World Championships preview in women's freestyle wrestling at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Aug. 25, 2013, 11:43 a.m. (ET)
Date of competition: Wednesday, September 18

Hitomi Sakamoto Obara of Japan has ruled this weight class for the last three years, winning the 2012 Olympics and the 2010 and 2011 World Championships. Prior to that, Obara won six World titles up at the non-Olympic weight of 51 kg. Add that up, and she has nine World or Olympic golds in her trophy case, making her one of the greats of all time.

What does this weight class look like without Obara? Olympic silver medalist Maria Stadnyk of Azerbaijan has not competed since London. Olympic bronze medalist and past Olympic champion Carol Huyhn of Canada has retired and the other bronze medalist, Clarissa Chun of the USA, is at least taking off a year. This year's Worlds may look a bit more like the 2012 World Championships, held only weeks after the London Olympics up in Canada.

Young Vanessa Kaladzynskaya of Belarus claimed the 2012 World gold in Canada, with Eri Tosaka of Japan winning silver, and Xiaomei Li of China and Jaqueline Schellin of Germany taking bronzes. This group should be in the hunt all the way up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Schellin took a bronze at the European Championships this year.

Tosaka won the 2013 World University Games and made the Japanese team here. There is a long tradition of success for Japan at this division, so she will be expected to be in the medals right away.

FILA has started World rankings, and coming in at No. 1 at the time of this preview is the talented American Alyssa Lampe, who will be competing in her third World Championships. She won a World bronze at 51 kg in 2012. Lampe has won a pile of gold medals this year, and comes in with confidence and poise. She has the ability to score takedowns and some powerful turns from the top, which will make her a handful with the new wrestling rules. She got a lot better over the years banging heads with Chun, helping her raise the level of her game. Now she has a chance to make a big name for herself.

Russia has the next two ranked wrestlers, Elena Vostrova and Valeria Chepsarakova. The European Championships is always a good test for success on the World level, and Chepsarakova won the gold medal in Europe this year. Whoever Russia chooses for the Worlds will be considered one of the favorites, and this is always a deep weight class for them.

Winning a European silver medal this year was Yana Stadnik of Great Britain, whose best previous World finish was fifth place back in 2009. One of the European bronze medalists was Patimat Bagomedova of Azerbaijan, a World University silver medalist and the European Junior champion this year up at 51 kg. Both of these athletes could have an impact.

The Asian Championships is always tough in the lighter weights, and the champion this year was North Korea's Pak Yong-Mi, who has no other international achievements but should be considered a World contender. Vietnam had the silver medalist, Thi Hang Vu, who was also as 2012 Junior World silver medalist. Another athlete to watch is Mikhrniso Nurmatova of Kyrgyzstan, who has been Asian bronze medalist the past three years.

Bulgaria could bring their 2013 Junior World champion Elitsa Yankova to the big show this year, an athlete with a ton of talent and energy. Junior World silver medalist Elena Vuc of Romania has also been competing on the Senior level. Often those Junior World medalists succeed very quickly at the Senior level, especially in the lighter weights.

Other previous World medalists who could make an impact are 2011 bronze medalists Jyldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan and Shasha Zhao of China, 2007 bronze medalist Mayelis Caripa Castillo of Venezuela and 2006 World bronze medalist Iwona Matkowska. Only Caripa and Matkowska have wrestled since London, but all four are veterans who could battle for a medal if they are entered in Budapest.

This is the first year after an Olympics, and often is a time for some young athletes to emerge for the four-year cycle ahead. With many of the longtime veterans no longer on the scene, we could see some new people up on the podium in Budapest.

1. Alyssa Lampe (USA); 2. Elena Vostrikova (Russia); 3. Valeria Chepsarakova (Russia); 4 .Eri Tosaka (Japan); 5. Yana Stadnik (Great Britain); 6. Patimat Bagomedova (Azerbaijan); 7. Mayelis Caripa Castillo (Venezuela) 8. Narangerel Erdenesukh (Mongolia); 9. Victoria Anthony (USA); 10. Jacquelin Schellin (Germany); 11. Silvia Felice (Italy); 12. Suemeyya Sezer (Turkey); 13. Maroi Mezien (Tunisia); 14.Thalia Mallqui Peche (Peru)


2012 Olympic Games
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Hitomi Sakamoto Obara (Japan); Silver - Maria Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze - Clarissa Chun (USA); Bronze - Carol Huynh (Canada); 5th - Isabelle Sambou (Senegal); 5th - Irini Merleni (Ukraine); 7th - Iwona Matkowska (Poland); 8th - Vannesa Kaladzinskaya (Belarus); 9th - Otgontsetseg Davaasukh (Mongolia); 10th - Mayelis Caripa Castillo (Venezuela)

2012 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Vanessa Kaladzynskaya (Belarus); Silver - Eri Tosaka (Japan); Bronze - Xiaomei Li (China); Bronze - Jaqueline Schellin (Germany); 5th - Tatyana Amanzhol-Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 5th - Patimat Bagomedova (Azerbaijan); 7th - Estera Dobre (Romania); 8th - Anna Lukasik (Poland); 9th - Clarissa Chun (USA); 10th - Davaasuren Bayarmagnai (Mongolia)

2011 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Hitomi Sakamoto Obara (Japan); Silver - Maria Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze - Shasha Zhao (China); Bronze - Jyldyz Eshimova (Kazakhstan); 5th - Carolina Castillo Hidalgo (Colombia); 5th - Carol Huynh (Canada); 7th - Clarissa Chun (United States) 8th - Tatyana Samkova (Russia); 9th - Mayelis Caripa Castillo (Venezuela); 10th - Isabelle Sambou (Senegal)

2010 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Hitomi Sakamoto (Japan); Silver - Lorissa Oorzhak (Russia); Bronze - Sasha Zhao (China); Bronze - Carol Huyhn (Canada); 5th - Patimat Bagomedova (Azerbaijan); 5th - Iwona Matkowska (Poland); 7th - Yana Stadnik (Great Britain); 8th - Khrystyna Daranutsa (Ukraine); 9th - Enkhjargal Tsogtbazar (Mongolia); 10th - Hyung-Joo Kim (Korea)

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)

2004 Olympic Games results
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Irini Merlini (Ukraine); Silver - Chiharu Ito (Japan); Bronze - Patricia Miranda (USA); 4th - Angelique Berthenet-Hidalgo (France); 5th - Lorissa Oorzak (Russia); 6th - Brigette Wagner (Germany); 7th - Lidia Kamartshakova (Tajikistan); 8th - Enkhjargal Tsogtbazaar (Mongolia); 9th - Li Hui (China); 10th - Fani Psatha (Greece)