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2007 World Championships preview at 84 kg/185 lbs. in menís Greco-Roman wrestling

If there is one thing that is consistent with this weight class in Greco-Roman is that there is a new World or Olympic champion every year. There is a different name as a gold medalist in this division going all the way back to 1996, over a decade of change at the top of the heap.

The reigning World champion at 84 kg is Mohammed Abdelfatah of Egypt, who had his greatest performance ever when he claimed the gold medal in Guangzhou, China. His previous best finish came in 2002 when he claimed a World bronze medal. Abdelfatah trained quite often in the United States in past years, and consistently improved along the way.

Go back through history and you will see a different champion at this division, many who remain active on the international scene. Do you remember these recent World and Olympic champions, listed by year?
2006 - Mohammed Abdelfatah of Egypt
2005 - Alim Selimav of Belarus
2004 - Aleksei Michine of Russia
2003 - Gocha Ziziashvilly of Israel
2002 - Ara Abrahamian of Sweden
2001 - Mukran Vakrangadze of Georgia
2000 - Hamza Yerlikaya of Turkey
1999 - Luis Mendez of Cuba
1998 - Alexander Menshikov of Russia
1997 - Sergei Tsvir of Russia

Out of this list of World champions, along with Abdelfatah, those who are listed on the preliminary roster of their nation as competitors in Baku are Salimov, Mishin and Abrahamian. Will any of these past champions be able to win this title again?

Salimov has not been very active since winning his 2005 World title. He was third in the 2006 Golden Grand Prix and third at the 2006 World Military Championships, but has not entered the European Championships or other top events. It will be interesting to see if he remains sharp after his layoff from top competition.

Michine, the 2004 Olympic champion, won a bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships and a silver medal at the 2005 World Championships. He is coming in with momentum, after winning a gold medal at the European Championships earlier in the season. Based upon his recent finishes, it is a good bet that Michine will be in the medal rounds again this year.

Abrahamian was eighth at the World Championships last year, but had a string of very successful seasons in the early part of the decade. He was second at the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2003 World Championships and won a World title at 76 kg back in 2001. Like all of the other past World champions in this loaded weight class, he is capable of challenging for a medal at any time.

Placing second to Abdelfatah at last year's World meet was veteran Nazmi Avluca of Turkey. Avluca is also a past World champion, winning his title way back in 1999 competing at 76 kg. At this division, Avluca also won a World bronze medal in 2005. He comes off a disappointing European Championships, where he placed ninth this year. Avluca has competed in two Olympic Games, both down at 76 kg

Winning a World bronze medal last year was Saman Tahmasebi of Iran, who was the 2007 Asian champion. Tahmasebi was also second in the World Cup last year.

Winning a silver medal at the European Championships this year was Jan Fischer of Germany, who is competing at the Senior level for the first year. In 2006, Fischer won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships. The bronze medalists from the European Championships this year were Melonin Noumonvi of France and Andrea Minguzzi of Italy.

There are a number of other talents with experience from the European ranks, including
Badri Khasia of Georgia, Kim-Jussi Nurmela of Finland and Artur Michalkiewicz of Poland. Nurmela was fifth at the European Championships this year. Michalkiewicz was a European champion in 2006. Another to watch is Attila Batky of Slovakia, who was a bronze medalist at the 2003 World Championships.

The United States features veteran Brad Vering, who was fifth at the 2002 and 2003 World Championships and competed in the 2004 Olympic Games. Vering won a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games after a great season on the international circuit, and will be seeking his first World-level medal this year.

Kim Jung-Sub, who was fifth at the 2005 World Championships, is listed as the entry for Korea. Shingo Matsumoto of Japan, who placed in the top 10 at this weight class for the last three years, is also on the preliminary entry lists.

If history repeats itself, you can bet on a new World champion at this division again in 2007. However, with all the veteran stars in the weight class who have already won a title one time, it might be a safe bet to predict that somebody will break this streak of change and win the title once again. Mohammed Abdelfatah of Egypt hopes to be the man who is able to repeat as champion.


2006 World Championship results
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 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)
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