The second and final group of US women hit the mat Thursday in search of hardware at the 2023 U23 World Championships in Tirana, Albania. The team’s most experienced and accomplished team members, Amit Elor and Macey Kilty, ultimately shined the brightest and are still alive in the tournament.
In addition to the final five women starting their tournaments, two others who were in action yesterday wrapped up theirs in gold medal matches. Unfortunately, both Audrey Jimenez (50 kg) and Kennedy Blades (76 kg) would have to settle for silver. Jimenez was injured in the semifinals and was unable to compete in today’s final against Japan’s Umi Ito.
Blades trailed by a slim 3-2 margin at the break, but was on the wrong end of a second-period surge from India’s Reetika Hooda. About a minute into the second period, Hooda used a counterattack to take a more comfortable 5-2 lead. Along the way, Hooda would add a pair of points via step out and another takedown from an errant Blades shot to win 9-2.
From the crop of women whose tournament started today, only Amit Elor advanced to tomorrow’s gold medal match. Elor only needed a stunning :35 seconds to get through her first two matches, both of which ended via fall. In the semifinals, against Poland’s Wiktoria Choluj, Elor got on the board with a first-period takedown after stuffing a half-shot from Choluj. That was all the advantage that Elor needed; however, she added a step-out point later in the first period after shooting Choluj out of bounds. Late in the first, Elor snapped Choluj down and spun for a second takedown and a 5-0 lead. No points were scored in the second stanza resulting in an Elor victory. She is just one match away from winning three age-group titles in back-to-back years. So far, in 2023, Elor has won the U20 and Senior World Championships.
Elor will meet India’s Jyoti Berwal in tomorrow’s gold medal match.
The United States' other semifinalist, Kilty, notched falls in her first three matches, setting up a contest against 2021 World Champion Irina Ringaci (Moldova). Kilty got the scoring started as she dropped to a single leg after a throw-by attempt from Ringaci. The American deftly avoided a crotch lift attempt and was able to convert the takedown. Kilty nearly had a second takedown, but Ringaci was able to threaten with a crotch lift, then spun for a takedown of her own.
Later in the first, Ringaci got to her offense; however, Kilty nearly sat the corner for her takedown. As Kilty readjusted, Ringaci did the same, switching to a double leg and a takedown. She’d lead 4-2 after one period.
Early in the second period, Ringaci added to her lead with a step out, as she was pursuing a takedown. At around the 1:00 mark, Kilty got in on Ringaci’s legs and the pair got into an extended flurry. After many close calls, Kilty finally got a takedown with :29 remaining in the match. She quickly transitioned to a leg lace but wasn’t able to add any points from exposure. That left the American down by a point at 5-4.
After a restart with :20 left in the contest, a visibly tired Ringaci dove in on Kilty’s legs and held the position for the final :15 seconds, which resulted in a win for the Moldovan star.
Kilty will drop to a bronze medal match tomorrow and await the winner between Turkey’s Busra Efe and India’s Monika.
Xochitl Mota-Pettis, at 57kg, will compete tomorrow in repechage, as well.
Gold Medal Match - Umi Ito (Japan) over Audrey Jimenez (USA) Injury Default
Round of 16 - Beatrice Ferent (Romania) over Katie Gomez 2-1
Round of 16 - Sara Natami (Japan) over Xochitl Mota-Pettis Fall 5:05
Qualification: Agaugo Nwachukwu over Ameyalli Jessel Rojas (Mexico) 6-2
Round of 16 - Irina Kuznetzova (Kazakhstan) over Agaugo Nwachukwu 12-0
Qualification: Macey Kilty over Gilbery Garcia Franco (Venezuela) Fall 1:30
Round of 16: Macey Kilty over Kseniya Tsiarenia (Belarus) Fall 1:49
Quarterfinals: Macey Kilty over Amina Capezan (Romania) Fall 1:11
Semifinals: Irina Ringaci (Moldova) over Macey Kilty 5-4
Round of 16: Amit Elor over Zanieb Sghaier (Tunisia) Fall :17
Quarterfinals: Amit Elor over Viktoryia Radzkova (AIN - Belarus) Fall :18
Semifinals: Amit Elor over Wiktoria Choluj (Poland) 5-0
Gold Medal Match: Amit Elor vs. Jyoti Berwal (India)
Gold Medal Match: Reetika Hooda (India) over Kennedy Blades 9-2