Returning champs, new faces in freestyle kick off Wrestling World Championships after sport regains olympic status
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 15:19 By Tim Foley
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (September 11) – Defending champions Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) and Mehdi TAGHAVI KERMANI (IRI) lead an elite group of medalists into Papp Laszlo Budapest Sports Arena as men’s freestyle kicks off the Wrestling World Championships on September 16 in the sport’s pinnacle event of the year, eight short days after Wrestling was welcomed back into the Olympic Program.
The IOC voted to add the sport to the 2020 and 2024 Games on September 8 in Buenos, Aires, after an Executive Board decision on February 12, had recommended dropping the sport from the Games after 2016.
TAGHAVI KERMANI, world champion in 2009 and 2011, will lead off the weeklong tourney on the first day of the championships battling a host of challengers at 66kg.
BURROUGHS, the only London 2012 gold medalist in men’s freestyle, will close out the men’s freestyle competition at 74kg on September 18, when the women’s freestyle events also get under way.
Meanwhile, another Olympic Games gold medalist Khadshimourad GATSALOV (RUS), who won at 96kg in 2004, will be trying on a new weight category – 120kg, which is scheduled for the second day of matches.
In addition to his gold medal from Athens, GATSALOV is also a four-time world champion at 96kg. Other world champions, in addition to TAGHAVI KERMANI and BURROUGHS, in Budapest are: YANG Kyong Il (PRK, 55kg), Sushil KUMAR (IND, 66kg) and Khetag GAZUMOV (AZE, 96kg).
The 84kg weight category, to be contested September 17, boasts three former world champions among its entries: Zaurbek SOKHIEV (UZB) in 2009, Ibragim ALDATOV (UKR) in 2007 and Nicolai PASLAR (BUL), who won his world title in 2001 at 69kg.
In addition to the returning Olympic and world medalists, a number of promising new faces – like junior world finalists Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO, FS 120kg), Yu MIYAHARA (JPN, FW 51kg) and Daniel GASTL (AUT, GR 96kg) -- will also be appearing in the senior world championships for the first time.
The championships will feature the three Olympic styles of wrestling – men’s freestyle (September 16-18), women’s freestyle (September 18-20) and Greco-Roman (September 20-22).
Brief sketches of the individual categories in men’s freestyle:
55kg –European champion Giorgi EDISHERASHVILI (GEO) tops the most recent edition of the FILA World Rankings, but Vladislav ANDREEV (BLR) won the Ziolkowski tourney in August and Nariman ISRAPILOV (RUS) won the World University Games in July.
ISRAPILOV is getting his first chance at the senior world championships, even though he was junior world champion in 2008 and European champion in 2009. YANG Kyong Il (PRK) won the world title in 2009 and is the only medalist (bronze) from the London 2012 Olympic Games competing at 55kg in Budapest.
60kg – Universiade champion Bekhan GOYGEREEV (RUS) and 2011 world silver medalist Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR) arrived late to the scene but have surged in the rankings. GOYGEREEV won the Russian nationals in June and the Universiade, while GOMEZ MATOS prevailed in Spain and Poland.
Current rankings leader Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) was the silver medalist at 55kg in London, won Yasar Dogu in February and defeated GOMEZ MATOS in May to win the Golden Grand Prix event in Sassari, Italy.
NOTE: GOYGEREEV became a Youtube sensation in July with his unbelievable backflip counter attack to a single-leg takedown attempt by Behnam EHSANPOOR (IRI) at the Universiade.
66kg – Magomed KURBANALIEV (RUS), last year’s junior world champion, defeated David SAFARYAN (ARM) in the final of the World University Games to take the top spot in the rankings from the European champion.
Brent METCALF (USA) owns a semifinal win over KURBANALIEV at the Ivan Yarygin tourney in January, 2-1 (0-1, 5-0, 7-0) under the old rules, while defending world champion Mehdi TAGHAVI KERMANI (IRI), with only limited mat time this summer, has a World Cup win over METCALF.
74kg – Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) took the world championship title from two-time defending champ Denis TSARGUSH (RUS) in 2011 and brings a streak of 60 wins in a row, including the Olympic gold medal, to Budapest.
TSARGUSH, who also lost to BURROUGHS in London, rebounded at the University Games in July with a gold medal, but is ranked second on Russia’s entry list for the world championships behind newly crowned national champion Kakhaber KHUBEZHTY (RUS).
84kg – Dato MARSAGISHVILI (GEO), a world and Olympic bronze medalist, took the European championship title in Tbilisi in March and has topped the rankings all summer as many would-be challengers took time away from competition -- apparently to focus on training.
Murad GAIDAROV, a bronze medal winner in Beijing, won the German Grand Prix; Georghita STEFAN (ROU) held on for the Universiade crown; and newly minted middleweight Aleksander GOSTIEV (AZE) won the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland on his second try at 84kg.
96kg – Abdusalam GADISOV (RUS) looked convincing in winning the Universaide crown in July with a technical fall triumph over European champion Pavlo OLEYNIK (UKR). But, GADISOV is listed No.2 behind national champion Anzor BOLTUKAEV (RUS) as Russia’s entry in the world championships.
London 2012 bronze medalist Khetag GAZUMOV (AZE) defeated Olympic gold medalist at 84kg Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) on his way to the Spanish Grand Prix title and Beijing silver medalist Taimura TIGIEV (KAZ) tagged OLYEYNIK with a technical fall in Poland in the final their tune-up for Budapest.
120kg – Taha AKGUL (TUR) has turned away all comers in 2013, racking up four tournament titles and top individual honors at the World Cup. Alan ZASEEV (UKR), meanwhile, finished second to AKGUL at the European championships and has collected three silver medals this season.
In a surprise move, Russia has entered four-time world champion at 96kg Khadshimourad GATSALOV (RUS) at 120kg. Meanwhile, Kurban KURBANOV (UZB), fifth in London at 96kg, appears comfortable at 120kg with a pair of podium finishes this year and three-time Olympic champion Artur TAIMAZOV (UZB) as his coach.
Schedule for the Wrestling World Championships
September 16, Monday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FS 55kg, 66kg, 96kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FS 55kg, 66kg, 96kg
September 17, Tuesday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FS 60kg, 84kg, 120kg
7 p.m. – 7 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FS 60kg, 84kg, 120kg
September 18, Wednesday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FS 74kg, FW 48kg, 51kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FS 74kg, FW 48kg, 51kg
September 19, Thursday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FW 55kg, 59kg, 63kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FW 55kg, 59kg, 63kg
September 20, Friday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FW 67kg, 72kg, GR 55kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FW 67kg, 72kg, GR 55kg
September 21, Saturday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: GR 60kg, 84kg, 96kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: GR 60kg, 84kg, 96kg
September 22, Sunday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: GR 66kg, 74kg, 120kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: GR 66kg, 74kg, 120kg