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U.S. Women Wrestlers Assured of Medals

September 14, 2003 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ The United States women’s wrestling team assured itself a medal in every weight class by winning two third-place matches Sunday at the World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling.

Both United States men’s semifinalists advanced to the finals, which are scheduled for Sunday night. With wins Saturday, the American men qualified for five of seven Olympic divisions.

Jenny Wong and Sally Roberts each won bronze medals after losing their semifinal matches earlier in the day. Women’s wrestling will be an Olympic event for the first time at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and the Americans have four wrestlers in the finals of the four weight classes that will be featured: Patricia Miranda at 105 pounds, Tina George at 121, Sara McMann at 139 and Tocarra Montgomery at 159. Kristie Marano will also compete for the World title at 148.

The World Championships is a qualifying event for the 2004 Olympics, and the top 10 men and top five women of each Olympic weight class qualify their nation for the games.

Cael Sanderson beat Georgia’s Revaz Mindorashvili in the semifinals of the 185-pound division, while Kerry McCoy pinned Iran’s Ali Reza Rezai to advance to the finals of the 265-pound class.

Other women’s bronze medalists included China’s Li Hui in the 105, Russia’s Natalia Golts at 121, Canada’s Viola Yanik at 139, Russia’s Svetlana Martynenko at 148 and China’s Wang Xu at 159.

Men’s bronze medals included Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zakharuk at 121, Korea’s Jae Myung Song at 132, Japan’s Ikematsu Kazuhiko at 146, Kazakhstan’s Gennadiv Laliyev at 163, Mindorashvili at 185, Bulgaria’s Krassimir Simeonov Kotchev at 211 and Rezaei at 265.