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Olympic Games preview at 50 kg in women’s freestyle: World champs Stadnik, Susaki, Sun top field

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Draw: Thursday, August 5
Dates of competition: Friday, August 6 and Saturday, August 7

U.S. representative: Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/USOPTC)

This weight class has its share of past World and Olympic medalists, and is headlined by a pair of two-time World champions, Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan and Yui Susaki of Japan.

Stadnik is the most recent World champion, claiming the 2019 World title to go along with her 2009 World title. She also earned the No. 1 seed. It is amazing that there was a 10-year gap between her two gold medals, but this is an amazing athlete. Stadnik already has won three Olympic medals, a 2008 bronze, plus silvers in 2012 and 2016. She also boasts five-total World medals. In 2021, she was competing well with wins at the European Championships and the Poland Open. It would be a great story if her fourth Olympic medal was gold.

2017 and 2018 World champion Yui Susaki of Japan was not Japan’s entry at the 2019 Worlds, when Yuki Irie beat her out for the spot. Irie did not qualify Japan there, missing the top six at Worlds, but it was Susaki who earned the Olympic berth by winning the 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier. Susaki won three Cadet World titles before quickly taking over at the Senior level. She is reportedly serving as the female flagbearer for Japan at the Opening Ceremonies, a fantastic honor but perhaps some added pressure on her to win. With the format having one women’s weight finishing each day of finals, Susaki will be competing on the final day of the wrestling competition if she makes the finals.

Another gold medalist in the mix is Sun Yanan of China, who was a 2013 World champion at 51 kg. She claimed an Olympic bronze medal at 48 kg in 2016, plus a 2012 World silver and a 2018 World bronze. She was also a 2010 Junior World champion. Sun has not competed in a major international event since 2019, so we have no post-COVID performances to give an update on her form.

There are two recent World silver medalists in the draw, Sarah Hildebrandt of the United States and Emelia Vuc of Romania. Hildebrandt won her World silver in 2018 at 53 kg, but did not medal at that weight in 2019. Hildebrandt dropped to 50 kg for her Olympic run, and qualified the USA at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier right before the pandemic hit. In 2021, she won the Henri Deglane in France and the Pan American Championships, then made the U.S. Olympic Team. Hildebrandt has excelled since making the weight class change and enters with confidence.

Vuc had her best performance with her 2019 World silver medal at 50 kg, losing to Stadnik in the finals. She was also a 2017 World silver medalist and has two Junior World medals on her resume. She secured the No. 2 seed. Vuc did not place at the 2016 Olympic Games. She has had some rough performances in 2021, winning a medal in just two of her five tournaments, including missing the medal rounds at the European Championships.

There are a number of past World bronze medalists in the draw. 2018 World bronze medalist Oksana Livach of Ukraine has earned the No. 3 seed. A European Senior champion and past Cadet World champion, Livach secured her Tokyo berth with a fifth-place at the 2019 Worlds. A 2019 World bronze medalist, Valentina Islamova Brik of Kazakhstan won the 2021 Asian Championships, and was twice an Asian bronze medalist. Islamova Brik, the No. 4 seed, started her career with Russia, where she was a 2015 European Games medalist. A 2017 World bronze medalist, Evin Demirhan of Turkey punched her ticket for Tokyo by taking a silver at the 2021 European Olympic Qualifier.

Miglena Selishka of Bulgaria won the 2021 European Olympic Qualifier was a 2020 European champion, and a two-time European silver medalist. Yuneylis Guzman Lopez of Cuba was the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion, with a 2019 Pan American Championships gold and a 2018 Pan American Games silver medal. 2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion Sarra Hamdi of Tunisia has won four African Championships medals.

Russia switched their entry from the person who qualified the weight to 2021 European champion Stalvira Orshush, a two-time Junior World silver medalist who has competed in three Senior World Championships without a medal. The weight had been qualified by 2019 World bronze medalist Ekaterina Poleschuk.

2020 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix champion Namuuntsetseg Tsogt Ochir of Mongolia, 2017 Cadet World bronze medalist Lucia Yepez Guzman of Ecuador, 2017 Commonwealth champion Seema of India, and 2018 Youth African Games bronze medalist Sadijat Avorshai Idris of Nigeria wrap up the rest of this talented field.

Note: Starting July 9, USA Wrestling will be posting a weight class preview for the Olympic Games on a daily basis.

50 kg/110 lbs.

NO. 1 SEED - 2019 World champion – Azerbaijan (Mariya Stadnik)

NO. 2 SEED - 2019 World silver medalist – Romania (Emilia Vuc)

NO. 3 SEED - 2019 World fifth place – Ukraine (Oksana Livach)

NO. 4 SEED - 2019 World bronze medalist – Kazakhstan (Valentina Islamova Brik)

2019 World bronze medalist – Russia (Stalvira Orshush)***

2019 World fifth place –China (Sun Yanan)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – Cuba (Yuneylis Guzman Lopez)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – United States (Sarah Hildebrandt)

2021 European Olympic Qualifier champion – Bulgaria (Miglena Selishka)

2021 European Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Turkey (Evin Demirhan)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion – Tunisia (Sarra Hamdi)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Nigeria (Sadijat Avorshai Idris)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier champion – Japan (Yui Susaki)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Mongolia (Namuuntsetseg Tsogt Ochir)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier champion –India (Seema Seema)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier runner-up – Ecuador (Lucia Yepez Guzman)


2019 World Championships

50 kg/110 lbs. - Gold – Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan); Silver – Emilia Vuc (Romania); Bronze – Valentina Islamova Brik (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Ekaterina Poleschuk (Russia); 5th – Oksana Livach (Ukraine); 5th – Sun Yanan (China); 7th - Evin Demirhan (Turkey); 8th - Yuki Irie (Japan); 9th - Ellen Riesterer (Germany); 10th - Fredrika Ida Petersson (Sweden)

2018 World Championships

50 kg/110 lbs. – Gold- Yui Susaki (Japan); Silver – Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Oksana Livach (Ukraine); Bronze- Yanan Sun (China); 5th- Ritu Ritu (India); 5th – Kim Son-Hyang (North Korea); 7th - Kseniya Stankevich (Belarus); 8th – Fredrika Peterrson (Sweden); 9th – Narangerel Erdenesuhk (Mongolia); Oleksandra Kogut (Austria)

2017 World Championships

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold - Yui Susaki (Japan); Silver - Emilia Vuc (Romania); Bronze –Son-Hyang Kim (North Korea) ; Bronze – Evin Demirhan (Turkey); 5th - Victoria Anthony (United States); 5th - Violeta Chyryk (Belarus); 7th - Jasmine Mian (Canada); 8th – Anna Lukasiak (Poland); 9th - Julie Sabatie (France); 10th - Vinesh (India)

2016 Olympic Games

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver – Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Yanan Sun (China); Bronze – Elitsa Yankova (Bulgaria); 5th – Zhuidyz Eshimova (Kazakhstan); 5th – Patricia Bermudez (Argentina); 7th – Iwona Matkowska (Poland); 8th – Carolina Castillo Hildago (Colombia); 9th – Haley Augello (United States); 10th – Vinesh (India)

2015 World Championships

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver – Mariya Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Jessica Blaszka (Netherlands); Bronze – Genevieve Morrison (Canada); 5th – Hui Li (China); 5th – Valentina Islamova (Russia); 7th – Nataliya Pulkovska (Ukraine); 8th – Tatayana Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 9th – Alyssa Lampe (USA); 10th – Carolina Castillo (Colombia)

2014 World Championships

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver – Iwona Matkowska (Poland); Bronze – Mariya Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Kim Hyon Gyong (North Korea); 5th – Alyssa Lampe (USA); 5th – Emilia Vuc (Romania); 7th – Iulia Leorda (Moldova); 8th – Patricia Bermudez (Argentina); 9th – Jessica Blaszka (Netherlands); 10th – Mariana Munoz (Mexico)

2013 World Championships

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Silver - Mayellis Caripa Castillo (Venezuela); Bronze – Alyssa Lampe (USA); Bronze – Cheng Xu (China); 5th – Anna Lukasiak (Poland); 5th – Melanie LeSaffre (France); 7th – Tatyana Amanzhol (Kazakhstan); 8th – Pak Yong Mi (North Korea); 9th – Elena Vostrikova (Russia); 10th – Yana Stadnik (Great Britain)

2012 Olympic Games

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Hitomi Sakamoto Obara (Japan); Silver – Maria Stadnyk (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Clarissa Chun (USA); Bronze – Carol Huynh (Canada); 5th – Isabelle Sambou (Senegal); 5th – Irini Merleni (Ukraine); 7th – Iwona Matkowska (Poland); 8th – Vannesa Kaladzinskaya (Belarus); 9th – Otgontsetseg Davaasukh (Mongolia); 10th – Mayelis Caripa Castillo (Venezuela)

2012 World Championships

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Gold – Vanessa Kaladzynskaya (Belarus); Silver – Eri Tosaka (Japan); Bronze – Xiaomei Li (China); Bronze – Jaqueline Schellin (Germany); 5th – Tatyana Amanzhol-Bakatyuk (Kazakhstan); 5th – Patimat Bagomedova (Azerbaijan); 7th – Estera Dobre (Romania); 8th – Anna Lukasik (Poland); 9th – Clarissa Chun (USA); 10th – Davaasuren Bayarmagnai (Mongolia)