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2005 World Championships preview at 74 kg/163 lbs. in menís Greco-Roman wrestling

The consistent theme in the Greco-Roman event at the Athens Olympics was to expect the unexpected, and the gold-medal performance of Alexander Dokturishvili of Uzbekistan fit in perfectly. Not one of the pre-event favorites, Dokturishvili had never placed at a World Championships and qualified for Athens by taking second at an Olympic qualifying event. However, with the Olympic spotlight on him, Dokturishvili was on the top his game in Athens, beating a number of veteran stars with long resumes.

In the gold-medal finals, Dokturishvili stopped 1997 World champion Marko Yli-Hannuksela of Finland, who was a bronze medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games as well. The Olympic bronze medal went to another well-proven veteran, 2000 Olympic champion and 2002 World champion Varteres Samourgashev of Russia. Both of these athletes would be medal hopefuls if they enter in Budapest, but neither have been active so far this year. Russia might send 2001 World silver medalist Alexei Gloushkov, who competed at the European Championships this year, or Alexei Michine, a 2001 World silver medalist.

Just missing Olympic medals in Athens were fourth-place Reto Bucher of Switzerland, fifth-place Daniel Khalimov of Kazakhstan and sixth-place Filiberto Azcuy of Cuba. Bucher was a surprise, clearly turning in his best international performance. Khalimov, a fourth-place finisher in the 2003 World meet, was expected to be competitive. Kazakhstan might enter 1997 World champion Bakhtiar Baisetov, who placed second in the 2005 Asian Championships.

Azcuy was one of the favorites in Athens, a two-time Olympic champion (1996, 2000) looking for an unprecedented third Olympic title. Azcuy was also a World champion in 2001. Many expect that Azcuy's career has ended. The 2005 Pan American champion from Cuba was Odelis Herrero.

Konstantin Schneider of Germany, who was seventh in Athens, was a 2003 World silver medalist at this division. Schneider continues to compete, but Germany also could enter Adam Juretzko, who won a bronze medal at the European Championships this season.

The 2005 European champion is Moves Karapetyan of Armenia, with Velin Marinov of Bulgaria winning the silver medal. Marinov also captured a silver medal this summer at the Pytlasinski Tournament in Poland, a major tune-up event prior to the World Championships which used the newest Greco-Roman rules and featured many top stars. The champion at the Pytlasinki event was V. Rachiba of Ukraine. Ukraine might consider bringing veteran Vladimir Shatskikh, who wrestled in the European Championships this year and was fourth at the 2003 World Championships.

A wildcard in this division is U.S. entry T.C. Dantzler, who has been to two World Championships but did not medal. Dantzler is outstanding in the reverse lift position featured in the new rules, and he may throw opponents around in Budapest. Dantzler considered retiring this year from the sport, but has found a new spirit of optimism as the new rules are perfect for his style.

The Asian champion in 2005 was Daniar Kobonov of Kyrgyzstan, and Asian bronze medalists were Choi Duk-Hoon of Korea and Tsukasa Tsuramaki of Japan. Choi was 10th at the 2004 Olympic Games. Neven Zugaj of Croatia made his presence known this year by winning a bronze medal at the European Championships.

Chadorchi Davod Abeinzadeh of Iran was a 2005 Junior World Champion, and won a bronze medal at the Pytlasinski Tournament this year. The winner of the World University Games was Turkey's Seref Tufenk.

This weight class has some other talented athletes who would be tough if they enter in Budapest. Badri Khasia of Georgia was second at the 2002 World Championships. Tamas Berzicza of host Hungary was eighth at the 2004 Olympics and fifth at the 2002 World Championships. Aleksander Kikiniou of Belarus placed in the top 10 at both the 2003 and 2002 World Champioonships, and was third at Pytlasinski this year. Alberto Recuero of Spain was ninth at the 2004 Olympics.

This weight class is loaded with many past champions and medal winners, all who feel confident in their abilities. However, the success of Olympic champion Alexander Dokturishvili of Uzbekistan last year shows that this weight class has the kind of parity that somebody new could emerge from the battle. This one is among the toughest to handicap, and may be one of the most exciting divisions to watch in Budapest.


2004 Olympic Games results
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Alexandr Dokturishvili (Uzbekistan); Silver - Marko Yli-Hannuksela (Finland); Bronze - Varteres Samourachev (Russia); 4th - Reto Bucher (Switzerland); 5th - Danil Khalimov (Kazakhstan); 6th -Filiberto Azcuy (Cuba); 7th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 8th - Tamas Berzicza (Hungary); 9th - Alberto Jose Recuero (Spain); 10th - Duk Hoon Choi (Korea)

2003 World Championships results
163 - Gold - Alexei Glushkov (Russia) dec. Konstantin Schneider (Germany), 3-0; Bronze - Jin Soo Kim (Korea) dec. Danil Khalimov (Kazakhstan), 3-0 ot; 5th - Volokymyr Shats'kykh (Ukraine); 6th - Aliaksandr Kikiniou (Belarus); 7th - Marko Yli-Hannuksela (Finland); 8th - Yakov Menasherov (Israel); 9th - Viuga Aslanov (Azerbaijan); 10th - Katsuhiko Nagata (Japan)

2002 World Championships results
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Varteres Samourgashev (Russia) dec. Badri Khasaia (Georgia), 3-0; Bronze - Filiberto Ascuy (Cuba) dec. Volodymir Shatskikh (Ukraine), 5-1; 5th - Tamas Berzicza (Hungary); 6th - Michal Jaworski (Poland); 7th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 8th - Aleksandr Kikiniov (Belarus); 9th - Marko Yli-Hannuksela (Finland); 10th - Dzhakhombir Turdiev (Uzbekistan)

2001 World Championships results
69 kg/152 lbs. - Gold - Filiberto Azcuy (Cuba) dec. Alexei Gloushkov (Russia), 4-0; Bronze - Rustem Adzhy (Ukraine) pin Jimmy Samuelson (Sweden), 1:28; 5th - Moises Sanchez (Spain); 6th - Parviz Zaidvand (Iran); 7th - Song Sang Pil (Korea); 8th - Maxim Schwindt (Germany); 9th - Ondrej Jaros (Czech Republic); 10th - Mahmut Altay (Turkey)

2001 World Championships results
76 kg/167.5 - Gold - Ara Abrahamjian (Sweden) pin Alexei Michine (Russia), 5:04; Bronze - Kim Jin Soo (Korea) dec. Sergiy Solodkyy (Ukraine), 3-0; 5th - Tamas Berzicza (Hungary); 6th - Marko Yli-Hannuksela (Finland); 7th - Bakhtiyar Baiseitov (Kazakhstan); 8th - Odelis Herrero (Cuba); 9th - Artur Michalkiewicz (Poland); 10th - Dimitris Avramis (Greece)
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