Azerbaijan's Mariya Stadnyk earned the first women’s wrestling gold the European Games as she stormed to victory in the women’s 48 kilogram freestyle division here tonight.
Her opponent, Bulgaria's Elitsa Yankova, had earlier exuberantly celebrated her progress to the final but the 20-year-old was unable to make much on an impression against an opponent who, rather than suffering from nerves in front of a passionate home support, thrived on it.
Stadnyk had been racking up the points in the first of the two periods and sealed the contest early in the second by extending her lead to 12-1, the contest automatically coming to an end when a wrestler has moved 10 points clear.
It was the Azeri’s turn to celebrate wildly as Stadnyk was lifted above her coaches’ head and held her national flag high, much to the delight of an Arena already on its feet.
President Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva were in attendance to watch Azerbaijan's Flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony deliver the country's seventh gold medal of the Games.
Russia’s Valentina Islamova Brik earned the bronze in the same manner as Stadnyk, ending her contest with Germany’s Jaqueline Schellin quickly.
Poland’s Iwona Matkowska had a 8-0 margin of victory over France’s Julie Sabatie to earn the second bronze.
Sofia Mattsson then earned Sweden their first gold medal of these inaugural European Games with victory in the 55kg divisionl.
The final a near replica of the opening gold medal match, as the 2013 and 2014 European champion moved into a 12-1 advantage over Poland’s Katarzyna Krawczyk to draw an end to the contest.
There was also another medal for Azerbaijan as Natalya Sinishin stopped her bout with Ukraine’s Tetyana Kit early to take bronze.
Evelina Nikolova of Bulgaria completed the podium by fighting back from 8-2 down against Russia’s Irina Ologonova to draw level, lodging a successful appeal after falling behind in the final stages to claim a 9-8 win for bronze.
Russia’s dominant record in gold medal matches was brought to an end by Hungary’s Marianna Sastin in the 60kg division as she sealed a 7-0 victory over Svetlana Lipatova,.
Bulgaria’s Taybe Yusein and Belarus’ Vernaika Ivanova added to their country’s medal tallies, beating Ukraine’s Oksana Herhel 5-0 and Lithuania’s Giedre Blekaityte 6-2 respectively to claim the bronze medals.
Ukraine’s first gold medal of the European Games came through Alina Stanik Makhynia as she won a closely fought 69kg freestyle final with Israel’s Ilana Kratysh 7-3.
Aline Focken secured bronze for Germany by overcoming Austria’s Martina Kuenz 5-0 and Natalia Vorobeva added Russia’s ninth wrestling medal of the tournament, earning a comprehensive 8-0 win over Greece’s Maria Louiza Vryoni.
June 2015: Russia earn two Greco-Roman wrestling golds at Baku 2015 as hosts win again
June 2015: Russia bag gold medal hat-trick on opening day of Baku 2015 Greco-Roman wrestling action