Maroulis edges legendary Yoshida for women's wrestling gold

2016-08-18 23:59:25 GMT2016-08-19 07:59:25(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- It could be called the end of an era when American Helen Maroulis beat legendary Japanese wrestler Saori Yoshida to claim the women's freestyle 53kg title at the Rio Olympic Games here on Thursday.

Maroulis, 24, dashed Yoshida's dream of winning her fourth Olympic title and became the first-ever Olympic champion in women's wrestling for the United States.

"I've been dreaming about wrestling Saori for so long. She's a hero. She's the most decorated wrestler in the sport. It's such an honour to wrestle her," said Maroulis.

The 33-year-old Yoshida, 13-time world champion, started the final with a 1-0 lead but Maroulis came back in the second period, ducking under a Yoshida headlock attempt and scoring a takedown to go up 2-1. Then she attacked Yoshida and scored another takedown to go up 4-1, and held on for the victory.

Hands in the air, Maroulis stood there in disbelief after the final as Yoshida curled on the mat crying unstoppably.

In the bronze medals matches, world No.2 Sofia Mattsson of Sweden, a six-time world medalist, defeated Chinese Zhong Xuechun while Natalia Sinishin of Azerbaijan edged Betzabeth Arguello Villegas from Venezuela 2-1.

In the 63kg, Risako Kawai clinched Japan's 4th gold medal in wreslting in Rio after she cruised to a 6-0 shutout victory over Maryia Mamashuk of Belarus.

Monika Michalik of Poland defeated Russian Inna Trazhukova for the bronze medal while Yekaterina Larionova from Kazakhstan took the other, pushing aside 2012 world champion Elena Pirozhkova of the United States.

The women's 75kg title went to Canadian Erica Wiebe who shut out 38-year-old Guzel Manyurova of Kazakhstan 6-0. It was Wiebe's first world-level medal, and it came in the form of an Olympic gold.

World No.5 Ekaterina Bukina from Russia overcame Annabel Laure Ali of Cameroon 5-3 for the bronze while 2013 world champion Zhang Fengliu topped Belarus' Vasilisa Marzaliuk 8-4 to take China's second wrestling medal in Rio.