Posted: 09.04.2024 16:04:00

Olympic sports

Belarusian athletes gained 17 more licences for the Paris 2024 Olympics

They fought and found it, they took it and did not let it go — this is how the last weekend can be described in short from the perspective of Belarusian wrestlers and weightlifters. Our athletes won seven licences at the qualification tournaments for the Paris Olympics held in Baku and Phuket. Now our athletes have 17 licences in total, but the dispute over permits for the main competition of the four-year period has not finished yet.

Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (right) 

Called to the carpet

Belarusian wrestler Aliaksandr Hushtyn
The European Wrestling Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Baku and became the penultimate opportunity for wrestlers to get a pass to the Games in Paris. The conditions for winning licences were simple — it was necessary to reach the competition final. The classic Greco-Roman fighters from Belarus were the first to join the battle but, alas, they were left with nothing. Having won two victories each, Hleb Makaranka and Kiryl Maskevich reached the semifinals, yet they could not get the better of their competitors at this stage. Makaranka (weight category — up to 60 kg) lost to the experienced Moldovan wrestler, Victor Ciobanu — 1:7, while Maskevich (weight category — up to 87 kg) lost to Russian Milad Alirzaev in a stubborn fight — 1:2.  
The next day, Belarusian girls came out on the carpet. The highest class was demonstrated again by one of the leaders of our national team, silver medalist of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Iryna Kurachkina, competing in the weight category up to 57 kg. She defeated Russian Olga Khoroshavtseva in the quarterfinals, and in the semifinals she celebrated the victory over Ukrainian Alina Hrushyna-Akobiia. Four more licences were won by our freestyle wrestlers. Aryan Tsiutryn (up to 57 kg) beat Georgi Vangelov from Bulgaria in the semifinals. Silver medalist of the Tokyo Olympics Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (up to 74 kg) defeated a Slovakian freestyle wrestler, Taimuraz Salkazanov. Dzianis Khramiankou (up to 125 kg) secured a victory over Poland’s Kamil Kociołek in a fight for an Olympic licence. Aliaksandr Hushtyn (up to 97 kg) was supposed to meet Radosław Baran but the Polish wrestler could not continue competing due to injury.   
Before the European Qualification Tournament, our wrestlers had already received two licences for the Paris Olympics — Vanesa Kaladzinskaya and Abubakar Khaslakhanau won them at the World Championships. Belarusians still have one more opportunity to gain passes for the Olympics — the World Olympic Qualification Tournament kicks off in May in Istanbul.

Iryna Kurachkina (left)

Dzianis Khramiankou

Licence weight

Belarusian weightlifters also opened the score for Olympic licences. The first pass to the Paris Olympics was won by Suzanna Volodko. Before the World Cup start in Thailand, the Belarusian athlete, competing in the weight class up to 71 kg, occupied the ninth place in the qualification ranking. At the final tournament of the Olympic selection, Suzanna lifted the total of 237 kg (108+129) in the double event. This result allowed Volodko to take the tenth place in the competition and retain her place in the top 10 of the world ranking based on the results of five qualifying starts, which was one of the prerequisites for winning a licence. Petr Asayonak, competing in the weight up to 89 kg, performed unsuccessfully in Phuket. In three snatch attempts, he failed to fix the barbell with an initial weight of 163 kg and remained with zero in the results column. The main competitors of the Belarusian for a place in the top 10 of the qualification rating also failed to cope with snatch attempts, however Korean Yu Dong-Ju moved Petr from this position. Now Asayonak is the first reserve in his weight category. 
Yauheni Tsikhantsou won an Olympic licence in the category up to 102 kg, becoming the bronze winner with the total result of 400 kg (183+217) in double event. The World Cup will end on April 11th, and on this day Eduard Ziaziulin will compete for an Olympic licence in the weight class over 109 kg. 

By Tatiana Pastushenko

Photos by United World Wrestling