USA Wrestling

Sep 04 2009 World Championships preview at 67 kg 147 5 lbs in women s freestyle wrestling

By Gary Abbott | Sept. 04, 2009, 2:36 p.m. (ET)
With 67 kg/147.5 lbs. as one of the three non-Olympic weight classes in women's wrestling, the weight class is often hard to predict in the year after an Olympics. Many athletes left the non-Olympic weights to pursue their Olympic dreams, and in the season after, they have to make a decision on where to compete.

However, last year, FILA decided to hold a World Championships in all seven weight classes for women less than two months after the Olympic Games, and many wrestlers made the decision to compete at the non-Olympic divisions.

It was a veteran, Canada's Martine Dugrenier, who captured the 2008 World title. Dugrenier had won three straight World silver medals in this division, and was finally able to take home the gold. She competed at 63 kg at the 2008 Olympics and did not win a medal. Her strength and hard-nose style gave her the edge. Dugrenier won the Pan American Championships this year, an indication that she continues to excel.

2002 World champion Katarina Burmistrova of Ukraine enters as a true medal favorite, after winning both the 2009 European Championships and the Poland Open, a tough pre-World tune-up event. She won a bronze medal at the 2008 World meet, and has as much experience as anybody in this field.

For the three previous years, China dominated at 67 kg, with Jing Rui Xue claiming the 2006 and 2007 World title and Meng Lili taking home the 2005 World gold medal. Last year, China entered Fengliu Zhang, who finished seventh at the 2008 Worlds. China's entry at the 2009 Asian Championships was Yan Ma, who placed second. They also had a gold medalist at the 2009 World Cup, Xiaoqing Quin. Needless to say, whoever China enters will be expected to be a top contender.

Japan's Mami Shinkai was the 2008 World silver medalist at this division. This weight class has been a bit of a weak spot for the powerful Japanese. The last previous World medalist at 67 kg had been bronze medalist Eri Sakamoto in 2006. The Japanese media reports that 2009 Asian bronze medalist Yoshiko Inoue will be Japan's entry at the Worlds this year. She was a Junior World champion in 2006 and placed fifth at the 2007 Senior World Championships.

Russia has tremendous depth in its women's program, and should have a medal contender in this division. Yulia Bartnovskaya was fifth in the 2008 Worlds and won a bronze medal at the 2009 European Championships. She was also second at the Poland Open last month and also second at the Golden Grand Prix finals. Other Russian options at this weight are 2007 World bronze medalist Natalya Kuksina and Natalia Laushkina, who was third at the Poland Open.

The 2009 Asian champion is Elena Shalygina of Kazakhstan, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games at 63 kg. This is the only time Shalygina has been up at 67 kg, competing her previous years at the lower weight class. If she drops down, Darya Karpenko, who was fifth at the 2008 World Championships, is a possibility.

The U.S. will be represented by a young star, Adeline Gray, who was fresh out of high school when she qualified for the U.S. World Team. Gray won a Junior World title in 2008, but returned to the Junior Worlds this summer and did not win a match. Her talent and enthusiasm make her a dangerous opponent, but the lack of experience on the Senior level could be her biggest challenge. Last year's American entry at 67 kg, Elena Pirozkhova, has dropped down to 63 kg.

Zumrud Kurbangajieva of Azerbaijan won the 2009 Golden Grand Prix finals, and was a strong second at the 2009 European Championships. We can expect Mongolia to have a competitive entry at this weight, either O. Nasanburmaa, the 2008 World bronze medalist, or Badrakh Odinchimeg, who was third at the 2009 Asian Championships.

Lise Legrand-Golliot of France, a 1995 and 1997 World champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, placed 10th in the World in 2008. This veteran is capable of winning matches at the highest level, even though she is 33 years old. Another multiple World champion, Nikola Hartmann-Duenser of Austria, competed at this weight during the 2009 European Championships.

Others to watch are Suman Kundu of India, Ralixa Ivanova of Bulgaria, Roxana Iancolovici of Romania, Ahmed Maher of Egypt and Gloria Zavala of Venezuela.


2008 World Championships
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Gold - Martine Dugrenier (Canada); Silver - Mami Shinkai (Japan); Bronze - Katerina Burmistrova (Ukraine); Bronze - O. Nasanburmaa (Mongolia); 5th - Suman Kundu (India); 5th - Ulia Borinovskai (Russia); 7th - Fengliu Zhang (China)
8th - Elena Pirozhkov (USA); 9th - Stephanie Maierhofer (Austria); 10th - Lise Legrand-Golliot (France)

2007 World Championships
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Gold - Rui Xue Jing (China); Silver - Martine Dugrenier (Canada); Bronze - Katie Downing (United States); Bronze - Natalya Kuksina (Russia); 5th - Yoshiko Inoue (Japan); 5th - Darya Karpenko (Kazakhstan); 7th - Katerina Burmistrova (Ukraine); 8th - Hanna Belyaeva (Belarus); 9th - Suman Kundu (India); 10th - Michala Krizkova-Spoustova (Czech Republic)

2006 World Championships results
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Gold - Jing Rui Xue (China); Silver - Martine Dugrenier (Canada); Bronze - Maria Muller (Germany); Bronze - Eri Sakamoto (Japan); 5th - Teresa Mendez (Spain); 5th - Diana Mudrag (Romania); 7th - Naranchimeg Gelgjamts (Mongolia); 8th - Agniezska Wieczczek (Poland); 9th - Iryna Tsyrkevitch (Belarus); 10th - Masira Admiraal (Netherlands)

2005 World Championships results
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Gold - Meng Lili (China); Silver - Martine Dugrenier (Canada); Bronze - Elene Perepelkina (Russia); Bronze - Katie Downing (USA); 5th - Naranchimeg Gelegjamts (Mongolia); 5th - Ashlea McManus (Great Britain); 7th - Eri Sakamoto (Japan); 8th - Rita Soos (Hungary); 9th - Stavrola Zygouri (Greece); 10th - Masira Admiraal (Netherlands)