Nikita Kletskov was one of four gold medallists for Russia on the opening day of the World Sambo Championships, winning the men's 68kg category ©FIAS

Russia gave an early indication of their superiority by winning four of the nine gold medals available on the opening day of the World Sambo Championships here.

Anastasiia Shinkarenko set the Russians off on the winning trail with a 2-0 success against Belarus' Katsiaryna Prakapenka in the women’s 60 kilogram final as Cameroon’s Paule Sitcheping and Georgia’s Shorena Sharadze came away with the bronze medals.

Compatriot Nikita Kletskov swiftly doubled Russia’s gold medal tally thanks to a 7-1 victory over Azerbaijan’s Emil Hasanov in the men’s 68kg showdown with Uzbekistan’s Sarbon Ernazarov and Georgia’s Levan Nakhutsrishvili rounding off the podium.

A hat-trick of golds was achieved when Alsim Chernoskulov got the better of Ukraine’s Ivan Vasylchuk in the final of the men’s 90kg category, which saw Belarus’ Andrei Kazusionak and Germany’s Helge Molt share third place.

And Russia’s evening of dominance was completed by Vadim Nemkov, who beat Ukraine’s Anatolii Voloshynov with an early clean throw to top the combat men’s 100kg podium, which also featured bronze medallists Islomjon Azimov of Uzbekistan and Atanas Dzhambazov of Bulgaria.

Despite losing to Russia in two finals, Ukraine did manage to take top honours in the women’s 72kg class as Nataliya Smal eased to a 7-0 triumph against Romania’s Madalina Pantea, who had to settle for silver with Belarus’ Krystsina Zhukavets and Russia’s Anna Zhizhina in third.

Alsim Chernoskulov (blue) brought up Russia's hat-trick of gold medals by overcoming Ukraine's Ivan Vasylchuk in the men's 90kg final
Alsim Chernoskulov (blue) brought up Russia's hat-trick of gold medals by overcoming Ukraine's Ivan Vasylchuk in the men's 90kg final ©FIAS

There was further heartache for Ukraine though in the combat men’s 57kg final with Bohdan Babenko suffering a knock-out defeat at the hands of Bulgaria’s Marko Kosev to condemn him to the runners-up spot ahead of Armenia’s Ernest Hayrapetyan and Turkmenistan’s Ahmet Tanriberdiyev.

The day’s first final produced a gold medal for Venezuela’s Maria Guedez at the expense of fellow women’s 48kg competitor Aigul Baikuleva of Kazakhstan, whose compatriot Beimbet Kanzhanov came from behind against Armenia’s Tigran Kirakosyan to win the men’s 52kg final 4-2 with a 20-second hold down.

The women’s 48kg bronze medals went to Turkmenistan’s Arzuv Yalkapova and Russia’s Mariiia Molchanova, while the third step of the men’s 52kg podium was shared by Russia’s Valerii Soronokov and Uzbekistan’s Sattor Ergashev.

Also among the gold medals on the opening day of action was Uzbekistan, claiming top honours in the combat men's 74kg category through Istam Kudratov after a fiery encounter with Kazakhstan’s Temirlan Ikhsangaliev ended 2-1. 

Ukraine’s Vadym Burchak was one of the two bronze medallists along with Russia’s Bair Omotkuev.

After day one, Russia’s four golds see them comfortably top the medal standings while three silvers for Ukraine and two for Kazakhstan, added to their sole golds, put them second and third respectively.

A further nine sets of medals will be handed out tomorrow with the women’s 52kg, 64kg and 80kg categories taking centre stage along with the men’s 57kg, 74kg and 100kg, and combat men’s 62kg, 82kg and over 100kg.

Prior to this evening's finals, a short Opening Ceremony took place during which International Sambo Federation President Vasily Shestakov and vice-president Dalil Skalli, who is also President of the African Sambo Confederation and the Moroccan Sambo Federation, were among the speakers.

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