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|2006 World Championships preview at 84 kg/185 lbs. in menís Greco-Roman wrestling|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Alim Selimav of Belarus was a surprise World champion last year, defeating 2004 Olympic champion Alexei Mishine of Russia in the finals. Selimav placed third at the FILA Golden Grand Prix this year. Besides those two placements, h has very little major international competitions under his belt. He did not medal at the 2005 European Championships, nor at the 2003 Junior World Championships. For Selimav, the World meet this year will be a strong indication if he will be in the mix moving forward, or last year was a flash in the pan for him.
Mishine, also a 2001 World silver medalist, placed seventh at the European Championships this year and won a silver medal at the World Cup. He was also a European champion back in 2005. He has been the Russian entry at the World level every year except one going back to 2001. In 2002, Alexander Menshikov wrestled for Russia here and captured a World silver medal.
Winning the European title this year was Artur Mikalkiewicz of Poland, who defeated Denis Forov of Armenia in the finals. Mikhalkiewicz was seventh at the World Championships last year. The only other years he placed in the top 10 at the World level were at the 2000 Olympics and the 2001 World Championships, when he placed ninth.
Forov was a Junior World champion for Russia in 2003, and is among a number of former Russians who are now competing for Armenia.
Nazmi Avluca of Turkey, a 1999 World champion, was the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals champion. Avluca was third at the 2005 World Championships and third at the 2006 European Championships. He represented Turkey at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, then competing down a weight class.
The other European bronze medal winner was Melonin Nounomvi of France. It was his best finish in a major competition in his career, which has included an appearance at the 2004 Olympic Games, as well as three previous World Championships.
Sandor Bardosi of Hungary was also a bronze medalist at the Worlds last year, but placed eighth at the European meet this year. He won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and is a past Junior World Champion.
Kim Jung Sub of Korea, who was fifth at the World Championships last year, won the Asian Championships, defeating Vitaly Zacharchenko of Kakhakhstan in the finals. It was his second straight Asian title. Kim also won a gold medal at the World Cup this year. Oleg Daragan of Ukraine was also a fifth-place finisher at the World meet last year. Daragan was second in the FILA Golden Grand Prix this year, a strong finish, and boasts a World bronze medal from 2001.
Viacheslav Makarenka of Belarus, a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, was fifth in the European Championships s this season. He also placed seventh at the 2000 Olympics. He is typical of the numerous veteran wrestlers who are competing in this weight class, many who have a chance to medal based upon their past performances. Bernhard Mayr of Germany is the other wrestler to capture fifth place at this division at the European Championships.
Among the World placewinners last year were Shingo Matsumoto of Japan, Nante Charempasvili of Greece and Luis Mendez of Cuba. Matsumoto was seventh at the 2004 Olympic Games and seeks his first World-level medal. Mendez, who is 32, won a World title way back in 1999, and has competed in 2000 Olympics, placing fifth. Mendez also won the Pan American Championships this year.
The U.S. brings a new athlete this year, Jacob Clark, who spent a number of years behind Olympian Brad Vering in the U.S. system. Clark won both the U.S. Nationals and the World Team Trials this year and enters his first World meet with confidence.
Among the athletes who have not competed since the 2004 Olympic Games are Ara Abrahamian of Sweden, an Olympic silver medalist and 2002 World champion, and Gotcha Tsitsiashvili of Israel, the 2003 World champion. The 2001 World champion, Mukran Vakrangadze of Georgia, did compete in the World Championships last year, placing 19th. Shalva Gadabadze has competed for Georgia this year, taking a bronze medal at the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals and finishing in ninth at the European Championships.
There are a number of other veterans around who could make an impact. Atilla Batky of Slovakia, who was third in the 2003 World Championships, continues to compete, 2003 World Championships, as does Fritz Aanes of Norway, who was fourth at the 2003 World meet. Mohammed Abd El Fatah of Egypt, a 2002 World bronze medalist, competed at this weight class at the World Championships last year, but has been wrestling up at 96 kg this season.
The University World champion this year was A Isaev of Russia, and the FILA Junior World champion this year was Ildem Cenk of Turkey.
This weight division features a number of veteran athletes, but no major star who stands out ahead of the field. This opens a possibility that there could be some unexpected results when we get to the medal rounds.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2005 World Championships results
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 results
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)
2003 World Championships results
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold - Gocha Ziziashvilly (Israel) won by ref. dec. over Ara Abrahamian (Sweden), 2-0, ot, 9:00; Bronze - Attila Batky (Slovakia) decl Fritz Aanes (Norway), 3-2; 5th - Brad Vering (USA); 6th - Murhban Vakhtangadze (Georgia); 7th - Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); 8th - Viachaslav Makaranka (Belarus); 9th - Melonin Noumonvi (France); 10th - Tarvi Thomberg (Estonia)
2002 World Championships results
84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold - Ara Abrahamian (Sweden) dec. Aleksandre Menshikov (Russia), 3-1; Bronze - Mohamed Ibrahim Abd El Fattah (Egypt) dec. Levon Geghamyan (Armenia), 5-0; 5th - Brad Vering (United States); 6th - Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); 7th - Bojan Mijatov (Yugoslavia); 8th - Cotcha Tsitsiashvili (Israel); 9th - Mukhran Vakhtangadze (Georgia); 10th - Viachaslav Makaranka (Belarus)
2001 World Championships results
85 kg/187.25 lbs. - Gold - Mukran Vakrangadze (Georgia) won by ref. dec. over Matt Lindland (United States), 2-1, ot; Bronze - Oleksei Dorogan (Ukraine) dec. Alexandre Menshikov (Russia), 3-2, ot, 6:33; 5th - Sandor Bardosi (Hungary); 6th - Martin Lidberg (Sweden); 7th - Luis Mendez (Cuba); 8th - Evgeniy Erofaylov (Uzbekistan); 9th - Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); 10th - Viachaslau Makaranka (Belarus)