Russia, Armenia, Ukraine take gold at European Wrestling Championships

2013-03-19 17:00:12 GMT2013-03-20 01:00:12(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Russia, Armenia and Ukraine on Tuesday struck gold on the first day of the 2013 European Wrestling Championships which drew some 500 wrestlers from across the continent.

Valeriya Chepsarakova won the first gold at stake for Russia at the six-day championships by defeating Yana Stadnik of Britain in the women's 48-kilogram category.

In the ensuing men's freestyle wrestling, Devid Safaryan of Armenia beat Yakup Gur of Turkey to win the 66-kilogram category while Pavlo Oliiniyk of Ukraine defeated Kamil Stanislaw Skaskiewicz of Poland to win the 96-kilogram category.

In all, 14 gold medals are on offer for men and seven gold medals are on offer for women competitors.

It was the first time for Georgia to host the European Wrestling Championships and it was also the biggest ever sporting event held in the South Caucasus country since its independence.

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is the patron of this year's European championships which feature men's freestyle and Greco-Roman style and women's wrestling.

Georgia, a traditional nation of wrestling, collected one gold, three silver and two bronze medals from last year's European championships.

Russia finished atop all participating countries at last year's championships with five gold, two silver and eight bronze medals, followed by Ukraine with a medal tally of four gold, as many silver and three bronze.

Azerbaijan and Armenia, also former Soviet republics, also won gold medals at the 2012 European championships.

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