2009 World Championships preview at 59 kg 130 lbs in women s freestyle wrestling
Ayako Shoda of Japan has won the World gold medal at this weight class for three of the last four years, and has four total World titles, with her first back in 2000. The only year she did not win it was in 2007, when she dropped to seventh.
However, Shoda is not listed as the competitor for Japan this year. Kei Yamana, who was third at the Golden Grand Prix finals this year, is on the roster. Yamana was a 2005 Junior World Champion and third in the 2007 Asian Championships. Japan has another option with 2008 Asian champion Yuri Ito.
Placing second at the Worlds here last year was Natalia Golts of Russia, who competed down at 55 kg most of the rest of her career, including winning two World bronze medals there. Golts is listed at 55 kg this year again. Russia has listed Olga Kiosova and Julia Rekava as their entry possibilities. Rekava was third at the European Championships this year, while Kiosova was third at the Poland Open, a pre-Worlds tuneup.
The 2008 World bronze medalists were Elvira Mursalova of Azerbaijan and Agata Pietrzyk of Poland, both who are on the preliminary World roster. Pietrzyk was fifth at the European Championships this year.
Claiming the European title in 2009 was Johanna Mattsson of Sweden, who also won the Golden Grand Prix finals this year. Mattsson was a 2005 Junior World champion and won four Junior World medals in her career. The European silver medalist was Irina Khariv of Ukraine. However, Ukraine has listed Ganna Vasylenko as its entry for Herning, who like Khariv, placed fifth in this year's Poland Open.
The U.S. entry is Deanna Rix, who placed a strong third at the 2008 World Championships, Rix, a bronze medalist at the World Cup this year, has a year's more experience on the Senior level and aims for her first medal.
One of the veteran stars in the field is Marianna Sastin of Hungary, who was a 2005 World bronze medalist and placed fifth at the 2006 World Championships. She was ninth in the World last year, but came back to take second at the Golden Grand Prix finals. Sastin moved up to 63 kg and competed in the Olympics last summer at that division.
An intriguing entry is Yamilka Del Valle Alvarez of Cuba, the 2009 Pan American champion. Cuba is relatively new to women's wrestling, but excels on the men's side. This athlete has the potential to become the first World-level women's star for her nation.
China is scheduled to enter Mei Jia, who was the 2009 Asian silver medalist, her only previous major event. Alka Tomar of India and Jin Han Um of Korea won Asian bronze medals this year. Tomar was third in the 2006 World Championships.
Among the athlete placing in the top 10 at last year's World Championships were Sabrina Esposito of Italy and Katie Patroch of Canada, both who are also on the preliminary World roster.
Meryem Selloum of France, who was third at the European Championships this year, is among the other contenders. Ludmilla Cristea of Moldova, who placed fifth at the 2006 World Championships, is a top challenger. Others to watch include Natascha Ballas of Germany and Joice Silva of Brazil.RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS2008 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold - Ayako Shoda (Japan); Silver - Natalia Golts (Russia); Bronze - Elvira Mursalova (Azerbaijan); Bronze - Agata Pietrzyk (Poland); 5th - Deanna Rix (USA); 5th - Sabrina Esposito (Italy); 7th - Katie Patroch (Canada); 8th - Leyla Metin (Turkey); 9th - Marianna Sastin (Hungary); 10th - Alla Cherkasova (Ukraine)2007 World Championships
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold - Audrey Prieto-Bokhashvili (France); Silver - Stephanie Gross (Germany); Bronze - Natalya Synyshyn (Ukraine); Bronze - Dorj Narmandakh (Mongolia); 5th - Brittanee Laverdure (Canada); 5th - Sandra Roa (Colombia); 7th - Ayako Shoda (Japan); 8th - Larissa Kanaeva (Russia); 9th - Miruyert Dynbaeva (Kazakhstan); 10th - Agata Pietrzyk (Poland)2006 World Championships results
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold - Ayako Shoda (Japan); Silver - Su Liu Hui (China); Bronze - Alka Tomar (India); Bronze - Nataliya Sinishin (Ukraine); 5th - Ludmila Cristea (Moldova); 5th - Marianna Sastin (Hungary); 7th - Erin Tomeo (United States); 8th - Stefanie Stuber (Germany); 9th - Jackeline Renteria (Colombia); 10th - Gudrun Hoie (Norway)2005 World Championships results
59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold - Ayako Shoda (Japan); Silver - Marianna Sastin (Hungary); Bronze - Sally Roberts (USA); Bronze - Lene Aanes (Norway); 5th - Anna Zwirydowska (Poland); 5th - Ida Theres-Karlsson (Sweden); 7th - Yuliya Ratkevich (Belarus); 8th - Michelle Richardson (Canada); 9th - Olena Komarova (Ukraine); 10th - Alka Tomar Singh (India)