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U.S. falls short of winning medal on first day of Olympic Games
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Spenser Mango finished ninth in the Olympic Games on Sunday. Larry Slater photo.

LONDON – Spenser Mango’s quest for an Olympic medal came up short late Sunday afternoon.

Russia’s Mingiyan Semenov defeated Mango 2-0, 1-0 in the first round of the repechage wrestlebacks on Sunday before a sellout crowd of 6,500 fans at the ExCel North Arena 2.

Mango, eighth in the 2008 Olympics, would have needed to win that match and two more to claim a bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Semenov turned Mango with a two-point gut wrench in par terre to win the first period. Mango tried valiantly to turn the Russian with a gut wrench in the second period, but was unable to score before time expired.

Semenov went on to win a bronze medal.

“I just have to come back strong and work hard for 2016,” Mango said. “I wrestled tough. That’s all I can do, just give it my best. It wasn’t my day. I just have to come back and give it another shot.”

Mango opened the day by sweeping Egypt’s Mohamed Abouhalima 6-1, 1-0 before falling by 2011 World champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan in the second round. Mango was pulled back in for the wrestlebacks after Bayramov advanced to the finals.

American Ben Provisor went 1-1 on Sunday and was eliminated in the first session of Greco competition at 74 kg/163 lbs.

Provisor rallied for a three-period win over Cuba’s Alexei Bel in the first round before falling to 2011 Junior World silver medalist Zurabi Datunashvili of Georgia in the second round.

Provisor was unable to turn the Georgian in par terre in the first period before being caught with an arm throw early in the second period.

Provisor was eliminated when Datunashvili lost in the quarterfinals and fell short of reaching the finals. The 22-year-old Provisor is competing in his first Olympics.

“I’m going to learn from this experience and try to get better,” Provisor said. “It’s been an awesome experience here. There’s nothing like the Olympic Games. I’m going to take this as a learning experience for the next four years – hopefully the next three World Championships and the next Olympics.”

The U.S. finished 2-3 as the eight-day Olympic wrestling competition kicked off in London.

“It was a rough day for us,” U.S. Coach Steve Fraser said. “I think they did their best, but their best day wasn’t good enough. We have three more wrestlers going tomorrow, and everybody has to come out ready to rumble.”

Iran’s Hamid Soryan won the Olympic title at 55 kilos and Russia’s Roman Vlasov won the gold medal at 74 kilos. Soryan, a five-time World champion, was fifth in the 2008 Olympics. Vlasov was a 2011 World champion.

Day 2 of the Olympic wrestling tournament is scheduled for Monday at the ExCel Center. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (8 a.m. Eastern Time) in London.

Americans Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), Chas Betts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Minnesota Storm) and Dremiel Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) are scheduled to compete for the U.S. Coleman competes at 60 kg/132 lbs., Betts wrestles at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Byers will take the mat at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Coleman is a two-time Junior World bronze medalist. Betts made the 2009 U.S. World Team. Byers, a past World gold, silver and bronze medalist, is competing in his second Olympics. He placed seventh in the 2008 Olympics.

ExCel Center, London, England

Sunday’s medal winners

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Hamid Soryan (Iran)
Silver – Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Peter Modos (Hungary)
Bronze – Mingiyan Semenov (Russia)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold – Roman Vlasov (Russia)
Silver – Arsen Julfalkayan (Armenia)
Bronze – Emin Ahmadov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Aleksandr Kazakevich (Lithuania)

Finals matchups

55 kg/121 lbs.
Hamid Soryan (Iran) dec. Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 2-0, 1-0

74 kg/163 lbs.
Roman Vlasov (Russia) dec. Arsen Julfalkayan (Armenia), 1-0, 1-0

U.S. results

55 kg/121 lbs. – Spenser Mango, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) – 9th
WIN Mohamed Abouhalima (Egypt), 6-1, 1-0
LOSS Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 0-4, 0-4
LOSS Mingiyan Semenov (Russia), 0-2, 0-1

74 kg/163 lbs. – Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) – 11th
WIN Alexei Bel (Cuba), 0-3, 1-0, 1-0
LOSS Zurabi Datunashvili (Georgia), 0-1, 0-6

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