Photo of Aaron Pico from the awards stand in Bulgaria from Valentin Kalika.
PLOVDIV, Bulgaria – 2013 Cadet World champion Aaron Pico (Whittier, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) won a gold medal in men’s freestyle at the Petko Sirakov – Ivan Iliev Junior International over the weekend.
Pico won three matches on the way to the title at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., two by technical fall. In the championship finals, he defeated Russia’s Junior National silver medalist Emi Umarpashaev by an impressive 17-6 technical fall.
In the quarterfinals, Pico beat Mihail Georgiev of Bulgaria by technical fall.
His semifinal win was over Abdumuslim Mukhidinov of Azerbaijan, 6-0. Mukhidinov was a 2013 Cadet World Champion and a European Cadet champion as well. In 2013, Pico was the Cadet World champion at 63 kg, while Mukhidinov won the Cadet World title at 69 kg.
Pico has been competing and training overseas on a regular basis this winter. In February, Pico won all of his matches against Junior athletes as part of the Cerro Pelado International tour to Cuba.
PETKO SIRAKOV – IVAN ILLIEV JUNIOR INTERNATIONAL
At Plovdiv, Bulgaria, March 22
Men’s freestyle Junior medalists
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold – Aaron Pico (USA)
Silver – Emi Umarpashev (Russia)
Bronze – Presiyan Mihov (Bulgaria)
Bronze – Abdumuslim Mukhidinov (Azerbaijan)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Aaron Pico, Whittier, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), 1st
WIN Mihail Georgiev (Bulgaria), tech. fall 15-5
Won Abdumuslim Mukhidinov (Azerbiajan), 6-0
Won Emi Umarpashaev (Russia), 17-6