Zahid Valencia Earns Junior World Silver Medal; USA wins freestyle team title at Junior World Championships




Tampere, Finland – The Arizona State rising sophomore Zahid Valencia (Pico Rivera//Sunkist Kids) added a silver medal to his already long resume as he finished second at 84-kg at the 2017 Junior World Championships. Valencia began the tournament by competing against his old nemesis Gadzhimura Magomedsaidov of Azerbaijan in the second round. Magomedsaidov defeated Valencia last year in the quarterfinal round of the Junior World Championships. This time it wasn’t to be the case as Valencia cruised to an 11-2 victory. Valencia then went on to obtain two technical falls to advance to the finals. He defeated Cheolyeon Lee (Korea) 10-0 in just 50 seconds, and 2016 Cadet World champion Deepak Puniac (India) 11-0 to set up the monstrous match against Artur Naifonov of Russia. Valencia felt short of his goal as he dropped a close 7-5 match.

Team USA made history as they edge Russia by one point for its first Junior men’s freestyle World team title since 1984. Overall the U.S. collected seven medals, including three gold, three silver, and one bronze.

Team results
1. USA – 68
2. Russia – 67
3. Iran – 49
4. Turkey – 36
5. Azerbaijan – 34
6. Armenia – 32
7. India – 27
8. Georgia – 26
9. Mongolia – 25
10. Germany – 15