Top News Stories...
The finals of the University Greco-Roman National Championships are set for 3 p.m. Eastern Live on Flowrestling...
Wrestling has a small lead over Squash going into the final four days. Let's finish strong and win this poll. Vote often and share this with your friends....
All of the 2013 U.S. Open champions, including World medalist Helen Maroulis (pictured) will compete for the USA against Canada and Ukraine at Niagara Falls....
Jim Scherr of the USA (pictured) is joined by FILA President Nenad Lalovic, Carol Huynh, Daniel Igali and Lise LeGrand as presenters at key May 29 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia....
|2012 Olympic Games preview at 84 kg/185 lbs. in Greco-Roman
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Date of competition: Monday, August 6
Heading into the London Olympics with a bit of momentum at 84 kg is 2011 World champion Alim Selimov of Belarus, who was also a World champion way back in 2005. Selimov has not competed at the Olympics yet, missing out in both 2004 and 2008. He leads a weight class which has seen some turmoil in recent years, or perhaps a strong dose of parity among the athletes.
On paper, the most successful competitor coming in is Turkey’s Nazmi Avluca, a two-time World champion and six-time World medalist who brought home an Olympic bronze medal in 2008. At 35 years old, his first World Championships was in 1995 and his first Olympics in 1996. He won his first World title at 76 kg in 1999, and his second at 84 kg in 2009. He was third in the 2011 Worlds on his home mats in Istanbul, Turkey. Can this veteran final get an Olympic title he has sought for so long?
The 2010 World champion was Hristo Marinov of Bulgaria, who barely reached the Olympic field. He was the champion in the last Final Olympic Qualifier held in Finland. Marinov won the European Championships this year and will be in his first Olympic Games.
There will be no defending Olympic champion in the field, as 2008 Olympic gold medalist Andrea Minguzzi of Italy failed to qualify through the Olympic qualifying process. Also not in the field is Sweden’s Ara Abrahamian, a former World champion who had his 2008 Olympic bronze medal stripped after he threw down the medal in protest on the awards stand after a loss to Minguzzi in the semifinals. After serving a long suspension, Abrahamian returned this year in strong form, but couldn’t get through the qualifying process either.
Among those with high expectations are 2011 World silver medalist Damian Janikowski of Poland and 2011 World bronze medalist Rami Hietaniemi of Finland. Janikowski won his first World medal last year, after placing in the top 10 the two previous years. He was second in the 2012 European Championships. Hietaniemi also had his best performance ever last season at the Worlds in Turkey, with his best previous World finish being 10th in 2007.
An interesting entry at this weight class is 2004 Olympic champion Karam Gaber of Egypt, who set the world on fire with his performance at the Athens Games up at 96 kg. Gaber also won World silver medals at that weight in 2002 and 2003. He was not effective at 96 kg in the next four-year Olympic cycle, falling short of the medals at the 2008 Olympic Games. Gaber returned in 2011 down a weight at 84 kg and won the Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier to join the London field. He has won a few medals at his new weight, but still has not faced most of the field here.
An athlete to watch is Hassan Tahmasebi of Azerbaijan, who was fifth at the 2011 World Championships. Tahmasebi broke into international prominence competing for Iran, winning a World bronze medal in 2007 and competing in the 2008 Olympics. He switched teams and became eligible for Azerbaijan at the 2010 World Championships and was champion at the Olympic Test Event in London in December.
Also fifth at the 2011 Worlds to qualify his nation was Alan Khugaev of Russia, who was also a 2009 World silver medalist. He has seemingly taken over for Russian star Alexei Mishin, a 2004 Olympic champion and 2007 World champion who has won numerous World medals. Mishin’s last World medal was a bronze in 2010, and he has continued to compete, including entering the 2012 European Championships.
2010 World silver medalist Pablo Shorey of Cuba earned his first trip to the Olympics with a victory at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier held in Florida. He also boasts a 2011 Pan American Games title and two Pan American Championships titles.
The U.S. entry is Chas Betts, who was also a member of the 2009 World Championships team for the United States. Betts has had a strong season heading into the Olympics, winning the Dave Schultz Memorial and the Pan American Championships back-to-back., then qualifying the USA for London with a silver at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier. Betts is capable of great things, with a ton of international experience.
A tough veteran to watch is France’s Melonin Noumonvi, a 2009 World silver medalist who got qualified with a bronze at the first Final Olympic Qualifier in China. Noumonvi was fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Another past World medalist in the field is Habibollah Jomeh Akhlaghi of Iran, who was third at the 2009 World Championships. Akhlaghi won the first Final Olympic Qualifier in China to punch his ticket for London and was the 2012 Asian champion.
Also with a World medal is Nenad Zugaj of Croatia, winning a bronze at the 2010 World Championships after paying his dues for many years.
The European Olympic Qualifier champion was Vasil Rachyba of Ukraine, who was a 2011 European champion also and ninth in the 2010 World Championships.
The 84 kg weight class has an interesting mix of veterans and young talents, with nobody that has seemed to be dominant in recent seasons. World champions Alim Selimov of Belarus, Nazmi Avluca of Turkey and Hristo Marinov of Bulgaria bring strong resumes, and Olympic champion Karam Gaber brings some pizzazz to the field. This year could feature a breakthrough performance from somebody else, however.
Expected Olympic entries at 84 kg/185 lbs.- Greco-Roman
1st at 2011 World Championships – Alim Selimov (Belarus)
2nd at 2011 World Championships – Damian Janikowski (Poland)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Nazmi Avluca (Turkey)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Rami Hietaniemi (Finland)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Alan Khugaev (Russia)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Hassan Saman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan)
2012 European Olympic qualifier champion – Vasil Rachyba (Ukraine)
2012 European Olympic qualifier runner-up – Amer Hrustanovic (Austria)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier champion – Danial Gadzhiev (Kazakhstan)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier runner-up – Se-Yeol Lee (Korea)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier champion – Pablo Enrique Shorey Hernandez (Cuba)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier runner-up – Chas Betts (United States)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier champion – Karam Mohammed Gaber Ibragim (Egypt)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier runner-up – Haykel Achouri (Tunisia)
Olympic Qualifier #1 champion – Habibollah Jomeh Akhlaghi (Iran)
Olympic Qualifier #1 runner-up – Nenad Zugaj (Croatia)
Olympic Qualifier #1 bronze medalist – Melonin Noumonvi (France)
Olympic Qualifier #2 champion – Hristo Marinov (Bulgaria)
Olympic Qualifier #2 runner-up – Vladimir Gegeshidze (Georgia)
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2011 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold - Alim Selimau (Belarus); Silver - Damian Janikowski (Poland); Bronze - Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); Bronze - Rami Heitaniemi (Finland); 5th - Alan Khugaev (Russia); 5th - Saman Ahman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan); 7th - Nenad Zugaj (Croatia); 8th - Andrea Minguzzi (Italy); 9th - Se-Yeol Lee (Korea); 10th - Marian Mihalik (Slovakia)
2010 World Championships
84 kg/185 pounds – Gold – Hristo Marinov (Bulgaria); Silver – Pablo Shorey Hernandez (Cuba); Bronze – Alexej Mishin (Russia); Bronze – Nenad Zugaj (Croatia); 5th – Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); 5th – Damian Janikowski (Poland); 7th – Alhazur Ozdiev (Kazakhstan); 8th – Vladimir Gegeshidze (Georgia); 9th – Vasil Rachyba (Ukraine); 10th – Laimutis Adomaitis (Lithuania)
2009 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold - Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); Silver - Melonin Noumonvi (France); Bronze - Habibollah Akhlaghi (Iran) ; Bronze - Pablo Shorey Hernandez (Cuba); 5th - Badri Khasaia (Georgia); 5th - Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan) ; 7th – Jose Antonio Arias Paredes (Dominican Republic) ; 8th - Damian Janikowski (Poland); 9th - Nenad Zugaj (Croatia); 10th - Hyo-Chul Cho (Korea)
2008 Olympic Games
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold - Andrea Minguzzi (Italy); Silver - Zoltan Fodor (Hungary); Bronze - Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); 5th - Ma Sanyi (China); 5th - Melonin Noumonvi (France); 7th - Denis Forov (Armenia); 8th - Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan); 9th - Alexej Michine (Russia); 10th - Yunior Estrada (Cuba)
2007 World Championship
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold – Alexej Mishin (Russia); Silver – Brad Vering (United States); Bronze – Hassan Tahmasebi (Iran); Bronze – Badri Khasaia (Georgia); 5th - Jung-Sub Kim (Korea); 5th – Ara Abrahamian (Sweden); 7th - Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); 8th - Zoltán Fodor (Hungary); 9th - Jan Fischer (Germany); 10th - Alim Selimov (Belarus)
2006 World Championship
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold - Mohamed Abdelfatah (Egypt); Silver - Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); Bronze - Alexey Mishine (Russia); Bronze - Saman Tahmasebi (Iran); 5th - Badri Khasia (Georgia); 5th - Kim-Jussi Nurmela (Finland); 7th - Artur Michalkiewicz (Poland); 8th - Ara Abrahamian (Sweden); 9th - Shingo Matsumoto (Japan); 10th - Adomaitis Laimutis (Lithuania)
2005 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold - Alim Selimav (Belarus); Silver - Alexei Mishine (Russia); Bronze - Sandor Bardosi (Hungary); Bronze - Namzi Avluca (Turkey); 5th - Kim Jung-Sub (Korea); 5th - Oleg Daragan (Ukraine); 7th - Artur Michalkiewicz (Poland); 8th - Shingo Matsumoto (Japan); 9th - Ntante Charempasvili (Greece); 10th - Luis Mendez (Cuba)
2004 Olympic Games
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold - Aleksei Michine (Russia); Silver - Ara Abrahamian (Sweden); Bronze -Viacheslav Makaranka (Belarus); 4th -Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); 5th - Dimitros Avramis (Greece); 6th - Oleksandr Daragan (Ukraine); 7th - Shingo Matsumoto (Japan); 8th - Levon Geghamyan (Armenia); 9th - Behrouz Jamshidi (Iran); 10th - Attila Batky (Slovakia)