Becka Leathers wins bronze at 2017 World Championships
By Gary Abbott | USA Wrestling
PARIS, France – Olympic champion Helen Maroulis (New York, N.Y./Sunkist Kids) added to her legacy among the greats in American wrestling, claiming her third straight World or Olympic gold medal with a victory at 58 kg/128 lbs. at the World Championships at the AccorHotels Arena on Wednesday.
She dominated 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Marwa Amri of Tunisia in the finals, showing spectacular technique on the way to an 11-0 technical fall in the gold-medal finals.
The gold medals were all at different weight classes, with a World gold medal in 2015 at 55 kg/121 lbs., an Olympic gold medal at 53 kg/116.5 lbs. in 2016 at the Rio Games, and now a 2017 World gold medal at 58 kg/128 lbs.
Maroulis had one of the most dominant performances in American history, not allowing a single point in five matches while earning five technical falls with a combined 53-0 score.
In the finals, right off the bat, Maroulis hit an inside trip on Amri and dropped her to back, almost securing a quick fall. That move opened the floodgates, as Maroulis followed with a takedown, then forced a stepout for a 7-0 lead. She added another takedown and closed out the technical fall with a gutwrench turn.
It was Maroulis’ fifth career World or Olympic medal, to go along with her 2016 Olympic gold, 2015 World title, 2012 World silver medal and 2014 World bronze medal.
Maroulis tore up the field in the morning session, scoring four technical falls and outscoring her opponents 42-0 in the matches. The opponents she dispatched were Hanbit Kim of Korea, Elin Nillson of Sweden, Yessica Ovieda Perez of the Dominican Republic and Michelle Fazzari of Canada in order.
One of the greatest women’s college wrestlers, Maroulis was a four-time WCWA national champion, winning three for Simon Fraser and one for Missouri Baptist.
2015 Junior World bronze medalist Becka Leathers (Choctaw, Okla./Titan Mercury WC) won her first Senior World medal on her first try, defeating 2017 European champion Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria) in the 55 kg/121 lbs. bronze-medal bout, 4-2.
In the first period, Leathers was put on the shot clock, but quickly responded with a takedown and a turn for a 4-0 lead. In the second period, Leathers was put on the shot clock again, but this time could not score, making the score 4-1. In the closing seconds, Dudova forced Leathers to step out, making the final score 4-2 in favor of Leathers.
An age-group star out of Choctaw, Okla., Leathers won a WCWA college national title for Oklahoma City as a freshman. She has since become a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.
This morning, Leathers opened with a pin over Ramona Galambos of Hungary, but was beaten in her second match by 2016 Cadet World champion Haruna Okuno of Japan, 8-0. When Okuno reached the finals, Leathers was drawn back into repechage, where she registered a 13-2 technical fall over Carola Rainero of Italy to reach the medal rounds.
The other two U.S. wrestlers competing on Wednesday finished 0-1 and were not eligible for repechage: Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Victoria Francis (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC) at 75 kg/163 lbs. Both were competing in their first Senior World Championships.
An update of the other finals will be posted when they are completed. Quotes from the American athletes and coaches will also be added.
At Paris, France, August 23
55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Haruna Okuno (Japan)
Silver – Odunayo Adekuoroye (Nigeria)
Bronze – Becka Leathers (United States)
Bronze – Irina Kurachkina (Belarus)
5th – Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria)
5th – Mathilde Riviere (France)
7th – Mariia Gurova (Russia)
8th – Davaachimeg Erkhembayar (Mongolia)
9th – Lalita (India)
10th – Marina Sedneva (Kazakhstan)
Gold – Haruna Okuno (Japan) dec. Odunayo Adekuoroye (Nigeria), 5-4
Bronze – Irina Kurachkina (Belarus) dec. Mathilde Riviere (France), 9-1
Bronze – Becka Leathers (United States) dec. Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria), 4-2
58 kg/128 lbs.
Gold – Helen Maroulis (United States)
Silver – Marwa Amri (Tunisia)
Bronze – Michelle Fazzari (Canada)
Bronze –Aisuluu Tynybekova (Kyrgyzstan)
5th – Ningning Rong (China)
5th – Elin Nilsson (Sweden)
7th – Yessica Oviedo Perez (Dominican Republic)
8th – Iryna Khariv (Ukraine)
9th – Aminat Adeniyi (Nigeria)
10th – Giedre Blekaityte (Lithuania)
Gold – Helen Maroulis (United States) tech. fall Marwa Amri (Tunisia), 11-0
Bronze – Michelle Fazzari (Canada) dec. Elin Nilsson (Sweden), 7-0
Bronze –Aisuluu Tynybekova (Kyrgyzstan) dec. Ningning Rong (China), 6-5
63 kg and 75 kg to come
U.S. women’s performances
55 kg/121 lbs. – Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC), bronze medal
WIN Ramona Galambos (Hungary), pin
LOSS Haruna Okuno (Japan), 8-0
WIN Carola Rainero (Italy), tech. fall 13-2
WIN Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria), 4-2
58 kg/127.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids), gold medal
WIN Hanbit Kim (Korea), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Elin Nilsson (Sweden), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Yessica Ovieda Perez (Dominican Republic), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Michelle Fazzari (Canada), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Marwa Amri (Tunisia), tech. fall 10-0
63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), dnp/14th
LOSS Blessing Oborududu (Nigeria), 10-2
75 kg/165 lbs. – Victoria Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC), dnp/13th
LOSS Gulmaral Yerkebayeva (Kazakhstan), 10-3