European Wrestling Championships, Italy finishes with 3 bronzes: tenth continental podium for Chamizo

In Bucharest, Frank Chamizo in the 79 kg free, Enrica Rinaldi in the women’s 76 kg and Danila Sotnikov in the 130 kg Greco-Roman climb on the podium

Chiara Soldi

The European Wrestling Championships concluded over the weekend, held from 12 to 18 February in Bucharest (Romania) and a fundamental step for the wrestlers who are preparing for the qualifying tournaments for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Italy returns home with 3 medals, all bronze, thanks to the performances of Danila Sotnikov in the Greco-Roman (130 kg), Enrica Rinaldi in the women’s (76 kg) and Frank Chamizo in free wrestling (79 kg).


Frank Chamizo never gives up. And he continues to add medals to his cabinet. The one conquered in Bucharest is the tenth continental one for the blue which now has 4 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze (of which one silver won at the European Games in Baku 2015, valid as the continental event of that year). A loot that establishes him as one of the most successful Italian fighters in history. The Italian-Cuban competed in the -79 kg freestyle, a non-Olympic category and a new choice for the Italian at the European Championships, winning 3 matches before the stop: in the round of 32 he beat the Serbian Hetik Cabolov 2-1 , in the round of 16 he overcame the Estonian Erik Reinbok with a clear 6-0, and finally eliminated the Azerbaijani Orkhan Abasov 6-5 in the quarterfinals. In the semi-final Chamizo then gave way to the Belarusian Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov: competing as an independent neutral athlete and already reigning Olympic vice champion in the -74 kg category (it was he who overtook Chamizo in the semi-final at Tokyo 2020), he dominated the match by prevailing 4-0. The Italian then made up for it in the bronze final, winning 5-1 over the Turkish Ramazan Sari.


The other two Italian joys came from Enrica Rinaldi and Danila Sotnikov. The 25-year-old from Romagna, already a European bronze medalist in Budapest 2022, started her competition in the 76 kg with success through technical superiority over the Polish Daniela Tachuk, and then beat the host Catalina Axente in the quarter-finals (1-1). For her too, the stop came in the semi-final, defeated 3-0 by the Ukrainian Anastasiia Shustova. The European podium comes after the beautiful 5-2 victory over Lithuania’s Kamile Gaucaite in the bronze final. A different path instead for Danila Sotnikov in the 130 kg Greco-Roman event: the Italian, already a continental silver medalist in 2022, immediately ran into the tough Russian Sergei Semenov (competing as an independent neutral athlete), twice Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, then gold medal in Bucharest. Sotnikov didn’t throw in the towel, on the contrary, the following day he reset everything, giving a string of applause-worthy successes: in the repechages he beat, in order, the Russian Dzmitry Zarubski (competing as an independent neutral athlete) 4-2, the Lithuanian Mantas Knystautas with 4-1 and in the final the Georgian, Olympic vice champion, Iakobi Kajaia with 9-3.