USA Wrestling 2018 World Champions...

2018 World Championships preview at 50 kg/110 lbs. in women’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Sept. 18, 2018, 2:26 p.m. (ET)

Whitney Conder, shown at the 2018 U.S. Open, is competing in her fourth Senior World Championships for Team USA. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

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

Although 50 kg is a new women’s weight class, a majority of the field comes from the previous 48 kg, with many of the same athletes moving up to what is now the lightest weight. In fact, all four 2017 World medalists have returned and are expected in Budapest. However, a few of the athletes in the field competed at 53 kg in the past, and made the move down in weight to compete against this deep set of athletes.

2017 World champion Yui Susaki of Japan had to overcome a talented field of stars within her own nation to make the World Team and earn the right to attempt to repeat as World champion. In addition to her tough domestic competition, Susaki was also champion at the respected Klippan Lady Open this winter. She boasts three Cadet World titles. If you check out her UWW database biography, she has a gold medal in every major event she has entered. With that said, she is the pre-event favorite at this weight class, but won't get a seed because of a lack of tournaments entered this year.

Three-time Olympic medalist and 2009 World champion Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan is looking to not only end Susaki’s run, but also stop the total dominance of Japan in this weight class. The last non-Japanese World champion in the lightest weight was Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus in 2012, and before that, Japan won them all going back to Stadnik’s 2009 gold medal.

Stadnik did not compete at the 2017 World Championships, but has won all three events that she has entered this season, including the 2018 European Championships, the Dan Kolov in Bulgaria and the Poland Open, all tough tests. She has won a combined seven World and Olympic medals, putting her in a very rare group of women’s wrestling legends.

2017 World silver medalist Alina Vuc of Romania was second to Stadnik at the 2018 Europeans. Since her World silver last year in Paris, Vuc has won a 2017 World Military gold medal, and added four other international medals. Vuc was fifth at the 2014 World Championship and boasts a pair of Junior World medals earlier in her career.

Both of the 2017 World bronze medalists are also expected in Budapest, Son-Hyang Kim of North Korea and Evin Demirhan of Turkey.

This year, Kim won a bronze medal at the Asian Games and a silver medal at the rugged Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia. Kim is also a past Youth Olympic Games champion. Demirhan brings a number of medals this year as well, including a European Senior bronze medal, a European U23 silver medal and a gold at the Mediterranean Games.

2012 World champion Jessica MacDonald of Canada is one of those athletes who spent much of her career up at a higher weight class, although she did make 48 kg during parts of her journey. She was a 2011 World bronze medalist at 51 kg. MacDonald has wrestled exclusively at 50 kg since this weight was created, and boasts five international medals at this weight, including golds at the Ukranian Memorial International and the Canada Cup.

2015 World bronze medalist Jessica Blaszka of the Netherlands is another past medalist who will be competing. Blaszka’s owns a silver medal at the 2016 World Military Championships. Her last medal at a major event was a gold at the 2017 Grand Prix of Paris.

Whitney Conder of the United States will be competing in her fourth World Championships, but is seeking her first World medal. Like MacDonald and others, she usually has competed at the second-lightest weight class, only coming down on Olympic years. Conder won the 2018 Pan American Championships and has medalled in the last five international events she entered. She was a 2007 Junior World champion and boast a 2015 Pan American Games gold.

Competing in her first Senior World Championships is 2018 Russian Nationals champion Anzhelika Vetoshkina. She won bronze medals in major international events in Russia (Yarygin), Mongolia (Mongolia Cup) and Sweden (Klippan Lady Open) so far in 2018.

Kazakhstan will enter a former Russian athlete, Valentina Islamova, who was fifth in the 2015 World Championships for Russia. She has not competed internationally since 2016, when she was still on the Russian team.

India’s Vinesh won a gold medal at the Asian Games this year, and a silver medal at the Asian Championships. She won the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and the Commonwealth Championships in 2017. A 2016 Olympian, she seeks her first World Championships medal after three previous appearances.

Among the other tough contenders are Carolina Castillo Hidalgo of Colombia, Anna Lukasiak of Poland, Ilona Semkiv of Ukraine, Narangerel Erdenesukh of Mongolia and Jiang Zhu of China.

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

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2017 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Yui Susaki (Japan); Silver - Emilia Vuc (Romania); Bronze –Son-Hyang Kim (North Korea) ; Bronze – Evin Demirhan (Turkey); 5th - Victoria Anthony (United States); 5th - Violeta Chyryk (Belarus); 7th - Jasmine Mian (Canada); 8th – Anna Lukasiak (Poland); 9th - Julie Sabatie (France); 10th - Vinesh (India)

2016 Olympic Games
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver – Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Yanan Sun (China); Bronze – Elitsa Yankova (Bulgaria); 5th – Zhuidyz Eshimova (Kazakhstan); 5th – Patricia Bermudez (Argentina); 7th – Iwona Matkowska (Poland); 8th – Carolina Castillo Hildago (Colombia); 9th – Haley Augello (United States); 10th – Vinesh (India)

2015 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver – Mariya Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Jessica Blaszka (Netherlands); Bronze – Genevieve Morrison (Canada); 5th – Hui Li (China); 5th – Valentina Islamova (Russia); 7th – Nataliya Pulkovska (Ukraine); 8th – Tatayana Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 9th – Alyssa Lampe (USA); 10th – Carolina Castillo (Colombia)

2014 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver – Iwona Matkowska (Poland); Bronze – Mariya Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Kim Hyon Gyong (North Korea); 5th – Alyssa Lampe (USA); 5th – Emilia Vuc (Romania); 7th – Iulia Leorda (Moldova); 8th – Patricia Bermudez (Argentina); 9th – Jessica Blaszka (Netherlands); 10th – Mariana Munoz (Mexico)

2013 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver - Mayellis Caripa Castillo (Venezuela); Bronze – Alyssa Lampe (USA); Bronze – Cheng Xu (China); 5th – Anna Lukasiak (Poland); 5th – Melanie LeSaffre (France); 7th – Tatyana Amanzhol (Kazakhstan); 8th – Pak Yong Mi (North Korea); 9th – Elena Vostrikova (Russia); 10th – Yana Stadnik (Great Britain)

2012 Olympic Games
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Hitomi Sakamoto Obara (Japan); Silver – Maria Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Clarissa Chun (USA); Bronze – Carol Huynh (Canada); 5th – Isabelle Sambou (Senegal); 5th – Irini Merleni (Ukraine); 7th – Iwona Matkowska (Poland); 8th – Vannesa Kaladzinskaya (Belarus); 9th – Otgontsetseg Davaasukh (Mongolia); 10th – Mayelis Caripa Castillo (Venezuela)

2012 World Championships
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Vanessa Kaladzynskaya (Belarus); Silver – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Bronze – Xiaomei Li (China); Bronze – Jaqueline Schellin (Germany); 5th – Tatyana Amanzhol-Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 5th – Patimat Bagomedova (Azerbaijan); 7th – Estera Dobre (Romania); 8th – Anna Lukasik (Poland); 9th – Clarissa Chun (USA); 10th – Davaasuren Bayarmagnai (Mongolia)

Current UWW Ranking Series Standings (used for seeding)

1 Emilia Alina Vuc (Romania)
2 Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan)
3 Whitney Conder (USA)
4 Chun Lei (China)
5 Aktenge Keunimjaeva (Uzbekistan)
6 Anzhelika Vetoshkina (Russia)
7 Narangerel Erdenesukh (Mongolia)
8 Ilona Semkiv (Ukraine)
9 Vinesh (India)
10 Yui Susaki (Japan)