Lopez-Kayaalp Setup Semifinal Showdown at #WrestleTokyo
Sunday, August 1, 2021 - 05:31 By Vinay Siwach
In what will be their third meeting at the Olympics, Mijain LOPEZ (CUB) and Riza KAYAALP (TUR) set up a semifinal clash on the first day of wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics Sunday.
Three-time Olympic champion Lopez is in a quest to become the first male wrestler to win four gold medals at the Olympics but he has to beat three-time world champion Kayaalp in the semifinal at 130kg in the evening session at the Makuhari Messe Hall A, Chiba.
Sunday, the first day of wrestling at this Olympics, saw Greco-Roman wrestling at 60kg and 130kg while women's wrestling began with 76kg.
Lopez marked a return to international wrestling after a gap of two years with a stunning 9-0 win over Alin ALEXUC CIURARIU (ROU) and followed that with another technical superiority win over Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI). Both his bouts ended before the allotted six minutes.
Kayaalp was little slower to begin with. He took his time in the first bout against Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU), winning 5-1 after six minutes. Eduard POPP (GER) scored two points against Kayaalp but that was not enough as the Turkey wrestler won 6-2.
In the other semifinal, Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI) booked up a bout against Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), who stunned Sergei SEMENOV (ROC) 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
Both wrestler got one point each for passivity but Kajaia managed to score two points from the par terre position while Semenov did not.
Acosta handed a 2-0 defeat to Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) in the quarterfinal and will now look to book his first-ever Olympic final spot later in the evening.
More upsets followed at the 60kg weight class as former world champion Sergey EMELIN (ROC) suffered a tight 4-3 loss to Luis ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) in the quarterfinals.
He will face Victor CIOBANU (MDA) in the semifinal. Ciobanu was in some serious form Sunday as he took out U23 world champion Kerem KAMAL (TUR) 8-0 in the first bout. He followed that up with a 9-0 thrashing of another U23 world champion Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) in the quarterfinal.
Home favorite Kenchiro FUMITA (JPN) made it to the semifinal as well and will face Lenur TEMIROV (UKR). Fumita had a close 1-1 win over Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) in the quarterfinal, winning on criteria as he had the last point.
Temirov defeated Armen MELIKYAN (ARM) 8-4 in the quarters after a powerful back-arch throw which gave him four points. Melikyan's loss ended the Olympics for second seed Ali Reza NEJATI (IRI).
In the women's matchups, five-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) is on her path for her first Olympic gold medal as she overcame Zaineb SGHAIER (TUN) with a first-period fall and survived a scare against Yasemin ADAR (TUR) in the quarters. Gray had three takedowns to lead 6-0 but gave up a takedown and leg lace which made it 6-4. Adar went for another lace but the referee called it out of bouds. Gray will face Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) in the semifinal.
Medet Kyzy had a dominant first session as he beat Rio Olympic medalist Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) 8-1 and then humbled Rio silver medalist Natalia VOROBIEVA (ROC) 12-0 in the quarterfinal with three four-point throws.
Vorobieva began her day with 16-12 win over Samar HAMZA (EGY) which left bout wrestlers out of breath. It need the ROC athlete a big four with less than 30 seconds left to win the bout.
On the other side of the bracket, defending Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) will go home withouta medal from Tokyo as Epp MAEE (EST) defeated her in the opening round before losing to world silver medalist and local wrestler Hiroe MINAGAWA (JPN) 0-3 in the quarterfinal.
Minagawa will face Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER) in the semifinal as she put on a clinical performance to reach the last four. Focken used a takedown to win 2-1 against Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) in the first round before handing an 8-3 defeat to Qian ZHOU (CHN).