Susceptible Russian Side Leaves Door Open for USA, Cuba and Mongolia
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 18:43 By Tim Foley
Men’s Freestyle World Cup: Group A Preview
LOS ANGELES (April 8) – Without a single World or Olympic medalist on the roster for the 2015 United World Wrestling World Cup team, fans looking to see the dominance of the Russian Federation at this weekend’s World Cup at the Forum in Los Angeles, California, might have to wait.
The 2014 Word Cup finalists won’t be the heavy favorites many wrestling fans may have expected after the country’s dominant performance at last year’s United World Wrestling Championships.
One of the most successful wrestling nation in Olympic history, the Russian Federation won five of the eight gold medals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan at September’s World Championships and placed first as a team in freestyle. With none of those champions traveling to Los Angeles, Group A squads Mongolia, Cuba and the United States have the opportunity to upend the Russians and move into Sunday’s gold medal finals.
Maybe the biggest threat to Russian dominance are the host Americans, who have two Olympic gold medalists from London in their lineup, Jake VARNER (97kg) and Jordan BURROUGHS (74kg). Burroughs has won three world titles and won a bronze in Tashkent, while Varner failed to place.
Also looking to help the U.S. in its quest for a 14th team title will be Olympic bronze medalist Coleman SCOTT (65kg) along with world No. 8 Brent METCALF (65kg) who earned a runner-up finish earlier this year at the Yarygin Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Clayton FOSTER (86kg), who ranks No. 10 in the world, will likely split mat time with Ed RUTH (86kg), a member of the 2014 U.S. world team.
While the Americans are hoping for expected outcomes from seasoned veterans, the Russians are hoping for exceptional output from young performers.
Israel KASUMOV (70kg) has seen plenty of success on the mats, winning the 2014 Yarygin Grand Prix and earning a bronze medal in the 2015 edition. A former world No. 1, Kasumov is currently ranked No. 8 at 70kg.
Akhmed CHAKLAEV (65kg), ranked 16th in the world, was second in the 2009 Yarygin Grand Prix and won bronze in the 2014 Ivan Yarygin. He was the 2011 and 2013 Ramzan Kadyrov Cup champion in Russia and the 2013 International Ukrainian Tournament champion.
Russian upper weight and 2010 World University champion Yuri BELONOVSKI (97 kg) comes to Los Angeles ranked No .13 in the world.
The Cubans, who’ve won two World Cup titles in freestyle, bring a loaded squad of world and continental medalists to the Forum. Highlighting the island nation’s pool of medalists is 74kg star Livan LÒPEZ, who earned bronze at the 2012 Olympics, a silver medal in Tashkent, and bronze medals at the 2011 and 2014 World Championships
Three-time World medalist Reineris SALAS PEREZ (86 kg) and 2014 bronze medalists Yowlys BONNE RODRIGUEZ (61kg) and Javier CORTINA LACERRA (97kg) are also expected to take the mats.
Mongolia will be led by 2014 World bronze medalist ENKHSIAKN Nyam-Ochir (61kg) ranked No. 5 in the world, and 2014 world bronze medalist GANZORIG Mandakhnaran (65kg) who comes in ranked sixth.
Talented youngster and 2013 Junior world silver medalist BATBOLD Nomin is expected to compete at 57kg and is ranked 13th in the world.
Saturday, April 11 (All Times Listed are Pacific Standard Time)
3:00 p.m. – Mat A: USA vs. Cuba; Mat B: Iran vs. Belarus
4:30 p.m. – Mat A: Russia vs. Mongolia; Mat B: Azerbaijan vs. Turkey
6:15 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
6:30 p.m. – Mat A: USA vs. Russia; Mat B: Iran vs. Turkey
8:00 p.m. – Mat A: Mongolia vs. Cuba; Mat B: Belarus vs. Azerbaijan
Sunday, April 12
11:00 a.m. – Mat A: USA vs. Mongolia; Mat B: Turkey vs. Belarus
12:30 p.m. – Mat A: Azerbaijan vs. Iran; Mat B: Cuba vs. Russia
2:00 p.m. – Mat A: Fifth Place Dual; Mat B: Seventh Place Dual
4:15 p.m. – Mat A: Third Place Dual
5:45 p.m. – Mat A: Championship Dual