Visiting legends

Minsk’s Sports Palace hosts 46th International Grand Prix Freestyle Wrestling Tournament honouring triple Olympic Champion Alexander Medved

Minsk’s Sports Palace hosts 46th International Grand Prix Freestyle Wrestling Tournament honouring triple Olympic Champion Alexander Medved


Tournament winner Georgy Kaliev (in blue) battles Rasil Kaliev from Kazakhstan

After the first competition day, it was easy to see that the tournament was a success. The traditional wrestling ‘party’ in Minsk gathered hundreds of sportsmen from dozens of countries, including those from such wrestling greats as Iran, Turkey, Russia, the USA, and Georgia, alongside strong, medium-ranked states and exotic Guinea-Bissau.

Quality met quantity, with many teams bringing their foremost wrestlers, thinking ahead to the Olympic Games. The hosts were no exception, with our men’s and women’s teams represented by the strongest athletes.

The first matches demonstrated that the standard would be incredibly high, across honoured champions and bold youngsters dreaming of pushing acknowledged leaders from the medals podium. Sportsmen and fans always appreciate a high level of competition, with wrestlers testing their physical capabilities to the limit.


Winner of the tournament — Vasilisa Marzalyuk (in red)

Multi-time world and European champion Turkish Sezer Akgul finished seventh, while fifth place went to last year’s European Championship medalist Konstantin Khabalashvili, from Georgia. After the first match, twice world championship prize holder Ali Shabanov, of Belarus, was knocked out, and many wrestlers failed to perform as they would have hoped. It’s worth recalling the old sporting saying that your success relies on that of your rivals.

Nevertheless, Belarusian team coaches are likely to be pleased, since the squad claimed 13 medals, despite the strength of their rivals. Among the winners are Zalina Sidakova, Georgy Kaliev (who defeated world champion Bekhan Goigereev), Veronika Ivanova, Maria Mamoshuk, Vasilisa Marzalyuk (who defeated two time Olympic winner Gyuzel Manyurova, from Kazakhstan), Yekaterina Gonchar, Ivan Yankovsky, Ksenia Stankevich, Marina Markevich, Madina Sidakova, Azamat Nurikov, Omargadzhi Magomedov and Svetlana Lomashevich.

Minsk also hosted a competition for Iranian national Pahlavani wrestling, in addition to a traditional Medvezhonok freestyle wrestling contest, for children and young people. Both events enjoyed much popularity among fans.

By Yegor Glebov

Photo: Pavel Chuiko, Alexander Ruzhechka
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