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World Championships preview in women’s freestyle wrestling at 75 kg/165.5 lbs.

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Sept. 06, 2015, 9:42 a.m. (ET)

VIDEO: Adeline Gray (USA) dec. Aline da Silva (BRA), 2014 World Championships finals

Date of competition: Thursday, September 10

Adeline Gray of the USA won her second career World title last year, and her fourth career World medal. She has continued to be the dominant wrestler in this weight all year, winning all her matches at World Cup and capturing a Pan American Games gold medal. She showed great focus battling through a tough field at last year’s Worlds, and with the home crowd behind her in Las Vegas, she should be a force again.

Most of the wrestlers from the Worlds last year have signed up again for Las Vegas, meaning there will be depth and talent once again.

China lists two possible entries, 2013 World champion Fengliu Zhang and 2014 World bronze medalist Zhou Qian. Last year, Qian had a huge lead on Gray in their World Championships battle, only to lose in the last few seconds. Qian was an Asian bronze medalist this year. Zhang earned medals in France and Sweden this winter. Both are capable of making the finals.

Russia’s Ekaterina Bukina boasts a silver in the 2011 World Championships and a bronze in the 2010 World Championships. Since not placing at last year’s Worlds, she won a silver medal at the European Games and two other medals. She was a 2013 World University Games champion.

Last year’s World silver medalist was Aline DaSilva Ferreira of Brazil, a talented athlete who can make big throws at any time. She won the 2014 World Military Championships, and added bronzes at the Pan American Championships and Pan American Games this year. She is looking to qualify for the Olympics at this event, so she can wrestle on her home mats in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympics.

Vasalisa Marzaliuk of Belarus has been consistent in recent years, with 2011 and 2013 World bronze medals and fifth place at the 2012 Olympic Games. This year, she won the gold at the European Games, and added a title at Medved International in Belarus.

Canada has a new entry, Justina DiStasio, who was edged in the finals of the Pan American Games by Gray and beat out talented Erica Wiebe to make the World Team. She also won gold at this year’s Dave Schultz Memorial and boasts five international medals this season. She was a star in the college ranks in North America.

Japan’s Hiroe Suzuki has been a top challenger. She won the Asian Championships this year. Last year, she entered the Worlds with a No. 1 UWW ranking. An injury will keep her out of Las Vegas. Japan will enter 2010 Junior World bronze medalist Chiaki Iijima, who has a 2010 Asian title on her Senior level record.

Five-time World champion and two-time Olympic medalist Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria has slipped a bit in recent years. She is listed on Bulgaria’s roster, but media reports from her country indicate that an injury may keep her out of Las Vegas. If she is there, she still has the ability to challenge for a medal.

Epp Mae of Estonia placed fifth in the 2014 World Championships. She has won four silver medals on the international circuit this year, including a runner-up finish at the European Championships.

Mongolia will be represented by either Ochirbat Burmaa of Mongolia, a 2009 World silver medalist and a 2013 World bronze medalist, or veteran Naranchimeg Gelegjamts, who has competed in four previous World meets, with a best finish of fifth in 2005. Either would be expected to challenge in this field.

Veteran Gouzel Manyurova of Kazakhstan has a loaded resume, with a 2004 Olympic silver medal and 2012 Olympic bronze medal. Add in a 2012 World silver and a 2007 World bronze, and she is one of the most decorated stars in the weight class. She did not compete at the 2014 Worlds, but has won two international medals in 2015.

Another long-time challenger is Svetlana Saenko of Moldova, who won a World bronze medal way back in 2005 and wrestled in two Olympic Games. Saenko has been very active this year, with a European Games bronze one of four medals won this season.

Cuba has a medal contender in Lisset Hechevarria, who was a 2011 Pan American Games champion and a two-time Pan American Championships gold medalist. She was third in this year’s Pan Am Games in Canada. This will only be her second World Championships appearance, a chance to display her talents on a larger stage.

Europe has some depth in this weight class, including 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Maider Unda of Spain, who was third in this year’s European Games. Another tough draw is Yasemin Adar of Turkey, fifth in the 2013 World Championships, and winner of the recent Poland Open. Daria Osaka of Poland claimed the European U23 Championships this year, and a bronze at the Poland Open.

Others to watch include Andrea Olaya Gutierrez of Colombia, who was fifth at the 2014 World Championships, plus Nikki of India, Zsanett Nemeth of Hungary, Alla Cherkasova of Ukraine and Jarismit Weffer of Venezuela.

1. Adeline Gray (USA)
2. Erica Wiebe (Canada)
3. Ekaterina Bukina (Russia)
4. Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus)
5. Justina DiStasio (Canada)
6. Hiroe Suzuki (Japan)
7. Zhou Qian (China)
8. Aline DaSilva Ferreira (Brazil)
9. Epp Mae (Estonia)
10. Zhang Fengliu (China)
11. Svetlana Saenko (Moldova)
12. Lisset Hechevarria (Cuba)
13. Maider Unda (Spain)
14. Yasemin Adar (Turkey)
15. Daria Osocka (Poland)
16. Guzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan)
17. Anzhela Kataeva (Russia)
18. Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria)
19. Andrea Olaya Gutierrez (Colombia)
20. Badrakh Odonchimeg (Mongolia)


2014 World Championships
75 kg/165 lbs. - Gold – Adeline Gray (USA); Silver – Aline Da Silva (Brazil); Bronze – Burmaa Ochirbat (Mongolia); Bronze – Zhou Qian (China); 5th – Andrea Olaya (Colombia); 5th – Epp Mae (Estonia); 7th – Hiroe Suzuki (Japan); 8th – Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria); 9th – Yasemin Adar (Turkey); 10th – Erica Wiebe (Canada)

2013 World Championships
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Gold – Fengliu Zhang (China); Silver – Natalia Vorobeva (Russia); Bronze – Adeline Gray (USA); Bronze – Burmaa Ochirbat (Mongolia); 5th – Yasemin Adar (Turkey); 5th – Svetlana Saenko (Moldova); 7th – Erica Wiebe (Canada); 8th – Cynthia Vescan (France); 9th – Hiroe Suzuki (Japan); 10th – Epp Mae (Estonia)

2012 Olympic Games
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Gold – Natalia Vorobieva (Russia); Silver – Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria); Bronze – Gouzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Madier Unda Gonzales (Spain); 5th – Jiao Wang (China); 5th – Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus); 7th – Laure Ali Annabel (Cameroon); 8th – Burmaa Ochirbat (Mongolia); 9th – Jenny Fransson (Sweden); 10th – Svetlana Saenco (Moldova)

2012 World Championships
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Gold – Jenny Fransson (Sweden); Silver – Guzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus); Bronze – Qing Xu (China); 5th - Nataliya Palamarchuk (Azerbaijan); 5th - Yasemin Adar (Turkey); 7th - Ekatina Bukina (Russia); 8th - Maria Selmaier (Germany); 9th - Oksana Vashchuk (Ukraine); 10th - Aline Da Silva (Brazil)

2011 World Championships
72 kg/158.5 pounds - Gold - Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria); Silver - Ekaterina Bukina (Russia); Bronze - Ali Bernard (United States); Bronze - Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus) 5th - Laure Ali Annabel (Cameroon); 5th - Gouzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan), 7th - Maja Erslanden (Norway); 8th - Epp Mae (Estonia); 9th- Cynthia Vescan (France); 10th - Aline da Silva Ferreira (Brazil)

2010 World Championships
72 kg/158 lbs. - Gold – Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria); Silver – Ohenewa Akuffo (Canada); Bronze –Ekatarina Bukina (Russia); Bronze –Kyoko Hamaguchi (Japan); 5th – Jenny Fransson (Sweden); 5th – Maider Unda (Spain); 7th – Dan Li (China); 8th – Stephany Lee (United States); 9th – Burmaa Ochirbat (Mongolia); 10th – Maria Muller (Germany)

2009 World Championships
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Gold - Xiaoqing Qin (China); Silver - Burmaa Ochirbat (Mongolia); Bronze - Maider Under (Spain); Bronze - Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria); 5th - Marina Gastl (Austria); 5th - Svitlana Sayenko (Ukraine); 7th - Dina Ivanova (Azerbaijan); 8th - Simge Yilmaz (Turkey); 9th - Anabel Laure Ali (Cameroon); 10th - Ohenewa Akuffo (Canada)