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|OLYMPIC NEWS SERVICE: Greco-Roman preview for 66 kg, 96 kg
Olympic News Service
Men's Greco-Roman 66 kg: ABDVALI (IRI) seeks another gold for Iran in Greco-Roman
LONDON, 6 August - World champion Saeid Mourad ABDVALI (IRI) drew to the middle of the 66kg bracket Monday and appears ready for a gold medal run on the final day of Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
ABDVALI could meet defending Olympic champion Steeve GUENOT (FRA) in the quarterfinals and then either of two 2011 world bronze medallists - Pedro MULENS HERRERA (CUB) or KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) - in the semifinals.
World runner-up Manuchar TSKHADAIA (GEO) drew to the upper half of the bracket and appears to have smooth sailing to the semifinals. There, he could meet former European champion Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) or world No.5 Justin LESTER (USA).
Saeid Mourad ABDVALI (IRI) has won every time he has stepped out on the mat the past 20 months, including titles in the 2010 Asian Games, 2011 world championships and 2012 world cup. His most recent loss in a major competition at 66kg was in the third round of the 2010 world championships where he lost to Tamas LORINCZ (HUN).
Manukhar TSKHADAIA (GEO) collected silver at the 2009 and 2011 world championships as well as at the 2012 European championships at 74kg. Before reaching the finals in 2011, TSKHADAIA defeated five eventual qualifiers for the London 2012 Olympic Games, including LORINCZ and world bronze medallist Pedro MULENS HERRERA (CUB).
Pedro MULENS HERRERA (CUB), a four-time Pan American and Pan American Games champion, took a bronze medal at last year's world meet with wins over LORINCZ in repechage and Justin LESTER (USA) in the bronze medal final.
Tamas LORINCZ (HUN), who had to travel to China to qualify for his trip to London, was seventh at the world championships last year but has won the Hungarian grand prix and Pytlasinki international since taking the Taiyuan qualifier.
Steeve GUENOT (FRA) is the defending Olymic Games champion but had to win the European qualification tourney in April to be able to book his room at the Olympic Village. His best finishes since winning the gold medal in Beijing have been a third place at the 2010 European championships and a fifth place at the world meet that same year.
KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR) made his senior debut winning the Asian championships crown in 2010 and then claimed a bronze medal at last year's world championships where he stretched ABDVALI to three period in the semifinals.
Men's Freestyle 96 kg: GURI (BUL) starts in prelims, rivals waiting in quarters, semis
LONDON, 6 August - World champion Elis GURI (BUL) drew to the bottom of the 96kg bracket Monday and will have to face a number of challengers on his way to the championship on the final day of Greco-Roman at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
GURI could face world No. 5 Tsimafei DZEINICHENKA (BLR) in the quarterfinals and world runner-up Jimmy LIDBERG (SWE) in the semifinals if he is going to make to the gold medal final.
World bronze medalist Cenk ILDEM (TUR) sits at the top of the bracket and seems set to challenge for a medal if he can get by 2008 Asia champion Ghasem REZAEI (IRI). He could also face a challenge from Beijing Olympian and Pan American Games champion Yunior ESTRADA FALCON (CUB) in the semifinals.
Elis GURI (BUL) finished in eighth place at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games for Albania, but comes into the London 2012 Olympic Games as the world champion for Bulgaria. GURI sat out competition to make the move to Bulgaria and then won the bronze medal for his new NOC at the 2011 European championships.
Jimmy LIDBERG (SWE) was world runner-up in 2009 and 2011 and a bronze medal winner in 2010. LIDBERG, also owns a pair of silver and bronze medals from the European championships. A gold medal for LIDBERG would make him only the second Olympic Games champion in wrestling from Sweden since 1952. Mikael LJUNBERG (SWE) won the 97kg crown at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Tsimafei DZEINICHENKA (BLR) was runner-up at the world championships in 2010 but slipped to fifth place last year. He was also the European champion in 2011 after finishing second the year before. Belarus is waiting for its first gold medal in wresting at the Olympic Games.
Cenk ILDEM (TUR), a junior world champion in 2006, took a bronze medal at the world championships in Istanbul last year. He was also a bronze medallist at the European championships in 2010.
Ghasem REZAEI (IRI) was a world bronze medal winner in 2007 and finished 16th at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. He has only seen limited action since Beijing but won the Olympic qualification tourney in March.
Rustam TOTROV (RUS) took a bronze medal at the 2011 world championships and will be trying to follow in the footsteps Beijing 2008 gold medallist Aslanbek KHUSHTOV (RUS). TOTROV, however. slipped to seventh place at the 2012 European championships.
Norikatsu SAIKAWA (JPN) qualified for London 2012 via the Asian qualifier in March and defeated TOTROV on his way to first place at the Pytlasinski international. SAIKAWA is the first Japanese wrestler over 90kg to win a major international Greco-Roman competition in Europe.