75 kg Women s World Championships Preview

By Gary Abbott | Oct. 04, 2001, 12 a.m. (ET)
Note: TheMat.com has resumed its series of previews for the 2001 World Championships. Although it has not yet been determined when and where the event will be hosted, the tournament is expected to be held this year. Those athletes listed as entries for the event originally scheduled for New York City will be used in these previews. 75 kg Women's World Championships Preview With reigning World Champion Christine Nordhagen-Vierling of Canada dropping down to 68 kg, three-time World champion Kyoko Hamaguchi of Japan is expected to return to dominance. Hamaguchi lost to Nordhagen-Vierling in last year's World meet, after beating her at the 1999 World Championships. Hamaguchi has been recognized in the past by FILA as the Women's Wrestler of the Year, and she is a major sports star in her nation. Winning the World silver medal last season was Edyta Witkowska of Poland, who also claimed the gold medal at the 2001 European Championships. She was also a World bronze medalist in 1998, giving her considerable confidence going into this year's event. Two-time World bronze medalist Nina Englich of Germany is always a threat. She won the bronze medal at the 2001 European Championships and was fifth at the 2000 World Championships. Russia will be represented by Zumrud Kurbangadjieva, who placed sixth at the 2000 World Championships. Iris Smith of the United States placed seventh last year in her first World meet. She has won the Pan American Championships gold medal for the last two years, and is showing improvement against international competition. Canada will be represented by Ohenewa Akuffo, who was the Outstanding Wrestler at last year's Sunkist Kids International Open in Phoenix, Ariz. and showed great potential. Katerina Halova of the Czech Republic was fourth at the 2000 World Championships, but was not listed on her team's roster. Elvira Barriga of Austria, who placed fourth and sixth at the last two World meets, was also not on the entry list. If either of these athletes decide to enter, they will be among the challengers. Korea's best medal hopeful may be Kang Min-Jung, who captured the gold medal at the 2001 Asian Championships. China's Ma Bailing won the silver medal at this year's Asian Championships. Tatyana Komarnitskaya of Ukraine placed fifth in the 2001 European Championships and should also be competitive. Japan's Kyoko Hamaguchi should be the favorite coming in. When Nordhagen-Vierling defeated her last year, it was the first dent in the armor for this international star. That said, athletes such at Witkowska of Poland, Englich of Germany and Smith of the United States will have to move up to a new level if they are going to beat Hamaguchi and take home the gold. It should be very interesting. WOMEN'S 75 kg/165.25 lbs. (14 athletes as of 9/14) Bulgaria - Elisaveta Toleva Canada - Ohenewa Akuffo China - Ma Bailing Czech Republic - Katerina Halova Germany- Nina Englich Japan - Kyoko Hamaguchi Korea - Kang Min-Jung Poland - Edyta Witkowska Russia - Zumrud Kurbangadjieva Tunisia - Shida Riabi Turkey - Memmune Konak or Zeliha Ayan Turkmenistan - Nasiba Salaeva Ukraine - Tatyana Komarnitskaya United States - Iris Smith