By Gary Abbott
NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – Adeline Gray has made history, winning a U.S. record fifth Senior World Championships gold medal with a victory at 76 kg/167.5 lbs. at the World Wrestling Championships on Thursday.
Gray (Denver, Colo./New York AC) wrestled a smart match, defeating two-time World bronze medalist Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki of Japan in the gold-medal final, 4-2.
Suzuki scored first, when Gray was placed on the shot clock and did not score in the required 30 seconds. However, late in the first period, Gray converted a double leg takedown and added a two-point tilt, to lead 4-1 at the break. In the second period, Gray controlled the action and no points were scored until there was three seconds to go and Suzuki forced a step out. Time quickly went away, and Adeline Gary was World champion once again.
She has surpassed U.S. superstars John Smith, Tricia Saunders and Jordan Burroughs, who were tied with her with four Senior World golds going into this week. Burroughs will compete at the World Champoionships on Friday and Saturday, with a goal of winning his fifth and catching back up to Gray.
Gray has now won World titles in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019, and World bronze medals in 2011 and 2013.
On Wednesday, Gray had already qualified the United States for the 2020 Olympics at this weight class by reaching the semifinals. The top six athletes in each Olympic weight class qualify their nation for the Tokyo Games.
Gray reached the finals with four impressive wins on Wednesday. She opened with three dominant 10-0 technical falls, powering through Eleni Pjollaj of Italy, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Elmira Syzdykova of Kazakhstan and two-time Junior World medalist Hui Tsz Chang of Chinese Taipei. In the semifinals, she won a strategic battle against 2014 World champion Aline Rotter Focken of Germany, 5-2.
Gray is a native of the Denver, Colo. area and spent many years as a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.
Gray became the second U.S. woman to win a World gold medal this year, joining Jacarra Winchester (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC/OTC), who won the World title at 55 kg/121 lbs. on Wednesday. Team USA has a chance for a third gold medal on Friday, as Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC/USOPTC) will compete in the finals at 68 kg/149.75 lbs.
Forrest Molinari (Iowa City, Iowa/Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC) placed fifth at 65 kg/143 lbs., losing in her bronze-medal match to Xiaoqian Wang of China in a 10-0 technical fall. Wang scored the initial takedown, then turned Molinari four consecutive times to secure the victory in the first period.
It was the second straight year that Molinari was fifth in the World Championships at 59 kg, also taking fifth at the 2018 Worlds in Budapest, Hungary.
On Wednesday, Molinari pinned Thi Vinh Nguyen of Vietnam in 2:41 then shut out two-time World bronze medalist Malin Johanna Mattsson of Sweden, 3-0. In the semifinals, she was edged by 2018 U23 World bronze medalist Iryna Koliadenko of Ukraine, 6-5
A California native, Molinari was a WCWA national champion at King University. She trains with the Hawkeye WC in Iowa City, Iowa.
The United States was in fourth place after the first eight weight classes with 72 points. Japan is in first with 112 points, Russia in second with 108 points and China in third with 112 points. The USA is the only nation in the top five to have a finalist on Friday, and Mensah-Stock is guaranteed 20 team points as a finalist. It will be highly difficult for the USA to crack into that top three, regardless.
WORLD WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, September 18
Group 2 women’s freestyle results
57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Gold – Risako Kawai (Japan)
Silver – Ningning Rong (China)
Bronze – Odunayo Adekuoroye (Nigeria)
Bronze – Iryna Kurachkina (Belarus)
5th – Jowita Maria Wrzesien (Poland)
5th – Anastasia Nichita (Moldova)
7th – Simonyan (Russia)
8th – Giullia Rodriguez Penalber de Oliveira (Brazil)
9th – In Sun Jong (North Korea)
10th – Grace Bullen (Norway)
Gold – Kawai dec. Rong, 9-6
Bronze – Adekuoroye tech. fall Nichita, 10-0
Bronze – Kurachkina dec. Wrzesien, 4-0
59 kg/130 lbs. –
Gold – Linda Morais (Canada)
Silver – Liubov Ovcharova (Russia)
Bronze – Shoovdor Baatarjav (Mongolia)
Bronze – Xingru Pei (China)
5th – Pooja Dhanda (India)
5th – Anhelina Lysak (Ukraine)
7th – Tetiana Omelchenko (Azerbaijan)
8th – Yuzuka Inagaki (Japan)
9th – Sandra Paruszewski (Germany)
10th – Elif Yanik (Turkey)
Gold – Marais pin Ovcharova, 2:15
Bronze – Baatarjav pin Lysak, 3:38
Bronze – Pei dec. Dhanda, 5-3
65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold – Inna Trazhukova (Russia)
Silver – Iryna Koliadenko (Ukraine)
Bronze – Elis Manolova (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Xiaoqian Wang (China)
5th – Forrest Molinari (USA)
5th – Yuliana Yaneva (Bulgaria)
7th – Aina Temirtassova (Kazakhstan)
8th – Kadriye Aksoy (Turkey)
9th – Malin Johanna Mattsson (Sweden)
10th – Bolortuya Khurelkhuu (Mongolia)
76 kg/167.5 lbs. –
Gold – Adeline Gray (USA)
Silver – Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki (Japan)
Bronze – Aline Rotter Focken (Germany)
Bronze – Epp Maee (Estonia)
5th – Qian Zhou (China)
5th – Elmira Syzdykova (Kazakhstan)
7th – Hui Tsz Chang (Chinese Taipei)
8th – Alla Belinksa (Ukraine)
9th – Erica Wiebe (Canada)
10th – Kamile Gaucaite (Lithuania)
Gold – Gray dec. Suzuki, 4-2
Bronze – Maee dec. Zhou, 6-4
Bronze – Rotter Focken dec. Syzdykova. 3-0
U.S. Women’s freestyle Group 2 performances
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Jenna Burkert, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), dnp/15th
WIN Lenka Hockova Martinakova (Czechia), 8-0
LOSS Marina Simonyan (Russia), pin 3:38
59 kg/130 lbs. – Alli Ragan, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids/Hawkeye WC), dnp/13th
LOSS Anzehlina Lysak (Ukraine), pin 1:34
65 kg/143 lbs. – Forrest Molinari, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC), 5th place
WIN Thi Vinh Nguyen (Vietnam), pin, 2:41
WIN Malin Johanna Mattsson (Sweden), 3-0
LOSS Iryna Koliadenko (Ukraine), 6-5
LOSS Xiaoqian Wang (China), tech fall 10-0
76 kg/167.5 lbs. – Adeline Gray, Denver, Colo. (New York AC), gold medal
WIN Elani Pjollai (Italy), tech. fall 10-0, 2:00
WIN Elmira Syzdykova (Kazakhstan), tech. fall 10-0, 2:50
WIN Hui Tsz Chang (Chinese Taipei), tech. fall 10-0, 4:58
WIN Aline Rotter Focken (Germany), 5-1
WIN Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki (Japan), 4-2
Team Standings after first eight weight classes
1. Japan, 112
2. Russia, 108
3. China, 102
4. United States, 74
5. Ukraine, 74