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|U.S. wins four Beach Wrestling bronze medals in Camyuva, Turkey|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
CAMYUVA, TURKEY - The United States won four bronze medals at the Beach Wrestling World Championships, the second event at the World Wrestling Games in Antalya, Turkey, September 8.
U.S. athletes who captured bronze medals included:
* Jeff Funicello (Mesa, Ariz./American Pankration) at the Men Under 85 kg/187.25 lbs. division
* Carlos Dolmo (Bronx, N.Y./Blast Double NY) at the Men Over 85 kg/187.5 lbs. division
* Bethany Harris (Valley Center, Calif./No Limits) in the Women's Under 70 kg/154 lbs. division
* Tanya Miyasaki (Kaneohe, Hawaii/Missouri Valley College) in the Women's Under 70 kg/154 lbs. division
For Dolmo, it was his second World medal of the week, after winning a bronze medal at the World Sombo Championships on Friday. Dolmo is the only athlete who competed in last year's World Beach Championships, placing fifth in this division last year.
This brings the U.S. total up to eight medals for the week, after capturing four medals in the Sombo World Championships on Friday.
"We had a few matches that could have gone either way, and we would have been in the finals," said U.S. coach Floyd Winter. "It was a better beach event this year. It is very tough to compete against the host team from Turkey, who can enter multiple athletes and has the home advantage. Our team showed great fight, camaraderie and sportsmanship."
Beach Wrestling matches are three minutes long, and the first athlete to score two points win the match. An athlete can score by getting a takedown, forcing his opponent out of bounds or knocking the rival to the ground.
Funicello had a great start, winning his first matches by identical 2-0 scores, stopping Bryce Santaniello of the United States and Kitaura Norohiko of Japan. In the semifinals, Funicello lost a competitive 0-2 match against Kataura Noriyuki of Japan, who went on to win the gold medal.
"It was a great experience. I am blessed to be here," said Funicello. "I know you can't let the matches be close. I am happy about the bronze medal. After all the years I have been involved, it is great to finally have a World medal. I have been around a long time, and it is a tremendous feeling to win this medal."
Dolmo opened his tournament with a 2-0 victory over Jeff Monson of United States, 2-0, scoring two points on pushouts. In the semifinals, Dolmo lost a controversial battle with Fatih Atli of Turkey, 1-2. There was a situation where Dolmo believes he forced his opponent out of bounds, and initially the bout was scored with Dolmo as the winner. After an intense discussion between the officials and coaches, officials scored the match at 1-1 and had the wrestlers continue to compete. Bas scored the next takedown for the win. The decision of the mat referee is final, and there is no protest procedure at this event.
"I thought I competed well," said Dolmo. "I am disappointed I didn't get the gold medal. In the semifinal match, I pushed him for the score. The ref didn't see it. We are competing on foreign soil and that is how it goes some time. In my mind, I am the World champion. I am very happy with how I competed. Overall our team had a successful day. The coaches helped us out, starting with my club coach Victor (Kupchynskyy), Coach (Floyd) Winter and the other coaches. I want to thank them for the great strategy and supporting us, as well as USA Wrestling for supporting all of us."
Harris opened her event with a victory over Jessica Ortiz of United States, 2-0. In the semifinals, she was defeated in a very competitive 1-2 match against Natalia Ivanova of Russia.
"I was really relaxed and pretty focused," said Harris. "I went out, did my best, and let God take care of the rest. I think it was a great experience. This is my first overseas trip. I thought it was fun, and a good spectator sport. It is fun to watch and to participate in,"
Miyasaki was in the top bracket and advanced into the semifinals, where she was defeated by eventual champion Margarita Montez of Spain, 1-2.
"I had a good draw. It was hard being the lightest in the weight class. It was difficult at times. This has been a good experience. I am excited about taking a bronze medal and representing the United States. This is an interesting sport," said Miyasaki.
FILA awarded two bronze medalists in each weight class, given to the losing athletes from the semifinals. FILA held a special match between the two bronze medalists. Two of the U.S. bronze medalists won that match. Dolmo beat Savas Bas of Turkey, 2-0 and Harris beat Miyasaki, 2-0. Funicello was beaten by Erhan Dik of Turkey, 1-2.
"What impressed me was Carlos Dolmo. He improved significantly from last year. He is with the best in the world among Beach wrestlers. Jeff Funicello is another one who had a close call and could have been in the finals. Our women had great courage. Some weighed much less than their opponents. We are right there. We need to let other athletes know that they should participate in this sport," said Winter.
The World Wrestling Games complete on Sunday with the historic first FILA World Grappling Championships. The United States has a large delegation of athletes in both the men's and women's divisions, with high expectations in the team race.
BEACH WRESTLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Camuyva, Turkey, September 8, 2007
Men's Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs.
Gold - Kataura Noriyuki (Japan)
Silver - Usman Majeed (Pakistan)
Bronze - Erhan Dik (Turkey)
Bronze - Jeff Funicello (United States)
Men's Over 85 kg/187.5 lbs.
Gold - Fatih Atli (Turkey)
Silver - Bayram Erkan (Turkey)
Bronze - Carlos Dolmo (United States)
Bronze - Savas Bas (Turkey)
Women's Under 70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold - Margarita Montez (Spain)
Silver - Natalia Ivanova (Russia)
Bronze - Brittany Harris (United States)
Bronze - Tanya Miyasaki (United States)
Men Under 85 kg/187.25 lbs.
Jeff Funicello, Mesa, Ariz. (American Pankration)
WIN Bryce Santaniello (USA), 2-0
WIN Kitaura Norohiko (Japan), 2-0
LOSS Kataura Noriyuki (Japan), 0-2
LOSS Erhan Dik (Turkey), 1-2
J.P. Reese, Lauderdale by the Sea, Fla. (Parkland Destructors)
LOSS Kataura Noriyuki (Japan), 1-2
Jake Bohn (Kentwood, Mich./unattached)
WIN Abdullah Ayak (Turkey), 2-1
LOSS Kataura Noriyuki (Japan), 2-0
Bill Cooper, Santa Barbara, Calif. (Paragon BJJ Academy)
LOSS Serhat Gokmen (Turkey), 0-2
Bryce Santaniello, Santa Ana, Calif. (No Limits)
LOSS Jeff Funicello (United States), 0-2
Men Over 85 kg/187.5 lbs.
Carlos Dolmo, Bronx, N.Y. (Blast Double NY), Bronze medal
WIN Jeff Monson (United States), 2-0
LOSS Fatih Atli (Turkey), 1-2
WIN Savas Bas (Turkey), 2-0
Rawle Shewprashad, New York, N.Y. (Blast Double NY)\
WIN Douglas Fournet (USA), 2-1
LOSS Savas Bas (Turkey), 1-2
Douglas Fournet, Denham Springs, La. (Gladiators Academy)
LOSS Rawle Shewprashad (USA), 1-2
Jeff Monson, Coconut Creek, Fla. (Victory Athletics)
LOSS Carlos Dolmo (United States), 2-0
Ramon Diaz, Testin, Calif. (No Limits)
WIN Kaltsidis Charalampos (Greece), 2-1
LOSS Erkan Bayram (Turkey), 0-2
Women Under 70 kg/154 lbs.
Bethany Harris, Valley Center, Calif. (No Limits), Bronze medal
WIN Jessica Ortiz (United States), 2-0
LOSS Natalia Ivanova (Russia), 1-2
WIN Tanya Miyasaki (USA), 2-0
Tanya Miyasaki, Kaneohe, Hawaii (Missouri Valley College), Bronze medal
LOSS Margarita Montez (Spain), 1-2
LOSS Bethany Harris (USA), 0-2
Jessica Ortiz, Vallejo, Calif. (Spartan WC)
LOSS Bethany Harris (United States), 2-0
Courtney Martell, New Haven, Vermont (Missouri Valley College)
LOSS Natalia Ivanova (Russia), 1-2