Weight-to-Watch: Women’s Wrestling 57kg
Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 12:58 By Eric Olanowski
WARSAW, Poland (June 2) --- Olympic champion Helen MAROULIS (USA) headlines the loaded 17-woman 57kg bracket at next week’s Poland Open. In total, the weight will feature two Olympic medalists, five world medal winners, and seven continental champions.
Earlier this year, during her appearance on UWW LIVE, Maroulis shared her mentality and desire to compete against the best, saying, “I don’t just want the medal for the sake of the medal. I want it to be the toughest competition. The point of being the best is you want to know that you beat everyone that you think is incredible.”
Next week, Maroulis will have that opportunity to lace up her boots against the world’s best at 57kg – including Olympic runner-up Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS) and world medalist Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) and Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR). She’ll also have to get through a slew of continental champions, including European winners Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR) and Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS), and Asian champ Anshu ANSHU (IND).
The Poland Open will be Maroulis’ second competition of the ’21 season. The two-time world champion's last competition was January’s Henri Deglane in France. She won four matches and defeated Germany’s Laura MERTENS to win the 57kg gold. The win in France marked Maroulis’ first international gold since she claimed her second world title at the ’17 Paris World Championships.
On paper, Adekuoroye, Africa’s first-ever women’s wrestling world finalist, would be the biggest threat to Maroulis’ shot at winning Ranking Series gold in Warsaw. But, after being sidelined for over 16 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-time world bronze medalist Iryna Kurachkina takes the top spot as Maroulis’s biggest threat.
Kurachkina is on an eight-tournament podium finishing streak that dates back to May ‘19’s International Ukrainian Tournament. During that stretch, she’s captured gold at the European Championships, European Games, Individual World Cup, and the prestigious Alexander Medved Prizes. She also finished with bronze medalists at the ’19 World Championships, European Championships, and the International Ukrainian Tournament twice.
If Adekuoroye and Maroulis happen to meet, it wouldn’t be the first meeting between the two superstars. The pair wrestled in an exhibition in New York City at the ’18 Beat the Street. The American scored the matches only takedown, shut down the Nigerian’s offense, and eased her way to a 4-1 win.
Rio Olympic runner-up Valeria Kobloba will make her first appearance down at 57kg since between the ’17 World Championships and when she gave birth. Since then, she's competed at the Russian (59kg) and European Championships (62kg), finishing in first and fifth, respectively.
The two other continental champions that'll compete in Warsaw are Ologonova and Anshu.
Anshu will wrestle for a fourth time this season. It’ll be her first competition back since winning the 57kg Asian title in April. Her other two competitions were the Asian Olympic Qualifier and the Matteo Pellicone. She qualified India for the Olympic Games after she reached the finals at the Asian Olympic Qualifier but dropped her bronze-medal match at the Pellicone and finished in fifth place.
Ologonova, the three-time world silver medalist, will compete outside Russia for the first time since the ’18 World Championships. Most recently, she fell to Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS) (who is also entered in the competition) in the Russian National finals.
Two dark horses that round out the weight are Alina Hrushyna Akobiia and Mathilde Hélène RIVIERE (FRA).
The young upset-minded Hrushyna Akobiia is looking to spoil the party at 57kg. Last week, she claimed gold at the U23 European Championships – which was her fifth consecutive tournament finishing in the top three. Prior to that win in Skopje, she qualified Ukraine for the Olympic Games with her final-reaching performance at the European Olympic Qualifier, claimed silver and bronze medals at the ’20 and ’21 senior-level European Championships, respectively, and won the International Ukrainian Tournament.
Riviere finished in second place at the World Olympic Qualifier and qualified France for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Wrestling at the Poland Open kicks off on June 8 and can be followed live on www.uww.org.
Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR)
Mathilde Hélène RIVIERE (FRA)
Elena Heike BRUGGER (GER)
Fatoumata Yarie CAMARA (GUI)
Anshu ANSHU (IND)
Odunayo Folasade ADEKUOROYE (NGR)
Patrycja GIL (POL)
Jowita Maria WRZESIEN (POL)
Magdalena Urszula GLODEK (POL)
Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS)
Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS)
Valeria KOBLOVA ZHOLOBOVA (RUS)
Mehlika OZTURK (TUR)
Eda TEKIN (TUR)
Alina HRUSHYNA AKOBIIA (UKR)
Tetyana KIT (UKR)
Helen MAROULIS (USA)