Stig-André Berge (38) stays awake at night thinking about the World Cup in Oslo, which marks the point of his career. Grace Bullen (24) is Norway’s biggest medal hope, but meets the world champion in the first match.
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– The World Championship wrestling has been a little curse for Norway, but it is clear that there will be a downturn if we run out of a medal in Oslo, says Ove Gundersen, editor of Wrestling magazine. The edge of the carpet, to VG.
Because apart from Stig-André Berge’s bronze at the World Cup in 2014, we have to go back to Jon Rønningen and his bronze at the World Cup in 1991 to find the previous medal.
– Now Grace Bullen is the most important candidate for the medal. He showed very good pace in the last Olympic qualifying, says Gundersen, adding:
– Of course there are more who can get a flap in this championship, but Norway has been hit hard by the crown with heavy training restrictions relative to competitors.
No gold favorites
The men’s team coach Fritz Aanes is a sober optimist.
– There are a lot of young athletes, with the exception of Stig-André, so for several in the team, this championship is about gaining experience, says Aanes to VG.
– Is it realistic with medals?
– Yes, but none of the guys on the squad is a gold favorite. The hope is that some of them will fight for medals.
Dirty tricks on the wrestling mat – watch the video with detailed explanations:
The best hope for gold is therefore on the side of women. The bull will be in action at Nye Jordal Amfi next Wednesday, and a possible final in the 59kg category will take place on Thursday night. She herself is clear about the goal:
– I have trained hard and well this summer and I have my expectations. It is a medal to which I have aimed. No matter what the draw looks like, for my part I might as well have stiff opposition in the first game and go “straight to the point,” Bullen told VG before the draw.
It will be “straight to the point” for Bullen, who will face reigning world champion Linda Morais in the opener on Wednesday morning. If the bull wins, there will be a showdown against the Indian Sarita Sarita in the quarterfinals.
Already on Tuesday, the other two World Cup participants lost in the first match. Ramona Eriksen lost 4-8 to Romanian Emilia Alina Vuc in the quarterfinals of the 50kg category, while Iselin Solheim smoked 2-14 to Ukrainian Anastasia Osnijach Shustova in the 76kg category standings.
Eriksen had a chance to fight for a place in the bronze final if Vuc makes it to the final, but he made it to the semi-finals.
Heavy medal candidate
The male wrestlers will start from Thursday. Then it’s Snorre Harsem Lund (55kg), Håvard Jørgensen (72kg), Exauce Mukubu (77kg) and Per Anders Kure (82kg) who are going through the opening battles.
Mukubu, 20, recently won silver in the junior WC, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for.
On Friday, the “greats” Marcis Worren (97 kg) and Oskar Marvik (130 kg) will play the preliminary matches. Ove Gundersen believes that Marvik, nicknamed “Tåsenplogen,” can sniff out medals.
– I have had a very good race and I will be able to fight for the medals. Before Olympic qualification I got the crown, but now I’m in good shape again, Marvik tells VG.
Saturday can be a very emotional day. Then Berge will fight in the 63-pound class, and it could be the super veteran’s last day of competition in his career. If you get a full flap, the final will be Sunday night.
– In wrestling, there are small margins, and you can break the “hat and butt” in the first fight. You shouldn’t think about medals in the first match, then you’ll get out quickly, Berge tells VG.
Bryte-Berge’s moving tribute to Mom: – Thinking of her every day
Learned from Olympic failure
At a pre-championship press conference, the 38-year-old said he woke up in the middle of the night and thought about the World Cup in Oslo.
– What are you lying and dreaming about?
– Of course on a packed arena where I can crown my career with … a good result.
– Why don’t you mean the word medal or gold?
– No, it’s a bit like having concentration. I participated in two Olympic Games in which I always talked about medals and I did not manage to overcome the first match even once. There are such small margins, and if you focus too far forward, it’s too easy, says Berge, who took an impressive Olympic bronze in 2016.
Stig-André Berge on the future: – Scary
– Realistic to win a medal.
Ruben Elisa Been (87 kg) and Morten Thoresen (67 kg) will also compete on Saturday. Thoresen is the current European champion and has the level to fight at the top.
– I really want to put a good line in this season, which has not been so pleasant, says Thoresen who, like the rest of the team, has had a very difficult time due to coronary restrictions.
The dream of an Olympic ticket was broken, and now it is a good World Cup that is applied.
– On a good day, it is realistic to win a medal, and that is why I participate. I have no other goal, because I dedicate so much time and soul to wrestling that only one medal counts, says the 24-year-old.