Medals showering down on the hosts
Minsk hosts Sambo World Cup stage for the Prizes of the President of Belarus, with automatic entry for national team
During the first day, winners were announced across 12 weight categories and the Sports Palace experienced a real ‘medal shower’ for Belarusian sambo wrestlers: 18 awards, of which seven were gold. Ivan Aniskevich (up to 62kg), Andrey Kazusenok (up to 90kg), Yuri Rybak (+100kg), Leila Abbasova (up to 48kg), Tatiana Matsko (up to 64kg), and Yelizaveta Moiseenko (+80kg) took prizes in sports sambo while Sergey Filomenko (up to 82kg) claimed success in combat sambo.
Ten medals were presented on the final day of the tournament, with Belarusian athletes appearing on the podium nine times. Yevgeny Semochkin (up to 100kg) defeated Russia’s Dmitry Minakov in the final, to take gold, while Alexey Stepankov also claimed victory (up to 82kg). Among the women, Alesya Starovera beat Gulbadam Babamuratova from Turkmenistan (up to 52kg) to claim gold, as did Yekaterina Prokopenko (up to 60kg), after defeating Bulgarian Kalina Stefanova.
In fact, at the last World Championship, Belarus failed to claim a single gold medal. However, sambo-wrestling national team head coach Vyacheslav Kot remains modest, noting that ‘the battle was more important than the result’. He explains, “We, and other teams, are preparing for the main forums of the season. Of course, it’s a pleasure to see so many medals, especially against such strong teams from Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Tajikistan. In each weight category, there were several World champions, showing the level of the competition. Despite the seriousness of the competition, we have confirmed our high status, so we have reason to be optimistic about the future.”
The national team will now continue preparing for the European Championship, which will be held in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, from May 14th until May 18th.
By Yegor Glebov
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