Vladimir Khinchegashvili earned gold in the men's 61kg freestyle event ©UWW

Georgia’s Vladimir Khinchegashvili stepped up a weight division but proved unfazed by the challenge of the 61 kilogram freestyle competitors as he secured gold at the European Wrestling Championships in the Riga Arena.

The 24-year-old, a gold medallist at the 2015 World Championships at 57kg, found himself facing the reigning 67kg world champion Haji Aliev of Azerbaijan after the two men had progressed to the semi-final stage.

Khinchegashvili was narrowly behind after the early stages of the contest but was able to achieve a takedown to help him claim a 4-2 victory.

It set up a gold medal clash against Belarus’ Georgi Kaliev, which ultimately was a one sided affair as Khinchegashvili controlled the bout to seal a 6-1 win.

Aliev bounced back from his semi-final defeat to beat Armenia’s Volodya Frangulyan 7-0 in the first bronze medal tie and Romania’s Ivan Guidea earned a technical fall win over Ukraine’s Petr Bileichuk to seal a podium spot.

An Azeri wrestler would also be forced to settle for a minor medal in the 74kg event as Yabrail Hasanov fell to a narrow defeat over Turkey’s Soner Demirtas.

The Turk scored a point in both halves on the contest and then kept his opponent at arms reach for the remainder of the bout, with only a penalty reducing his winning margin to 2-1.

Georgia’s Yakob Makarashvili and Russia’s Zaur Makiev both secured bronze medals, earning technical fall wins over Bulgaria’s Miroslav Kirov and Poland’s Andrzej Sokalski respectively.

Turkish wrestlers secured double gold on the third day of competition at the European Championships in Riga ©UWW
Turkish wrestlers secured double gold on the third day of competition at the European Championships in Riga ©UWW

There was further Turkish delight in the women’s 75kg event, as Yasmine Adar cruised to a 7-0 victory over Russia’s Alena Starodubtseva to win the gold medal.

World Championship bronze medallist Vasilisa Marzaliuk secured another podium finish, with the Belorussian defeating Moldova’s Svetlana Saenko 5-0.

Ukraine’s Alla Cherkasova was even more dominant in her bronze medal tie, defeating Poland’s Daria Osocka by a technical fall verdict.

Cherkasova’s team-mate Tatyana Kit fell at the final stage of the 55kg competition, Russia’s Irina Ologonova winning the title by earning a 6-4 victory in the final.

Hungary’s Ramona Galambos defeated Romania’s Simona Pricob by a technical fall to claim the first bronze medal and Poland’s Roksana Zasina beat Belarus’ Zalina Sidakova 8-1 to take the other podium spot.

Action is due to continue in Riga tomorrow.