If there is a perfect way to debut at a tournament, Aleksandr KOMAROV (RUS) demonstrated it on Friday.
Wrestling for the first time at an U23-level tournament, the former cadet and junior world champion dominated his way into the final, establishing himself as the wrestler to beat at 87kg in the future.
He led three Russians in the finals as Greco-Roman wrestling began on Friday at the U23 European Championships in Skopje, North Macedonia.
Sweden and Armenia managed to enter two wrestlers each into the final while Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan also got one each in Saturday’s final at the Jane Sandanski Arena.
Russia, Turkey and Armenia had entered four wrestlers each in the semifinal but only Russia managed to advance three while the other two fell behind.
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Komarov was slow to start in the semifinal against Muhutdin SARICICEK (TUR) and was put in par terre after being called passive. But Saricicek failed to take advantage of the position. The Russian then got a takedown to lead 2-1 at the break.
Saricicek was penalized for his passivity and Komarov used his strength to gut-wrench him from the par terre position. His three rolls gave him six points and a 9-1 win.
In the morning session, Komarov notched up two victories by technical superiority but was checked by junior world champion Istvan TAKACS (HUN) in the quarterfinal. The Russian managed to win 4-1.
In the final, junior European champion Temur TCHKUASELIDZE (GEO) will challenge Komarov. The Georgian is yet to concede a point in the tournament and has outscored his opponents 28-0.