2010 World Championships preview at 48 kg 105 5 lbs in women s freestyle wrestling

By Gary Abbott | Sept. 01, 2010, 8:06 a.m. (ET)
Date of competition: Wednesday, September 8

The reigning World champion is Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan, who also claimed a 2008 Olympic bronze medal at this weight class. A two-time European champion, Stadnyk has experience and skill. However, this weight class is so loaded that it will be very difficult for Stadnyk to defend her title.

2008 Olympic champion Carol Huyhn of Canada is back, after missing the 2009 season. She has wrestled often in events in North America, but has not had many tests against the best in Europe. Her experience level is tremendous, including a World silver medal in 2001 and a World bronze medal in 2005.

The most decorated athlete in this field will be six-time World champion Hitomi Sakamoto of Japan, who retired after her 2008 World title at 51 kg but has returned this year and dropped down to 48 kg. Sakamoto has been at a non-Olympic weight, so she is motivated to make an Olympic run in 2012 at this division. If Sakamoto can handle the weight drop, she will be a tremendous force at the World Championships.

2009 World silver medalist Lorisa Oorzhak of Russia has been chosen to represent the host team again this year. Oorzhak won the 2010 European Championships title and won the Yarygin Memorial in Russia. She also captured the Polish Open, a major pre-World tuneup event held last month. Oorzhak was fifth at the 2004 Olympic Games.

2008 World silver medalist Jyldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan has had a successful year. She captured the gold medal at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals and placed second at the Asian Championships competing up at 51 kg. She was also third at the Yarygin Memorial in Russia.

2008 World champion Clarissa Chun of the United States did not make the U.S. team, losing in the 2010 World Team Trials finals to young star Alyssa Lampe, who is coming into her own at this time. Lampe was third at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals. She was a two-time Junior World bronze medalist, and a 2009 Pan American champion. Lampe is strong and aggressive, and should be competitive with everybody at this division.

The 2009 World bronze medalists were Sim-Hyang So of North Korea and Lyudmila Balushka of Ukraine, both who had breakthrough performances in Herning. North Korea does not enter many events. So was third at the Asian Championships this year. Balushka was eighth at the European Championships this year, her only major event on the schedule.

Yana Stadnik of Great Britain placed fifth in the World Championships last year, and second in the 2010 European Championships. She competed for Ukraine on the Cadet and Junior levels, but has been with Great Britain since 2008. Stadnik is hoping to win a medal for her new country at the 2012 London Olympics.

Sasha Zhao of China has had a strong year, winning the 2010 Asian Championships and capturing a silver medal at the World Cup. Another option is Li Xiaomei, a 2007 World bronze medalist and 2008 Olympian. Li was a a 2009 Asian champion. Yan Tang competed at the 2009 World Championships for China, but did not medal.

Thi Lua Nguyen of Vietnam was the other fifth-place finisher at the 2009 World Championships. She was third at the Asian Senior Championships and the Asian Junior Championships this year. Vietnam has shown improvement on the Senior women's scene and Nguyen is perhaps their top star.

Estera Dobre of Romania has been jumping up and down between 48 kg and 51 kg. This year, she was the European silver medalist at 51 kg, but last year was European silver medalist at 48 kg. She was 10th at the 2008 Olympics at this weight class.

Melanie Lesaffre of France and Iwona Matkowska of Poland were European bronze medalists this year. Poland could be represented by Anna Lukasiak, who was fifth at the FILA Golden Grand Prix this year and won a bronze medal at the tune-up event, the Poland Open.

2007 World bronze medalist Mayelis Caripa of Venezuela continues to compete. Others to watch include Tsogbazar Enkhjargal of Mongolia, Sarianne Savola of Finland, Sara Sanchez of Spain and Ingrid Medrano of El Salvador.


2009 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Mariya Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Silver - Lorisa Oorzhak (Russia); Bronze - Sim Hyang So (North Korea); Bronze - Lyudmila Balushka (Ukraine); 5th - Thi Lua Nguyen (Vietnam); 5th - Yana Stadnik (Great Britain); 7th - Lindsay Rushton (Canada); 8th - Makiko Sakamoto (Japan); 9th - Clarissa Chun (USA); 10th - Sara Sanchez (Spain)

2008 Olympic Games
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Carol Huyhn (Canada); Silver - Chiharu Icho (Japan); Bronze - Mariya Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze - Irini Merlini (Ukraine); 5th - Tatyana Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 5th - Clarissa Chun (USA); 7th - Vanessa Boubryemm (France); 8th - Kim Hyung-Joo (Korea); 9th - Ingrid Medrano (El Salvador); 10th - Estera Dobre (Romania)

2008 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Clarissa Chun (USA); Silver - Jyldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Makiko Sakamoto (Japan); Bronze - Guibei Su (China); 5th - Demet Kaya (Turkey); 5th - Tsogbazar Enkhjargal (Mongolia); 7th - Fani Psatha (Greece); 8th - Aleksandra Kohut (Ukraine); 9th - Lindsay Rushton (Canada); 10th - Tsai Pei-Jing (Chinese Taipei)

2007 World Championships results
48 kg/105.5 lbs.- Gold - Chiharu Icho (Japan); Silver - Irini Merleni (Ukraine); Bronze - Xiaomei Li (China); Bronze - Mayelis Caripa (Venezuela); 5th - Carol Huynh (Canada); 5th - Stephanie Murata (United States); 7th - Maria Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); 8th - Sofia Mattsson (Sweden); 9th - Venessa Boubryemm (France); 10th - Brigitte Wagner (Germany)

2006 World Championships results
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Chiharu Icho (Japan); Silver - Ren Zue Cen (China); Bronze - Iwona Sadowska (Poland); Bronze - Francine DePaola (Italy); 5th - Marina Markevich (Belarus); 5th - Carol Huyhn (Canada); 7th - Nataliya Pulkovska (Ukraine); 8th - Hajar Ashtiani (Finland); 9th - Mary Kelly (USA); 10th - Sunisa Klahan (Thailand)

2005 World Championships results
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Xueceng Ren (China); Silver - Irini Merleni (Ukraine); Bronze - Carol Huynh (Canada); Bronze - Makiko Sakamoto (Japan); 5th - Mayelis Caripa (Venezuela); 5th - Liliya Kaskarakova (Russia); 7th - Jenny Wong (USA); 8th - Francine DePaola (France); 9th - Sigrun Dobner (Germany); 10th - Zhyldyz Eshimova (Kyrgyzstan)