World Refugee Day 2021

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (June 20) — Today, in cooperation with UNHCR and the International Olympic Committee, United World Wrestling stands together with refugees across the world in raising awareness for those who continue to preserve while searching for a brighter future -- including wrestling’s own Aker AL-OBAIDI.

Last week, Al-Obaidi was named to the IOC Refugee Team for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Iraqi-refugee currently resides and wrestles in Austria and will compete in his first Olympic Games this August. "This is one of the most beautiful moments in my life, said Al-Obaidi. "I am so happy that this dream has come true. I have imagined this situation so many times. Now I will do everything to be well prepared in Tokyo!“

After the announcement, United World Wrestling’s President, Mr. Nenad LALOVIC said, “We are proud of Aker, He has worked hard to achieve his goals on and off the mat. We are in full support of his career and share in his excitement for competing in Tokyo this summer.”

To learn more about World Refugee Day, visit: https://www.unhcr.org/world-refugee-day.html



#WrestleOslo Weight to Watch: Freestyle 61kg

By Vinay Siwach

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (September 28) -- When Russia was deciding its squad for the World Championships, only two weight classes were confirmed. Just a week ago, they hosted their team trials and once again, only two wrestlers were given direct entry to the Worlds.

One was the obvious choice of two-time Olympic champion Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) at 97kg. The other was Abasgadhzi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) at 61kg.

While Sadulaev has been Russia’s leader of the freestyle team, Magomedov claimed that spot with some consistent and dominant performances at the international level since his junior years.

He is a junior world champion, senior European champion and the winner of the Individual World Cup and is the favorite to win the gold medal in Oslo.

A weight that has talented youngsters and defending world champion, 61kg promises to be a slugfest and the fans can enjoy the quality action on day one of the tournament.

Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) will be on the mat trying to defend his world title from 2019 but he faces a stiff challenge from Magomedov, Tokyo Olympians Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) and Stevan MICIC (SRB).

But don’t take your eyes off two-time junior world champion Rahman AMOUZADKHALILI (IRI), former junior world gold Daton FIX (USA), three U23 world champions in Adlan ASKAROV (KAZ), Ulukbek ZHOLDOSHBEKOV (KGZ) and Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN).

Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) and RAVINDER (IND) along with Tuvshintulga TUMENBILEG (MGL) can easily upset anyone of the aforementioned names.

Lomtadze tried qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics but failed after losing in the Last Chance Qualifiers. But that was at 65kg. He will now be back to his more favored weight but with age catching up, it will be difficult ask for him to keep the gold.

Amouzadkhalili once again showed why he is rated so high around the world after winning his second junior world title with little to no challenge in Ufa, Russia. His attacking and composed wrestling makes it difficult for his opponents to stop him from making scoring moves in crunch situations.

He is also Iran’s big hope to take over the 65kg category in the future and this World Championships can be a decent view of what we can expect from him.

Fix will revive his rivalry against Magomedov after the two met at the cadet worlds six years ago, a meeting Magomedov won in a close encounter 3-2.

Fix won the team trials in the USA with ease and can notch up wins in Oslo over anyone in the field but his weight loss issues along with the rise of youngsters he has never faced before could well be a problem.

One such wrestler is Zholdobeshkov who won the U23 Worlds in 2019. While he hasn’t been consistent, his Asian Championships gold and experience at competing at big events gives him the edge. Askarov too was exceptional in recent times with silver at Asian Championships and at Yasar Dogu.

Hartunyan has a win over Lomtadze and was also at the Tokyo Olympics and his ability to perform when no one expects him to will be a thing to watch out for.

Magomedov's run in Oslo will also determine how he plans to wrestle in the future, challenging 2019 world champion at 65kg Gazdhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS). Not only him, but a few of these wrestlers at 61kg will be trying to be the representatives for their countries come Paris 2024.

Freestyle 61kg Entries:

Georgi Valentinov VANGELOV (BUL)
Arman Norik ELOYAN (FRA)
Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN)
Kenneth KOECH (KEN)
Sunggwon KIM (KOR)
Tuvshintulga TUMENBILEG (MGL)
Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS)
Stevan Andria MICIC (SRB)
Yaroslav HURSKYY (UKR)
Daton FIX (USA)