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26 Aug 2014
Nanjing 2014 , YOG , IOC News

Bullen and Shisterova in frantic freestyle finale

The wrestling programme at Nanjing 2014 came to a frantic finish on 26 August, with the final pair of gold medal bouts taking up less than two minutes.

In the penultimate match-up of the session, Grace Jacob Bullen (NOR) took victory in the 60kg in one minute, 11 seconds.

However, that high-speed victory was positively pedestrian compared to the 35 seconds it took Russia’s Daria Shisterova to defeat Tugba Kilic (TUR) and win the 70kg freestyle gold.

“I cannot believe it yet that I’m the champion. It happened so fast,” said Shisterova, who started out competing in the Russian martial art of Sambo before switching to wrestling three years ago.

Despite her impressive victory, Shisterova admitted that she had not strictly followed her pre-match instructions. “My coach said fight your own fight, do not rush, do it step by step”, revealed the 17-year-old. 

World cadet silver medallist Natalia Strzalka (POL), one of the pre-Games favourites who lost in the qualifying pool, claimed the bronze.

Norway's Grace Bullen celebrates her success in the 60kg final

In the 60kg final, powerful Norwegian Bullen made short work of Pei Xingru (CHN). Already leading 4-0 one minute into the bout, the 17-year-old world and European cadet champion tossed the less experienced Pei to win 10-0.

“It's amazing. I'm really pleased with what I've done, because it was difficult to get the audience to be with me, in China, competing against someone from China”, said Bullen, who moved from Sudan to Norway at the age of five.

“Growing up in Norway gave me so many different perspectives on how to become a good person,” said Bullen. “For me, I was this person from another place and now I can show them that I'm not just this kid from a place that wasn't that good. I can show them I can do something better with my life. This is not just a medal for Norway; I feel it is also for my home country [Sudan].”

World cadet silver medallist Koumba Larroque (FRA), who lost to Bullen in the preliminaries, won the bronze medal.

In the women’s 52kg, top contender Mayu Mukaida (JPN), a two-time world cadet champion, defeated Leyla Gurbanova (AZE) 9-3. “It was so difficult to control my nerves for this final match,” admitted the Japanese wrestler.

Gurbanova took the silver, while Olena Kremzer (UKR) won the bronze.

In another intense final, Kim Sonhyang (PRK) defeated Dulguun Bolormaa of Mongolia in the 46kg class.

Kim,17, was leading 8-0 in the first period, but Bolormaa fought back strongly before losing 9-5.

Following her team-mate Ri Seung’s win in the men’s Greco-Roman, Kim made it two out of two gold medals for wrestlers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The bronze medal went to Tatiana Doncila (MDA).

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