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|Ruiz drops only bout at 96kg Greco-Roman at Olympic Qualifying event in China on Sunday|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Justin Ruiz (Orem, Utah/New York AC) was defeated in his first match and was eliminated from competition at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in Greco-Roman at the World Olympic Games Qualifying Tourmament in Taiyuan, China on Sunday.
At this event, an athlete must place in the top three of their weight class to qualify their nation for the London Games. Only athletes whose weights are not yet qualified for the Olympics may enter.
Ruiz lost his opening match to Chan-Gun An of Korea, 1-0, 0-1, 0-1. An was eighth in the 2009 World Championships. He won bronze medals at the 2011 Asian Championships and the 2010 Asian Games.
An lost in the second round to Daigoro Timonici of Italy, which eliminated Ruiz from the repechage rounds. Timonici went on to reach the finals, earning one of the three qualification spots for his nation. Timonici was fifth in the 2007 World Championships and eighth in the 2010 World Championships. He won a silver medal at the 2010 University World Championships.
“Justin did not wrestle with much spark. He was a bit slow on his feet. He had trouble getting his hands locked. But finally, Justin turned him both times, but one second late,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser.
Ruiz was a 2005 World bronze medalist, and has competed in the World Championships for the United States six times. He was also a 2007 Pan American Games champion. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, he was an NCAA All-American for the Univ. of Nebraska.
Since the USA did not qualify at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in China, the final opportunity will be in Helsinki, Finland, May 4-6. At that event, an athlete must place in the top two of their weight class to qualify their nation. Ruiz is initially scheduled as the U.S. entry at this competition.
The U.S. has 17 of the 18 weight classes qualified for the London Games. This is the only weight class left to be qualified.
The U.S. determined the members of the U.S. Olympic Team in 16 qualified weights during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in Iowa City, Iowa, April 21-22. A Special Wrestle-off will be held for the 60 kg/132 lbs. weight class in men’s freestyle.
Website for the World Olympic Games Qualifying Tourmament in Taiyuan, China.
WORLD OLYMPIC GAMES QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT
at Taiyuan China, April 29
U.S. Greco-Roman performance
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Justin Ruiz, Orem, Utah (New York AC)
LOSS Chan-Gun An (Korea), 1-0, 0-1, 0-1
96 kg/211.5 lbs. Greco-Roman results
Gold - Qadobadze Shalva (Azerbaijan)
Silver - Daigoro Timonici (Italy)
Bronze - Soso Jabize (Georgia)
4th - Balasz Kiss (Hungary)
5th - Mindaugas Ezerskis (Lithuania)
5th - David Vala (Czech Republic)