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Wrestling at the 2012 London Summer Games:

Women's Lightweight, Freestyle

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): ExCeL, Newham, London
Date Started: August 9, 2012
Date Finished: August 9, 2012
Format: Single elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.

Gold: JPN Saori Yoshida
Silver: CAN Tonya Verbeek
Bronze: COL Jackeline Rentería
AZE Yuliya Ratkeviç


[Hitomi Obara] and [Kaori Icho] had lived up to their status as favorites by winning gold in the flyweight and middleweight divisions respectively on the opening day of women’s wrestling at the 2012 Olympics. Japan looked to continue its dominance in the sport on day two, this time with [Saori Yoshida] in the 55 kg division, a competitor whose record was formidable. She had won the event in every World Championship, Asian Games, and Olympic tournament since 2002 and, as the sport had been introduced at the Olympics only in 2004, this meant she was the only Olympic champion. She met Canada’s [Tonya Verbeek] in the final, runner-up at the 2004 Olympics and the most recent World Championships and bronze medalist at the 2008 Games and the 2005 and 2009 World Championships. In the final, however, Yoshida was simply the better wrestler, outscoring her opponent 3-0 and 2-0 to claim her third Olympic crown.

The first bronze medal bout was perhaps the most evenly matched of all the medal rounds, pitting [Tetiana Lazareva] of Ukraine, whose best international finishes were gold at the 2001 and 2002 European Championships and silver at the 2000 and 2008 World Championships, against [Jackeline Rentería] of Colombia, winner of her nation’s first Olympic wrestling medal with a bronze from 2008 to add to her victory at the 2007 Pan American Games. Lazareva made it to the bronze medal match by defeating [Geeta Geeta] of India in the repêchage round, whose presence was notable as the first Indian competitor in Olympic women’s wrestling. In the bronze medal match, Lazareva took an early lead by scoring one point in the first round to win it but, in a scoreless second period, was unable to convert her advantage in the par terre to points. The led to a third round where the Colombian was able to score two points in the final ten seconds and clinch the bronze. The final podium spot was all but a foregone conclusion, with 2009 World and 2011 European Champion in the non-Olympic 59 kg class [Yuliya Ratkeviç] of Azerbaijan facing rookie [Valeriya Zholobova] of Russia. Ratkeviç was also the runner-up in the lightweight division of the 2010 World Championships and the advantage of her experience was immediately evident as she scored six points on, and nearly pinned, Zholobova before the first round was over. In the second period, each was able to shove the other out of the ring for one point, but the Azerbaijani scored a final point in the last ten seconds and earned her bronze medal.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Saori Yoshida 29 Japan JPN Gold
2 Tonya Verbeek 34 Canada CAN Silver
3T Jackeline Rentería 26 Colombia COL Bronze
3T Yuliya Ratkeviç 27 Azerbaijan AZE Bronze
5T Valeriya Zholobova-Koblova 19 Russia RUS
5T Tetiana Lazareva 31 Ukraine UKR
7 Sofia Mattsson 22 Sweden SWE
8 Marwa Amri 23 Tunisia TUN
9 Lissette Antes 21 Ecuador ECU
10 Han Kum-Ok 24 North Korea PRK
11 Olga Butkevych 26 Great Britain GBR
12 Joice Silva 29 Brazil BRA
13 Geeta Phogat 23 India IND
14 Eom Ji-Eun 25 South Korea KOR
15 Maria Prevolaraki 20 Greece GRE
16 Rabab Eid 21 Egypt EGY
17T Kelsey Campbell 27 United States USA
17T Sündeviin Byambatseren 22 Mongolia MGL
19 Marcia Andrades 29 Venezuela VEN