Jimenez finishes with U20 World silver; Jones, Janiak and Blades earn bronze

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

Kennedy Blades drives through a double leg takedown in the 76 kg bronze medal match at the U20 World Championships. (Photo by Richard Immel - USA Wrestling)

AMMAN, JORDAN – The U.S. women pushed four-of-five group one competitors across the medal threshold on Thursday evening at the U20 World Championships, and currently sit in first place in the team standings after the completion of five weight classes.

17-year-old Audrey Jimenez of Tucson, Arizona, ranked the highest of the American women, earning a silver medal at 50 kg. This marks the second-straight year she has made the U20 World finals.

In the gold medal match against China’s Yanrong Li, Jimenez was traversing a single leg attempt and got caught awkwardly in a cradle. She couldn’t find a way out of this position and gave up the fall in 2:28. Jimenez fought from her back for nearly two minutes but couldn’t reach the period break for a fresh start.

2021 U20 World champion Kennedy Blades rebounded from a difficult semifinal defeat at the hands of eventual champion Priya Priya to claim a bronze medal at 76 kg. Clearly not at 100-percent capacity this week, Blades gutted out a 6-2 win against Individual Neutral Athlete Mariia Silina.

The similar trajectories between Blades and Jimenez are uncanny. As two of the highest regarded women’s wrestling prospects in the U.S., both won the U.S. Senior Open, finished as Final X runners up securing the No. 2 spot on the U.S. Senior National Team, and shared similar stories of adversity in Amman. The duo will compete next at the U23 World Championships this October.  

A pair of emerging college stars earned bronze medals alongside Blades—Georgia product Amani Jones at 55 kg and Illinois native Alexis Janiak at 59 kg. Both were runners-up at the NCWWC National Championships this year, Jones for North Central College and Janiak for Aurora University.

Jones edged returning U20 World finalist Albina Rillia of Ukraine in a back-and-forth contest that was decided on criteria, 5-5. Janiak took the opposite approach, dismantling Individual Neutral Athlete Elena Kurova with apparent ease, 10-0.

Ascending Iowa Hawkeye star Isabella Mir came one win short of collecting her first World medal. After grabbing a strong win in Thursday morning’s repechage round, Mir was stopped by Individual Neutral Athlete Alina Shauchuk, 8-1, in the 68 kg bronze medal match.

Two group two women’s freestyle athletes remain on the hunt for medals in Amman. Returning champion Amit Elor has qualified for the gold medal match at 72 kg. Katie Gomez finds herself in the 53 kg bronze medal match for the second-straight year.

Repechage hopeful Adaugo Nwachukwu was eliminated from medal contention once Mexico’s Melanie Jimenez Villalba lost in the 62 kg semifinals. Cristelle Rodriguez (57 kg) and Maddie Kubicki (65 kg) found themselves out of the medal running in today’s opening session.

The strong group one performance put the U.S. 12 points ahead of Japan, topping the team ranking heading into the final day of women’s wrestling in Amman. In terms of potential team points, the U.S. can max out at 123 points while Japan can climb as high as 134. Sitting in third place, 35 points behind the U.S., is India, who has a legitimate chance to win the tournament with a max-out mark of 135.

The U20 World Championships continue at 10 a.m. local time on Fri. at Princess Sumaya Lounge with the women’s freestyle group two repechage and the start of Greco-Roman. Amman, Jordan, is in the GMT +3 time zone, which is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time.

Those in the U.S. can watch all the action live on Brackets and updated results will be provided by United World Wrestling on and the UWW mobile app. 

2023 U20 World Championships

At Amman, Jordan, August 14-20

Team Standings

1. United States, 75

2. Japan, 63

3. India, 40

T4. China, 31

T4. Italy, 31

6. Ukraine, 27

7. Romania, 26

8. Hungary, 25

T9. Germany, 24

T9. Turkey, 24

Women’s Freestyle Group One (50-55-59-68-76 kg) Results

50 kg

Gold – Yanrong Li (China)

Silver – Audrey Jimenez (United States)

Bronze – Miruko Sakane (Japan)

Bronze – Viktoriia Slobodeniuk (Ukraine)

5th – Reka Hegedus (Slovakia)

5th – Svenja Jungo (Switzerland)

7th – Laura Ganikyzy (Kazakhstan)

8th – Georgiana Antuca (Romania)

9th – Yi Hui Lin (Chinese Taipei)

10th – Sviatlana Katenka (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Gold – Yanrong Li (China) fall Audrey Jimenez (United States), 2:28

Bronze – Miruko Sakane (Japan) tech. fall Reka Hegedus (Slovakia), 10-0

Bronze – Viktoriia Slobodeniuk (Ukraine) fall Svenja Jungo (Switzerland), 5:17

55 kg

Gold – Aryna Martynava (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Silver – Georgiana Lirca (Romania)

Bronze – Amani Jones (United States)

Bronze – Moe Kiyooka (Japan)

5th – Albina Rillia (Ukraine)

5th – Roza Szenttamasi (Hungary)

7th – Diana Antropova (Individual Neutral Athlete)

8th – Zeinep Bayanova (Kazakhstan)

9th – Tuba Demir (Turkey)

10th – Milica Sekulovic (Serbia)

Gold – Aryna Martynava (Individual Neutral Athlete) tech. fall Georgiana Lirca (Romania), 10-0

Bronze – Amani Jones (United States) dec. Albina Rillia (Ukraine), 5-5

Bronze – Moe Kiyooka (Japan) tech. fall Roza Szenttamasi (Hungary), 10-0

59 kg

Gold – Aurora Russo (Italy)

Silver – Alesia Hetmanava (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Bronze – Kalmira Bilimbek Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan)

Bronze – Alexis Janiak (United States)

5th – Sevim Akbas (Turkey)

5th – Elena Kurova (Individual Neutral Athlete)

7th – Annatina Lippuner (Switzerland)

8th – Aleksandra Witos (Poland)

9th – Kanami Yamanouchi (Japan)

10th – Lana Nogic (Croatia)

Gold – Aurora Russo (Italy) dec. Alesia Hetmanava (Individual Neutral Athlete), 4-1

Bronze – Kalmira Bilimbek Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan) tech. fall Sevim Akbas (Turkey), 11-0

Bronze – Alexis Janiak (United States) tech. fall Elena Kurova (Individual Neutral Athlete), 11-0

68 kg

Gold – Ray Hoshino (Japan)

Silver – Elizaveta Petliakova (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Bronze – Arju Arju (India)

Bronze – Alina Shauchuk (Individual Neutral Athlete)

5th – Elif Kurt (Turkey)

5th – Isabella Mir (United States)

7th – Menatalla Badran (Egypt)

8th – Laura Godino (Italy)

9th – Sophia Schaefle (Germany)

10th – Manola Skobelska (Ukraine)

Gold – Ray Hoshino (Japan) dec. Elizaveta Petliakova (Individual Neutral Athlete), 4-3

Bronze – Arju Arju (India) dec. Elif Kurt (Turkey), 8-1

Bronze – Alina Shauchuk (Individual Neutral Athlete) dec. Isabella Mir (United States), 8-1

76 kg

Gold – Priya Priya (India)

Silver – Laura Kuehn (Germany)

Bronze – Kennedy Blades (United States)

Bronze – Veronika Nyikos (Hungary)

5th – Mariia Silina (Individual Neutral Athlete)

5th – Daniela Tkachuk (Poland)

7th – Aliaksandra Kazlova (Individual Neutral Athlete)

8th – Cancan Liu (China)

9th – Ayano Moro (Japan)

10th – Lin Jiang (Chinese Taipei)

Gold – Priya Priya (India) dec. Laura Kuehn (Germany), 5-0

Bronze – Kennedy Blades (United States) dec. Mariia Silina (Individual Neutral Athlete), 6-2

Bronze – Veronika Nyikos (Hungary) fall Daniela Tkachuk (Poland), 4:24

U.S. Women’s Freestyle Group One (50-55-59-68-76 kg) Results

50 kg – Audrey Jimenez (Tucson, Arizona/Sunkist Kids WC), silver medal

WIN Zerda Demir (Turkey), tech. fall, 16-6

WIN Miruko Sakane (Japan), 4-2

WIN Reka Hegedus (Slovakia), tech. fall, 12-2

LOSS Yanrong Li (China), fall, 2:28

55 kg – Amani Jones (Jonesboro, Georgia/Cardinal WC), bronze medal

WIN Lina Nita (Moldova), tech. fall, 11-1

LOSS Aryna Martynava (Individual Neutral Athlete), tech. fall, 10-0

WIN Aysanem Kurbanbaeva (Uzbekistan), 7-4

WIN Albina Rillia (Ukraine), 5-5

59 kg – Alexis Janiak (Plainfield, Illinois/SPAR Wrestling Academy), bronze medal

WIN Jovana Radivojevic (Serbia), tech. fall, 10-0

WIN Annatina Lippuner (Switzerland), fall, 1:55

LOSS Aurora Russo (Italy), 9-8

WIN Elena Kurova (Individual Neutral Athlete), tech. fall, 11-0

68 kg – Isabella Mir (Las Vegas, Nevada/Iowa Women’s WC), 5th

WIN Manola Skobelska (Ukraine), 12-8

LOSS Ray Hoshino (Japan), tech. fall, 12-1

WIN Karolina Jaworska (Poland), fall, 4:53

LOSS Alina Shauchuk (Individual Neutral Athlete), 8-1

76 kg – Kennedy Blades (Chicago, Illinois/Sunkist Kids WC), bronze medal

WIN Mariia Senkina (Ukraine), tech. fall, 10-0

WIN Ayano Moro (Japan), 4-3 2022 U20 World champ

LOSS Priya Priya (India), tech. fall, 10-0

WIN Mariia Silina (Individual Neutral Athlete), 6-2