Hellen Marolis en route to gold in the under 53kg division ©UWW/Martin Gabor

Russia, China and United States each claimed two gold medals on a day of women's action at the United World Wrestling (UWW) Golden Grand Prix Final at the Baku Sports Hall in Azerbaijan, while Hungary and Estonia added one win apiece. 

In another high quality day of action on the mat, US world champion Helen Maroulis delivered one of the most eyecatching performances in the under 53 kilograms division. 

Fighting at a slightly lower weight than in the under 55kg event in which she won her world title in Las Vegas in Sepetember, the 24-year-old edged Sweden's under 53kg world silver medallist Sofia Mattson by a narrow 2-1 scoreline.

Extra significance was added because the under 55kg event is a non-Olympic one, meaning she still requires qualification points to gain an under 53kg slot at Rio 2016.

Fighters from four different continents featured on the medals podium, with third place shared between Nigeria's Odunayo Adekuoroye and China's Zhong Xuechun.

Maroulis' fellow world champion Natalya Vorobieva will have no such problems qualifying for the Olympics after defeating another Swede in 2012 world champion Jenny Fransson in the under 69kg division.

The London 2012 champion won by a 4-1 margin to continue her superb form in the second half of the season, as Germany's Aline Focken and Japan's Rio Watari each won their respective bronze medal bouts. 

Natalya Vorobieva (right) winning her quarter-final en route to her under 69kg title ©UWW/Facebook
Natalya Vorobieva (right) winning her quarter-final en route to her under 69kg title ©UWW/Facebook

In the absence of many of their leading names, Japan failed to reach a single final and had to be content with four bronze medals.

On a good day for Asian rivals China, LI Hui overcame Azerbaijan's Natalya Sinishin to win the under 55kg event, before continental champion Luo Xiaojuan defeated Allison Ragan of the US at under 60kg.

Former world bronze medalist Emese Barka of Hungary won perhaps the most entertaining final of the day, overturning a six-point deficit in the first period to beat Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan.

A four-point counter to a leg attack helped engineer a 12-10 triumph in the under 58kg final, as Kazakhstan's Aiym Abdildina and Sweden's Johanna Mattsson, the sister of Sofia, each took bronze. 

Estonia's Epp Mae also battled from behind in the under 75kg final for a 4-4 win on the criteria tie breaker rules after world runner-up Zhou Qian bear-hugged to her back early in the day’s finale.

Russia's Ekaterina Bukina and Spain's Maider Unda each took bronze. 

Russia's second title came courtesy of Valentina Islamova in the lightest under 48kg division.

She beat The Netherlands' Jessica Blaszka, 2-1 in the final, as Poland's Iwona Matkowska and Japan's Miho Igarashi secured bronzes. 

Valentina Islamova (left) won gold in the under 48kg final ©UWW/Facebook
Valentina Islamova (left) won gold in the under 48kg final ©UWW/Facebook

Elena Pirozhkova won the under 63kg final to earn a second title of the day for the US, beating Taybe Yusein of Bulgaria, 4-3.

Anastasija Grigorjeva and Russia's Valeria Lazinskaya won the two battles for bronze.

Action will continue in the Azerbaijani capital tomorrow with the men's Greco Roman divisions. 

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