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Russians unbeaten in 50 Sambo match-ups

BESTPIX Sambo Day 10: Baku 2015 - 1st European Games
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 22: Azamat Sidakov of Russia (blue) and Stsiapan Papou of Belarus (red) compete during the Men's Sambo -74kg semi finals during day ten of the Baku 2015 European Games at the…
Azerbaijan and Belarus also look strong going into finals

All their rivals said beforehand that Russia would have the strongest team in Sambo and they were proved right as 50 bouts went by before a Russian athlete ended on the losing side.

Azerbaijan and Belarus also enjoyed plenty of success in the first session, while  competitors from Serbia, Ukraine and Bulgaria will also have a chance for gold in Monday evening’s finals.

Fifty of the first session’s 56 pre-repechage bouts went by before any of Russia’s eight competitors lost. Surprisingly, they then lost two more semi-finals and will have ‘only’ five finalists, three men and two women.

Azerbaijan have four finalists, three of whom must beat a Russian if they are to win gold. One of those three, the men’s heavyweight (+100kg) Vasif Safarbayov, will need the performance of a lifetime to take first place. He faces Artem Osipenko, the reigning world champion who won his semi-final in 17 seconds and looks almost unbeatable.

The home nation’s best prospect is their own world champion at -74kg, Amil Gasimov, who faces the Belarusian Stsiapan Papou.

There was an outstanding performance by Ivana Standric of Serbia, who comfortably won her -68kg semi-final against Russia’s Olga Zakhartsova. Standric, who will be 22 on Saturday, faces Volha Namazava, one of four finalists from Belarus.

Only one of those four faces a Russian tonight and Belarus will have high hopes of gold, most notably through Tatsiana Matsko in the -64kg class.

The most distraught semi-final loser was Romania’s Daniela Hondriu, who questioned a refereeing decision and left the mat in tears after being beaten by Bulgaria's Kalina Stefanova.

The finals begin at 19:00, at the Heydar Aliyev Arena


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    Russia and Belarus dominate Sambo medals

    Eight wins in eight medal fights for formidable five-gold Russia
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    Russians unbeaten in 50 Sambo match-ups

    Azerbaijan and Belarus also look strong going into finals
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