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Women wrestlers Wong and Murata win twice to reach quarterfinals at World Wrestling Championships; F

Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

The U.S. women's freestyle wrestling team had a strong start in their first session of competition at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, September 28.

Winning their first two matches to advance to the quarterfinals were Jenny Wong (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. and Stephanie Murata (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.

Wong opened with a hard-fought decision over Dashdavaa Baasanjargal of Mongolia, 2-3, 2-0, 3-0. Baasanjargal hit a three-point arm spin in the first period and held off a Wong attack to win it 3-2. In the second period, there was no scoring and Wong was in the defensive position from the leg clinch. Wong hit a two-point crotch lift counter to win that period. In the third and deciding period, Wong scored a takedown, then added a two point exposure defending an attack for the 3-0 victory.

In the second round, Wong again needed three period to defeat Francine DePaola of Italy, 2-0, 0-2, 5-1. She scored two takedowns in the first period, but gave up two takedowns in the second period. In the closing period, with the score tied 1-1, Wong hit a three-point reverse body lock to open a lead she never gave up.

In the quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon, Wong faces Japan's Makiko Sakamoto. Wong was a 2003 World bronze medalist competing up at 51 kg.

Murata, a 2001 World silver medalist, won two matches with dominance. She stopped Emese Szabo of Hungary, 4-0, 3-0 in the first round, then pinned Nurzat Shaylobaeva of Kyrgyzstan in 42 seconds in the second round.

Murata scored a pair of two-point exposures in the first period against hometown favorite Szabo, then added a takedown and a turn to capture the second period. Against Shaylabaeva, Murata took her down on a double leg attack straight to her back, held her for an additional backpoint, then secured the fall.

Murata will face Canada's Erica Sharp in the quarterfinals in the evening session.

The final weight class in men's freestyle is being contested at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. U.S. wrestler Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) was defeated in his first bout by 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Aydin Polatci of Turkey, 1-0, 0-1, 5-1.

After the first period ended scoreless, Polatci scored a single leg takedown from the clinch position to win that period 1-0. Thompson came back with a takedown of his own with 20 second left in the second period to win it 1-0. In the deciding third period, Polatci hit a three-point front headlock throw for a 3-0 lead, then after a Thompson takedown, hit a two-point turn from the front headlock for the 5-1 margin of victory.

Polatci won his second round match and has advanced to the quarterfinals. Under the new rules of wrestling, Thompson will be eligible for the wrestleback rounds only if Polatci is able to advance to the gold-medal finals.

All three weight divisions will be completed on Wednesday evening. Three more women's weight classes will weigh in today and compete on Thursday, 55 kg, 59 kg and 63 kg.
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