2017 World Championships preview at 75 kg/165 lbs. in women’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 16, 2017, 12:22 p.m. (ET)
Victoria Francis, shown battling at the 2017 World Team Trials, is a past Junior World medalist and will compete in her first Senior Worlds at 75 kg. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors

Date of Competition: Wednesday, August 23

2016 Olympic champion Erica Wiebe of Canada had her best season ever last year, and has continued to compete internationally. However, she did not make the 2017 Canadian World Team, which will be represented by talented Justina Distasio. Going into the Worlds, Wiebe and Distasio are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world in the UWW rankings.

Distasio was a 2016 University World champion, and competed in the 2015 World Championships for Canada. She has been active this season, winning six international medals including titles at the Klippan Lady Open in Sweden, the Pan American Championships, the German Grand Prix and the Canada Cup. Distasio was a three-time WCWA college nationals champion for Simon Fraser University.

It is possible that none of the 2016 Olympic medalists from Rio will be in the field in Paris. Standing on the podium with Wiebe were Olympic silver medalist Guzel Manyurova of Kazakhstan, with Olympic bronze medals going to Fengliu Zhang of China and Ekaterina Bukina of Russia.

Manyurova has won three Olympic medals, a 2016 silver and a 2012 bronze for Kazakhstan and a silver medal way back in 2004 for Russia. She also boasts two World medals. She has not stepped on the mat since Rio. Competing for Kazakhstan all year has been Gulmarel Yerkebayeva, who was a 2017 Asian bronze medalist, and also won medals in international events in Turkey, Bulgaria and Poland.

Zhang also boasts a 2013 World title. Her last event was the 2016 UWW Golden Grand Prix Finals, where she won a silver medal. China has been well represented this year by 2017 Asian champion Paliha, who also won the Poland Open and the Cerro Pelado in Cuba.

Bukina has not wrestled since Rio. 2017 Russian National champion Alena Perepelkina is the expected entry for Russia in Paris. Perepelkina was a World bronze medalist back in 2005, and did not medal in the 2009 Worlds. Her best performance this year was a bronze at the 2017 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in her native Russia.

Perhaps the top placewinner from Rio in the field this year is Vasalisa Marzaliuk of Belarus, who placed fifth at the 2016 Olympics. Marzaliuk boasts three World bronze medals in her career, and was also fifth at the 2012 Olympics. She was a 2006 Junior World champion. This season, Marzaliuk was second in the Poland Open and third in the Ukrainian Memorial International, and also competed in the India Pro League.

2014 World silver medalist Aline da Silva Ferreira of Brazil is one of the top stars in the field. She was also a 2009 World bronze medalist and a 2006 Junior World silver medalist, and has won two World Military gold medals. This year, da Silva was second at the Pan American Championships. Da Silva has won eight Pan American Championships or Pan American Games medals, but has yet to win one.

Since 2013, the United States has been represented at the highest weight by Adeline Gray, who is a three-time World champion and five-time World medalist. This year, Gray did not compete, in order to recover from some injuries. Representing the USA is 2014 Junior World bronze medalist Victoria Francis. She has been a two-time WCWA college national champion for Lindenwood and a two-time University Nationals champion. Francis was second behind Gray at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. She comes off a silver medal performance at the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix.

2016 and 2017 European champion Yasemin Adar of Turkey has been fifth in the World Championships two times and holds a No. 3 World ranking heading into Paris. Adar has won five straight gold medals this year, adding the Yasar Dogu in Turkey, the Dan Kolov in Bulgaria, the Islamic Solidarity Games and the Ion Corneanu in Romania to her European title. She was eighth at the 2016 Olympics.

2015 World bronze medalist Epp Mae of Estonia is another veteran who is competing well. She has won five medals since falling short of the medal rounds at the 2016 Olympics. Included were victories at the Spanish Grand Prix and the Nordic Championships, as well as a bronze at the 2017 European Championships.

Zsanett Nemeth of Hungary won a silver medal at the 2017 Asian Championships. She was also the 2017 European U23 champion this year. Nemeth was 10th at the Olympic Games. She won a silver medal at the Ukrainian Memorial and a bronze medal at the Grand Prix of Paris this season.

Svetlana Saenko of Moldova was third in the 2017 European Championships and is another crafty veteran who continues to contend. Saenko started her career competing for Ukraine, where she was a 2005 World bronze medalist and 2004 Olympian. Competing for Moldova since 2012, when she made her second Olympic appearance, Saenko’s best finish was a fifth at the 2013 World Championships.

Ukraine may turn to a different veteran star, as 2002 World champion Katrina Burmistrova has been competing at 75 kg this year for them. She was also a 2008 World bronze medalist and won the European Championships in 2011. Burmistrova brings as much experience to this field as anybody expected to compete.

Japan is expected to bring veteran Hiroe Suzuki, who has not been active since winning the 2015 Asian Championships. Suzuki has been to three Senior World Championships without medaling. Placing second at the 2017 Asian Championships was Masako Furuichi, a three-time Junior World champion and a three-time Cadet World champion. Furuichi moved up to 75 kg this year, and won the Dave Schultz Memorial International. Japan does not have a wrestler in the Top 20 of the most current UWW World rankings.

Andrea Olaya Gutierrez of Colombia placed fifth at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. She has won six Pan American Senior medals during her career, but no gold medals. She has proven the ability to reach the medal rounds at major events.

Germany is expected to bring veteran Maria Selmaier, who was a 2016 Olympian and who has four previous World appearances without a medal. Mongolia could enter 2017 Yarygin Grand Prix champion Urtnasan Gan Ochir. The reigning African champion is Winnie Gofit of Nigeria.

Others to watch include Sofia Georgieva of Bulgaria, Iselin Solheim of Norway, Pooja of India and Samar Hamza of Egypt.

UWW AUGUST WORLD RANKINGS AT 75 KG

1. Erica WIEBE (CAN)
2. Justina DISTACIO (CAN)
3. Yasemin ADAR (TUR)
4. Epp MAE (EST)
5. Zsanett NEMETH (HUN)
6. Paliha PALIHA (CHN)
7. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR)
8. Aline FERREIRA (BRA)
9. Gulmaral YERKEBAYEVA (KAZ)
10. Svetlana SAENKO (MDA)
11. ZHANG Fengliu (CHN)
12. Anna SCHELL (GER)
13. Andrea OLAYA GUITIERREZ (COL)
14. Elena PEREPELKINA (RUS)
15. ZHOU Qian (CHN)
16. Maria SELMAIER (GER)
17. Guzel MANYUROVA (KAZ)
18. Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ)
19. Alena STARODUBTSEVA (RUS)
20. Evgenia ANDREICHENKO (BLR)

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2016 Olympic Games
75 kg/165 lbs. - Gold – Erica Wiebe (Canada); Silver – Guzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Fengliu Zhang (China); Bronze – Ekaterina Bukina (Russia); 5th – Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus); 5th – Annabel Laure Ali (Cameroon); 7th – Adeline Gray (United States); 8th – Yasmine Adar (Turkey); 9th- Aline Da Silva Ferrera (Brazil); 10th – Zsanett Nemeth (Hungary)

2015 World Championships
75 kg/165 lbs. - Gold – Adeline Gray (United States); Silver – Qian Zhou (China); Bronze – Epp Mae (Estonia); Bronze – Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus); 5th – Andrea Olaya Gutierrez (Colombia); 5th – Aline Da Silva Ferreira (Brazil); 7th – Ekaterina Bukina (Russia); 8th – Daria Osocka (Poland); 9th – Guzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan); 10th – Yasemin Adar (Turkey)

2014 World Championships
75 kg/165 lbs. - Gold – Adeline Gray (USA); Silva – 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)