Two-time World Champs Sadulaev, Akgul Win First OG Gold Medals at Rio 2016

By William May

RIO DE JANEIRO (August 20) – Two-time world champions Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) and Taha AKGUL (TUR) won their first Olympic Games gold medals on Saturday, the second day of wrestling action at Rio 2016 Games.

Sadulaev defeated London 2012 gold medalist Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) in the 86kg semifinals at Carioca Arena 2 and then stopped Akgul’s teammate and world silver medalist Selim YASAR (TUR) for the gold medal.

It was Russia’s third gold medal in wrestling at Rio 2016, following victories in Greco-Roman by Roman VLASOV (75kg) and Davit CHAKVETADZE (85kg). 

In the bout, Sadulaev erupted for a takedown and gut wrench midway through the first period for a 5-0 lead and made stand throughout the remainder of the bout for the win.

Akgul, meanwhile, capped the evening session with a 3-1 win over Komeil GHASEMI (IRI) for the 125kg crown in a repeat of their 2014 world championship final – also won by Akgul, 4-3.

It was Turkey’s first gold medal of Rio 2016 in wrestling and fifth medal overall won at Carioca Arena 2 – following a silver and bronze in Greco-Roman. European champion Soner DEMIRTAS won the bronze medal at 74kg on Friday, the first night of freestyle finals.

In the super heavyweight showdown, Akgul earned a pair of points off the 30-second “shot clock” and added another step-out point off a leg-attack. In the closing seconds, Ghasemi received a penalty point when Akgul kept dancing away from making contact.

In the bronze medal matches at 86kg, Sharifov and Pedro CEBALLOS FUENTES (VEN) traded “shot-clock” points before the London 2012 gold medalist Sharifov secured a takedown and gut wrench in the final minute for a 5-1 victory.

In the final scramble of a wild seesaw bronze medal match, relative newcomer to the international scene J’den COX (USA) wrapped up a double-leg takedown and dumped Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB) to his hip.

The initial call on the mat was no points, but a video review of the action showed that Cox scored two points for a takedown. Salas Perez, however, refused to continue the bout and left the mat, resulting in his disqualification or in a “victory by withdrawal” by Cox at 5:54.

In the bronze medal matches at 125kg, Ibrahim SAIDOV (BLR) shot a head outside single-leg attack midway through the second period for a takedown and a 2-2 win over Levan BERIANIDZE (ARM). Saidov won by scoring the technique of higher value.

In the second final, European champion Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) scored a takedown off the whistle and wrapped Tervel DLAGNEV (USA) up for a 10-0 technical fall at 0:31.

Freestyle 86kg (19 entries)

Gold Medal Final

Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Selim YASAR (TUR), 5-0

Bronze Medal Finals
J’den COX (USA) df. Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB) by Withdrawal, 5:54 (3-1)

Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE), 8-1
Selim YASAR (TUR) df. J’den COX (USA), 2-1

Pedro CEBALLOS FUENTES (VEN) df. Istvan VEREB (HUN), 7-6 
Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB) df. Jaime ESPINAL (PUR), 6-4

Freestyle 125kg (20 entries)

Gold Medal Final
Taha AKGUL (TUR) df. Komeil GHASEMI (IRI), 3-1

Bronze Medal Finals
Ibrahim SAIDOV (BLR) df. Levan BERIANIDZE (ARM), 2-2
Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Tervel DLAGNEV (USA) by TF, 10-0, 0:31 

Taha AKGUL (TUR) df. Levan BERIANIDZE (ARM), 8-1
Komeil GHASEMI (IRI) df. Tervel DLAGNEV (USA) by TF, 10-0, 0:33

Ibrahim SAIDOV (BLR) df. JARGALSAIKHAN Chuluunbat (MGL), 4-1 
Korey JARVIS (CAN) df. Diaaelidin ABDELMOTTALEB (EGY), 7-0