Video: U.S. coach Terry Steiner on day one women’s outlook
PARIS – Women’s freestyle kicks off at the World Championships on Wednesday morning at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, and four U.S. competitors have made weight and received their draws for the competition.
Olympic and World champion Helen Maroulis (New York, N.Y./Sunkist Kids) seeks to jumpstart the U.S. effort alongside first-time World Team members Becka Leathers (Choctaw, Okla./Titan Mercury WC), Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) and Victoria Francis (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC) on the third day of wrestling in Paris.
“The women are excited to be here. They have had good camps this summer. They spent a lot of time together as a group. They are ready to be here and we plan to come here and make our mark,” U.S. National Women’s Freestyle Coach Terry Steiner said.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the UWW World Rankings, Maroulis begins her quest for a third-straight gold against Hanbit Kim of Korea at 58 kg/127.5 lbs. In addition to her gold medal at the Rio Olympics, Maroulis won World gold in 2015, World silver in 2012 and World bronze in 2014.
Leathers has navigated up to No. 9 in the 55 kg/121 lbs. World Rankings with a top-notch 2017 season. She takes her first shot at the World Championships with an opening-round bout against two-time Junior World medalist and World No. 6 Ramona Galambos of Hungary. Leathers defeated Galambos 11-0 on her way to gold at the Grand Prix of Spain last month.
Competing at 63 kg/138.75 lbs., Velte seeks to maintain the momentum she gained by winning bronze in Spain against two-time Olympian and six-time African champion Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria.
Francis is slated to face World No. 9 Gulmaral Yerkebayeva of Kazakhstan, who was a World bronze medalist two years ago and is a three-time Asian bronze medalist, in her first match at 75 kg/165 lbs. Francis won a Junior World bronze medal in 2014 and finished with silver in Spain last month.
The first day of women’s freestyle competition will begin at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) on Tuesday. Medal matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET).
Complete brackets for the World Championships, as well as a live stream of the event, are available to U.S. residents at Trackwrestling.com.
U.S. women’s freestyle draws for Wednesday
55 kg/121 lbs. - Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. Ramona Galambos (Hungary), Two-time Junior World medalist, U23 European bronze medalist
58 kg/127.5 lbs. - Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Hanbit Kim (Korea)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. Blessing Oborududu (Nigeria), Six-time African champion, Two-time Olympian
75 kg/165 lbs. - Victoria Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. Gulmaral Yerkebayeva (Kazakhstan), 2015 World bronze medalist, Three-time Asian bronze medalist, World No. 9