By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Three-time Olympic medalist Maria Stadnik, who is the leader of the Azerbaijani women's wrestling team, has headed the global ranking of the United World Wrestling in the weight category up to 50 kg.
Despite the fact that Stadnik has not performed at international tournaments over the past few months, a victory at the licensed world championship in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) allowed her to keep the first place in the world ranking. She has 60 points and is six points ahead of Emilia Alina Vuc from Romania.
Note that competing in the freestyle (48 kg), Stadnik won gold at the 2008 European Championships in Tampere and bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Stadnik went on to win gold at the 2009 European Championships in Vilnius, the 2009 World Championships in Herning, the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, and the 2011 European Championships in Dortmund.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she was awarded the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Another Azerbaijani wrestler (of Bulgarian origin) Alice Manolova secured the third place, gaining 23 points in the 65 kg category.
At the same time, Azerbaijani representative Tatyana Omelchenko (59 kg) who ranked seventh with 16 points, entered the top 10 of the world ranking.
As for the freestyle wrestlers, champion of 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the bronze medalist of 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Sharif Sharifov (97 kg) took second place with 40 points.
Wrestling remains the most popular sport in Azerbaijan and is overseen by the National Wrestling Federation, which was established in 1993.
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro opened a new page in wrestling for Azerbaijan. The country became one of the only two nations ever to increase the number of medals achieved in five consecutive Games.
Azerbaijan left Rio de Janeiro with a total of 18 medals. Nine of these medals were gained by the national wrestling team.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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