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2012 Olympic Games preview at 55 kg/121 lbs. in Greco-Roman
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
07/04/2012

Date of competition: Sunday, August 5

Will this be the Olympics when Iran superstar Hamid Sorian Reihanpour is finally able to win an Olympic gold medal? Sorian has been a dominant force at this weight class for many years, winning five World Championship gold medals (2005-07 and 2009-10). His only Olympic experience was disappointing in his mind, a fifth place in the 2008 Beijing Games. Sorian did not compete in the 2011 World meet, but qualified Iran for the Olympics with a silver medal at the Asian Olympic Qualifier. An explosive thrower with great mat command, Sorian will make things interesting in London for sure.

The reigning World champion is Ravshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan, who was a 2008 Olympic silver medalist, a 2006 World silver medalist and a 2009 World bronze medalist. In most divisions, this kind of performance makes you a heavy favorite, but the inclusion of Sorian makes the road to Olympic gold a bit more challenging for Bayramov.

2008 Olympic champion Nazir Mankiev of Russia, 27, was a World bronze medalist in both 2007 and 2010. However, it was his younger brother Bekhan, 25, who qualified Russia for the London Games with a 2011 World bronze medal. Neither Mankiev has wrestled very much in 2012. Mingiyan Semenov was fifth at the 2012 Europeans for Russia at this weight, and won the Poddubny Memorial in Russia and two other gold medals this season. In short, expect a tough Russian in London.

2011 World silver medalist Elbek Tazhyiev of Belarus reached the podium on his first try at the World Championships. His other top honors are a European bronze medal in 2011 and a World Military bronze medal in 2010.

There are a number of other recent World medalists who have earned positions in this field.

Shujin Li of China was a 2011 World bronze medalist. Li won a bronze medal at the Olympic Test Event in London, and has medals from the Asian Games and the World Cup on his resume.

Gyu-Jin Choi of Korea won a 2010 World silver medal, and was seventh in the 2009 and 2011 World Championships. Choi also won the Olympic Test Event in London in December and was a 2010 Asian champion. He earned his ticket to London by winning the first Final Olympic Qualifier held in China.

Hakan Nyblom of Denmark won his 2009 World bronze medal when the World Championships were held in his native country. Nyblom had a good win to get into the London field, capturing the tough European Olympic Qualifier. Nyblom was eighth at the 2004 Olympic Games, and has been competing on the Senior level since 2002.

The United States top star is Spenser Mango, who was eighth in the 2008 Olympic Games and has competed at the last three World Championships for the United States. Mango was impressive on the age-group levels, winning a University World gold and a Junior World bronze on his way up the ladder. When wrestling well, he is an explosive thrower who can battle with anybody. The hope is that Mango is ready to medal in his second Olympic appearance.

This weight class has some solid depth across the board. Placing fifth in the 2011 World Championships were Peter Modos of Hungary and Won-Chol Yun of North Korea. Modos was also fifth at the 2010 World Championships. Yun has seen very little international competition, but North Korea has a tradition of strong Olympic performances in the lightest weight classes.

The Asian Olympic Qualifier champion was Japan’s Kohei Hasegawa, who was eighth in the 2011 World Championships and was a 2010 Asian Games champion. The Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion was young Javier Dumenigo of Cuba, who beat American Mango in the finals. Dumenigo is new to the Senior level, with wins at the 2012 Pan American Championships and the 2012 Granma Cup his only known achievements. Winning the Africa/Oceania Olympic Qualifier was Mohamed Said Abouhalima of Egypt, who also came onto the Senior scene with a victory at the 2011 African Championships.

Aleksandar Kostadinov of Bulgaria, a 2007 and 2008 Junior World champion who has been competitive on the Senior level this quadrennium, earned a spot in the field. Vugar Ragimov of Ukraine, who has placed in the top 10 at the World Championships three different times, earned his spot by winning the last Final Olympic Qualifier in Finland. Arsen Eraliev, a 2008 Junior World silver medalist, as well as Elmurat Tasmuradov of Uzbekistan, a 2011 Junior World bronze medalist, are also among the qualifiers.

This weight class will be explosive. Five-time World champion Hamid Sorian of Iran seeks his first Olympic medal. 2008 Olympic champion Nazir Mankiev of Russia may be there to defend his title, only if he is the Russian selection to attend. Reigning World champion Ravshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist to boot, believes he is the top man here. A number of other past World medalists are seeking to change their medal color to gold. Expect some fireworks at 55 kg this year in London.

Expected Olympic entries at 55 kg/121 lbs.- Greco-Roman
1st at 2011 World Championships – Ravshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan)
2nd at 2011 World Championships – Elbek Tazhyiev (Belarus)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Shujin Li (China)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Bekhan Mankiev, Nazir Mankiev or Mingiyan Semenov (Russia)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Peter Modos (Hungary)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Won-Chol Yun (North Korea)
2012 European Olympic qualifier champion – Hakan Nyblom (Denmark)
2012 European Olympic qualifier runner-up – Aleksandar Kostadinov (Bulgaria)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier champion – Kohei Hasegawa (Japan)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier runner-up – Hamid Sorian Reihanpour (Iran)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier champion – Javier Dumenigo (Cuba)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier runner-up –Spenser Mango (United States)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier champion – Mohamed Said Abouhalima (Egypt)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier runner-up – Fouad Fajari (Morocco)
Olympic Qualifier #1 champion – Gyu-Jin Choi (Korea)
Olympic Qualifier #1 runner-up – Ayhan Karakus (Turkey)
Olympic Qualifier #1 bronze medalist – Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzbekistan)
Olympic Qualifier #2 champion – Vugar Ragimov (Ukraine)
Olympic Qualifier #2 runner-up – Arsen Eraliev (Kyrgyzstan)

55 KG
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS


2011 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Elbek Tazhyiev (Belarus); Bronze - Shujin Li (China); Bronze - Bekkhan Mankiev (Russia); 5th - Péter Modos (Hungary); 5th - Won Chol Yun (North Korea); 7th - Gyu-Jin Choi (Korea); 8th - Kohei Hasegawa (Japan); 9th - Roman Amoyan (Armenia); 10th - Vyugar Ragymov (Ukraine)

2010 World Championships
55kg/121 lbs. – Gold – Hamid Sorian Reihanpour (Iran); Silver – Gyu-Jin Choi (Korea); Bronze – Roman Amoyan (Armenia); Bronze – Nazir Mankiev (Russia); 5th – Venelin Venkov (Bulgaria), 5th – Peter Modos (Hungary), 7th – Jani Haapamaeki (Finland); 8th – David Erestic (Poland), 9th – Elchin Aliev (Azerbaijan), 10th – Gustavo Balart Marin (Cuba).

2009 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Hamid Sorian Reihanpour (Iran); Silver - Roman Amoyan (Armenia); Bronze - Hakan Nyblom (Denmark); Bronze - Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); 5th - Erhan Karakus (Turkey); 5th - Virgil Munteanu (Romania); 7th - Gyu-Jim Choi (Korea); 8th - Jani Haapamaki (Finland); 9th - Spenser Mango (USA); 10th - Vyugar Ragymov (Ukraine)

2008 Olympic Games
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Nazyr Mankiev (Russia); Silver - Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijain); Bronze - Roman Amoyan (Armenia); Bronze - Eun-Chol Park (Korea); 5th - Yagnier Hernandez (Cuba); 5th - Hamid Soryan Reihanpour (Iran); 7th - Kristijan Fris (Serbia); 8th - Spenser Mango (USA); 9th - Lasha Goctadze (Georgia); 10th - Ildar Hafizov (Uzbekistan)

2007 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs - Gold - Hamid Sorian Reihanpour (Iran); Silver - Eun-Chol Park (Korea); Bronze - Nazyr Mankiev (Russia); Bronze - Kristijan Fris (Serbia); 5th - Ildar Hafizov (Uzbekistan); 5th - Lindsey Durlacher (United States); 7th - Virgil Munteanu (Romania); 8th - Anders Nyblom (Denmark); 9th - Yerbol Konyratov (Kazakhstan); 10th - Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan)

2006 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. – Gold – Hamid Sorian Reihanpour (Iran); Silver – Roushan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Lindsey Durlacher (USA); Bronze – Eun-Chol Park (Korea); 5th – Velenin Venkov (Bulgaria); 5th – Tibor Olah (Hungary); 7th – Vyugar Ragymov (Ukraine); 8th – Yerbel Konyratov (Kazakhstan); 9th – Anders Nyblom (Denmark); 10th – Aliaksandr Shalesny (Belarus)

2005 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Hamid Sourian Reinhanpour (Iran); Silver - Eun-Chol Park (Korea); Bronze - Istvan Majoros (Hungary); Bronze - Yermek Kuketov (Kazakhstan); 5th - Anders Nyblom (Denmark); 5th - Lazaro Rivas (Cuba); 7th - Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); 8th - Irakli Chochua (Georgia); 9th - Roman Amoyan (Armenia); 10th - Kwang Su Cha (North Korea)

2004 Olympic Games
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Ivan Majoros (Hungary); Silver - Geider Mamadaliev (Russia); Bronze - Artiom Kiorgegkian (Greece); 4th - Oleksiy Vakulenko (Ukraine); 5th- Lazaro Rivas (Cuba); 6th - Irakli Chachua (Georgia); 7th - Im Dae Wong (Korea); 8th - Hakkan Nyblom (Denmark); 9th -Hassan Rangraz (Iran); 10th - Masatoshi Toyoda (Japan)


 
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