan American gold this year, but Canada's entry will be Jessica MacDonald, who won the 2010 World Cup title. MacDonald placed fifth in the 2007 World Championships.
Mongolia's Tsogtbazar Enkhjargal was third at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals at 51 kg, and won the World Cup down at 48 kg. She has gone back and forth between these two weights throughout her career.
Li Hui of China won the 2010 Asian Championships at 51 kg, and captured the 2010 CISM Military World Championships up at 55 kg. Last year, China entered Di Hong at the World Championships, and she placed fifth. Yanan Sun won the 2010 Junior World Championships at this division.
Tatyana Bakatyuk of Kazakhstan placed ninth in the World last year. She won both the Asian Championships and FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals in 2009. She was fifth at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals this year.
Others to watch include Babita Kumari of India, Emese Szabo of Hungary, Tina Ylinen of Finland and Yulia Blahinya of Ukraine.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2009 World Championships
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Gold - Sofia Mattsson (Sweden); Silver - Kum Ok Han (North Korea); Bronze - Oleksandra Kohut (Ukraine); Bronze - Yuri Kai (Japan); 5th - Natalia Budu (Moldova); 5th - Di Hong (China); 7th - Alexandra Englehardt (Germany); 8th - Babita Kumari (India); 9th - Tatyana Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 10th - Emese Szabo (Hungary)
2008 World Championships
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Gold - Hitomi Sakamoto (Japan); Silver - Maryna Markevich (Belarus); Bronze - Vanessa Boubryemm (France); Bronze - Yuliya Blahinya (Ukraine); 5th - Jessica Bondy (Canada); 5th - Marina Vilmova (Russia); 7th - Natalia Budu (Moldova); 8th - Helen Maroulis (USA); 9th - Aguis Rivas (Venezuela); 10th - Dilek Atakol (Turkey)
2007 World Championships
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Gold - Hitomi Sakamoto (Japan); Silver - Xuecheng Ren (China); Bronze - Erica Sharp (Canada); Bronze - Anne Catherine Deluntsch (France); 5th - Alexandra Engelhardt (Germany); 5th - Tatyana Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 7th - Zamira Rakhmanova (Russia); 8th - Aleksandra Kohut (Ukraine); 9th - Babita Kumari (India); 10th - Georgiana-Mihaela Radoi (Romania)
2006 World Championships
51 kg./112.25 lbs. - Gold - Hitomi Sakamoto (Japan); Silver - Lindsay Belisle (Canada); Bronze - Patricia Miranda (United States); Bronze - Alena Adashinskaya (Russia); 5th - Okeksandra Kohut (Ukraine); 5th - Brigitte Wagner (Germany); 7th - Park Yeon Jim (Korea); 8th - Dina Mirzaeva (Uzbekistan); 9th - Liao Dong Hua (China); 10th - Maria del Mar Serrano (Spain)
2005 World Championships
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Gold - Hitomi Sakamoto (Japan); Silver - Vanessa Boubryemm (France); Bronze - Tsogtbaz Enkhjargal (Mongolia); Bronze - Juling Wen (China); 5th - Aleksandra Kohut (Ukraine); 5th - Erica Sharp (Canada); 7th - Stephanie Murata (USA); 8th - Dinara Mirzaeva (Uzbekistan); 9th - Natalya Smirnova (Russia); 10th - Nurzat Shaylobaeva (Kyrgyzstan)