2018 World Championships preview at 62 kg/136.5 lbs. in women’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 03, 2018, 1:58 p.m. (ET)
Mallory Velte of the USA, shown at the 2018 Women's World Cup, will compete in her second straight Senior World Championships.

Dates of competition: Wednesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 25

When UWW created the 10 new women’s weight classes, 62 kg was identified as an Olympic weight class. A look at the projected field for the 2018 World Championships shows that a number of top athletes are moving to this weight, either from higher or lower divisions. It creates a highly-competitive group of athletes battling for medals in Budapest.

One of the top favorites is 2014 World champion Yulia Tkach of Ukraine, who has been a top star for many years. Tkach also won a 2017 World silver medal and a 2015 World bronze medal. She has been tough in 2018, winning golds at the Poland Open and the China Open, and a silver at the respected Klippan Lady Open in Sweden. What is missing in her resume is an Olympic medal, with no hardware in her three Olympic appearances (2008, 2012, 2016).

Last year’s World champion at 63 kg, Orkhon Purevdorj of Mongolia, won the Asian Championships and Asian Games this year at 62 kg. However, it was reported that Purevdorj tested positive for doping at the Asian Games, making her doubtful for the Worlds in Budapest. Mongolia has a great option here however, as 2015 World champion Battsetseg Soronzonbold should be their entry. Soronzonbold was also a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2013 World silver medalist, meaning Mongolia will battle for a medal with her in the lineup.

The other past World champion is host Hungary’s star Marianna Sastin, who won her World gold medal at 59 kg in 2013 when the World Championships were last held in Budapest. Sastin has three other World medals in her trophy case, with 2005 and 2011 World silvers and a 2009 World bronze. She did not compete during the 2017 season, but has returned this season. Among her achievements in 2018 is a gold medal at the Alexander Medved International in Belarus and a bronze medal at the Ion Corneanu Memorial in Romania.

Two-time Olympic bronze medalist Jackeline Renteria Castillo of Colombia is always a medal threat. She won her Olympic bronzes in 2008 and 2012 at 55 kg. Renteria has also fared well at the World Championships, with a 2017 World bronze medal and fifth-place finishes at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds. So far this year, Renteria won a Pan American bronze medal as well as three other medals in competitions in Central and South America. A fantastic athlete with a fighter’s spirit, Renteria usually displays her abilities best at the most important events.

2015 World silver medalist Petra Olli of Finland is another top hopeful. Olli has put together a spectacular season, with gold medals at the European Championships, the Klippan Lady Open in Sweden and the Ukrainian Memorial International, all up at 65 kg. Olli was also fifth at the 2014 World Championships at 60 kg. She showed great promise on the age-group circuit, as a three-time Junior World bronze medalist (2012-2014), a 2011 Cadet World bronze medalist and a 2010 Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist.

Sakshi Malik became a hero in her native India when she won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at 58 kg, the first Olympic medalist in women’s wrestling in the nation’s history. Since Rio, she has continued to be competitive at high-level events. Malik was a 2017 Commonwealth champion, a silver medalist at the 2018 Medved International in Belarus and a bronze medalist at both the 2018 Asian Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Another medal contender is two-time World bronze medalist Malin Johanna Mattsson of Sweden, who won a 2010 World bronze at 59 kg and a 2017 World bronze at 60 kg. She also reached medal matches at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, where she finished fifth. Her top performance in 2018 was a silver medal at the Poland Open.

2018 Russian national champion and European silver medalist Inna Trazhukova of Russia could be a tough draw. She has three international medals at 62 kg this year, including a silver medal at the European Championships and bronze medals at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia and the Grand Prix of Spain. However, it is reported that Russia may enter Uliana Tukurenova instead, who was second at the Russian Nationals and won a bronze medal at the Yarygin Grand Prix this season.

The United States will be represented by Mallory Velte, who will be competing in her second straight Senior World Championships. Velte, who won three WCWA titles for Simon Fraser, won silver medals this season at the Grand Prix of Spain and the Dave Schultz Memorial. To make the USA team, she had to beat multiple age-group World medalist Kayla Miracle, who currently sits at No. 2 in the UWW Ranking Series standings after a strong international season. Velte has shown improvement in all phases of her game, and comes into Budapest with confidence.

Two top challengers who have reached previous World medal matches are Luisa Niemesch of Germany, who was fifth in the 2017 World Championships, and Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazakhstan, who was fifth in the 2016 World Championshjips.

Niemesch has won medals in all four of her international events this year, with a silver at the Ion Corneanu in Romania, plus bronzes at the Poland Open, the Yasar Dogu in Turkey and the Klippan Lady Open. Niemesch competed in the 2016 Olympics at 58 kg. She has a strong age-group resume, with a 2014 Junior World silver medal and a 2012 Cadet World silver medal.

Kassymova reached bronze-medal matches in four major events this year and dropped them all to place fifth, including the Asian Championships, the Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia, the Grand Prix of Spain and the Alexander Medved International in Belarus.

Japan will bring back Yukako Kawai, who was eighth in the 2017 World Championships at 63 kg. Kawai’s top age-group performance was a bronze at the 2014 Cadet World Championships.

2018 Pan American champion Yaquelin Estornell Elizastique of Cuba will be a challenger if she competes. 2018 Pan American silver medalist Lais Nunes de Oliveira of Brazil captured a 2018 World Military silver medal and also competed in the 2016 Olympic Games. 2018 European bronze medalist Veranika Ivanova of Belarus has also won medals at the World Military Championships and the World University Championships. Other athletes to watch include 2018 African champion Oluwafunmilayo Adeniyi Aminat of Nigeria, plus My Hanh Nguyen of Vietnam, Elmira Gambarova of Azerbaijan and Derya Bayhan of Turkey.

Note: TheMat.com will be posting daily weight class previews for the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, October 20-28.

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2017 World Championships
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Orkhon Purevdorj (Mongolia); Silver - Yuliia Tkach Ostapchuk (Ukraine); Bronze –Valeria Lazinskaya (Russia) ; Bronze – Jackeline Renteria Castillo (Colombia); 5th - Hafize Sahin (Turkey); 5th - Blessing Oborududu (Nigeria); 7th - Henna Johansson (Sweden); 8th - Yukako Kawai (Japan); 9th - Veranika Ivanova (Belarus); 10th - Lais Nunes de Oliveira (Brazil)

2016 Olympic Games
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold – Risako Kawai (Japan); Silver – Maryia Mamashuk (Belarus); Bronze – Yekaterina Larionova (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Monika Ewa Michalak (Poland); 5th – Elena Pirozhkova (United States); 5th – Inna Trazhukova (Russia); 7th – Anastasia Grigorjeva (Latvia); 8th – Hafize Sahin (Turkey); 9th- Yulia Tkach Ostapchuk (Ukraine); 10th – Henna Johansson (Sweden)

2015 World Championships
63 kg/138 lbs. - Gold – Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia); Silver – Risako Kawai (Japan); Bronze – Yulia Tkach (Ukraine); Bronze – Taybe Yusein (Bulgaria); 5th – Braxton Stone (Canada); 5th – Anastasija Grigorjeva (Latvia); 7th – Sandra Roa Velandia (Columbia); 8th – Buse Tosun (Turkey); 9th – Adela Hanzlickova (Czech Republic); 10th – Maryia Mamashuk (Belarus)

2014 World Championships
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold – Yuliya Tkach (Ukraine); Silver – Elena Pirozhkova (USA); Bronze – Anastasija Grigorjeva (Latvia); Bronze – Valeriia Lazinskaya (Russia); 5th – Monika Michalik (Poland); 5th – Henna Johansson (Sweden); 7th – Maria Mamashuk (Belarus); 8th – Danielle Lappage (Canada); 9th – Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia); 10th – Wang Xiaoqian (China)

2013 World Championships
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold – Kaori Icho (Japan); Silver – Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia); Bronze – Elena Pirozhkova (USA); Bronze – Yekaterina Larionova (Kazakhstan); 5th – Anastasia Bratchikova (Russia); 5th – Jackeline Renteria (Colombia); 7th – Monika Ewa Michalik (Poland); 8th – Maria Diana (Italy); 9th – Maria Mamashuk (Belarus); 10th – Ganna Vasylenko (Ukraine)

2012 Olympic Games
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold – Kaori Icho (Japan); Silver – Rui Xue Jing (China); Bronze – Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia); Bronze – Lyubov Volossova (Russia); 5th – Martine Dugrenier (Canada); 5th – Monika Michalik (Poland); 7th – Yulia Ostapchuk (Ukraine); 8th – Katherine Vidiaux Lopez (Cuba); 9th – Anastasija Grigorjeva (Latvia); 10th – Hanna Johansson (Sweden)

2012 World Championships
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold – Elena Pirozhkova (USA); Silver – Taybe Yusein (Bulgaria); Bronze – Luozhuoma Xi (China); Bronze – Justine Bouchard (Canada); 5th – Yelena Shalygina (Kazakhstan); 5th – Kayoko Kudo (Japan); 7th – Alla Cherkasova (Ukraine); 8th – Hanna Beliayeva (Azerbaijan); 9th – Aline Focken (Germany); 10th – Monika Michalik (Poland)

Current UWW Ranking Series standings (for seeding)
1 Yuliia Tkach (Ukraine)
2 Kayla Miracle (USA)
3 Lais Nunes de Oliveira (Brazil)
4 Orkhon Purevdorj (Mongolia)
5 Malin Johanna Mattsson (Sweden)
6 Luisa Niemesch (Germany)
7 Luzie Manzke (Germany)
8 Taybe Mustafa Yusein (Bulgaria)
9 Ayaulym Kassymova (Kazakhstan)
10 Yaquelin Estornell Elizastigue (Cuba)