Wrestler Epp Mäe went out in the opening bout at the 2023 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, leaving her needing to find other routes for potential qualification at next year's Paris Summer Olympics.
Mäe, ranked third in the tournament, lost to six-time world champion Adeline Gray (U.S.) 11-0 in the women's freestyle 76kg category.
Mäe's coach, Ahto Raska, said it had been "A very difficult day. The draw already showed that Epp's half of the table had been the stronger one, and her first opponent was already a six-time world champion."
"Things would hardly have gotten easier even if [Epp] had won, as a very strong Japanese wrestler was awaiting her in round two (2022 world championship bronze winner Yuka Kagami – ed.)."
"It proved fatal for Epp to submit during the first period and while on the mat. She tried to get out of that, but once she had stood up the score was already 10:0 against her, so unfortunately the match was over," Raska went on.
"As far as I remember, Epp has never faced such a tough opponent in the opening round of the title competition before," Raska added.
Mäe still is in with a shot at the Paris Olympics via the European and world championship qualification tournaments next year. Finalists in the European qualification event book a ticket to Paris, while the top three at the world championships qualifiers can go through.
"Now, let's go home and get some rest. We have to prepare wisely for next season," coach Raska said.
Mäe, 31, took silver at the 2021 world championships, and gold at the European championships in the same year.
Editor: Alvar tiisler, Andrew Whyte
Source: ERR Sport