Nip and tuck finals in women’s competition and convincing performances by the hot favourites in the men’s brackets was what the enthusiastic fans enjoyed on the second and final day of wrestling action at Katara Beach on Tuesday 15 October.
The prologue to the play introduced to the spectators was not intriguing at all with Shauna Kemp from the USA capturing the bronze medal in the women’s 60kg effortlessly, due to Kateryna Zhydachevska’s (ROU) injured right shoulder, but the category’s final was a masterly strategy execution by Italian Francesca Indelicato. Rushing herself to get her maiden points in the tournament against Turkey’s youngster Mehlika Ozturk at the Group stage, resulted to a painful 2-1 defeat, a big blow to her gold medal ambitions. Indelicato picked up her pieces and played it safe ever since, getting two wins in point-superiority and two more due to her lighter weight than her opponents. Ozturk continued her undefeated rally to the final as well, thus setting a replay of their early encounter.
In his second chance, Indelicato was more rational. He played massive defence for three minutes and escaped Ozturk’s late surge to capitalise on a possible Indelicato’s error. None of the two finallists scored a point meaning the Italian was crowned ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019 women’s beach wrestling 60kg champion.
“It was a tactical match-up. I was waiting for her,” explained Indelicato. “I attacked too much in the first phase. In the final, I changed my tactics because I knew that my weight was lower and a draw would mean that I would be the winner.”
A re-match in the final didn’t alter the group stage result in the men’s over 90kg final. Pouya Rahmani (IRI) twice defeated Ufuk Yilmaz (TUR), snatching the three needed points and allowing none to his opponent, thus securing a well-deserved gold medal. Yilmaz’s attempts to get a good grip proved fruitless against the 2017 world champion. Georgia’s Mamuka Kordzaia won the bronze medal final over a clearly overwhelmed Oyan Nazariani (AZE).
In the 80kg, while trailing 2-1 Ibrahim Yusubov (AZE) had to dig dip to “steal” the point that would bring balance to the final against mighty 2012 Olympian Davit Khutsishvili, but the Georgian exploited Yusubov’s risky move and found the big three to clinch victory. Bronze was easily captured by Vasyl Mykhailov (UKR) against Turkey’s Efe Sami Unal.
The most spectacular final of the day was the duel between Blessing Joy Onyebuchi of Nigeria and Hungary’s European bronze medallist in Olympic wrestling Zsannett Nemeth. With the score tie at 2-2, Nemeth thought she had her and launched an attack, but Onyebuchi responded quickly, grabbed her leg and threw her down with a powerful move to claim the decisive point.
“For a moment I lost my concentration. She acted very fast, all girls from Africa have speed, but Onyebuchi is also strong,” admitted Nemeth, while a jubilant Onyebuchi was relishing her moment of glory: “I don’t know how I made it. But I wanted to win the gold. I am so happy! I strongly believed that I could make it, I told my coach that this gold medal was mine.”