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2012 Olympic Games preview at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in Greco-Roman



Date of competition: Tuesday, August 7

2011 World champion Saeid Mourad Abdvali of Iran enters the London Olympics as the only past World champion to qualify for the field. A 2009 Junior World champion, Abdvali has been on a tear, winning the 2010 Asian Games and the last two World Cup gold medals. At 22 years old, Abdvali is young and strong and improving.

2008 Olympic gold medalist Steeve Guenot of France qualified for the field and will attempt to defend his Olympic title. He won the European Olympic Qualifier to punch his ticket to London. Guenot also boasts a 2007 World silver medal.

Mankhar Tskhadia of Georgia won World silver medals in 2009 and 2011, and was second at the 2012 European Championships.

The bronze medalists from the 2011 World Championships were Hyeon Woo Kim of Korea and Pedro Mulens Herrera of Cuba. Kim was the winner of the Olympic Test event in London in December. Mulens also won a 2009 World bronze medal, the 2011 Pan American Games and the last two Pan American Championships at this weight class.

The United States has high hopes for two-time World bronze medalist Justin Lester, who qualified for his first Olympic Games this year. Lester claimed his World medals in 2006 and 2007, but was upset in the 2008 Olympic Trials. He was fifth at the 2011 World Championships and has made five U.S. World Teams. Lester is big and athletic at 66 kg and has wins over many of the top contenders at this weight class. Could this be his big year?

Surprisingly Russia did not qualify to compete in this weight class. The 2010 World champion at this weight was Russian Ambako Vachadze, who did not place in the 2011 Worlds and lost at the European Olympic Qualifier. Yuri Denisov lost at the first Final Olympic Qualifier in China, and their final chance came in Finland, but 2008 Olympic champion Islambek Albiev fell short, placing only fifth. The 2009 World champion, Farid Mansurov of Azerbaijan, retired after 2010, and his nation did not qualify to compete at this weight class either.

Frank Staebler of Germany was fifth at the 2011 World Championships, and won a gold medal at the 2012 European Championships, as well as a bronze medal at the 2009 Junior World Championships.

One of the consistent wrestlers in this class in recent seasons has been Tamas Loerincz of Hungary, who won the first Final Olympic Qualifier held in China. He has reached the World medal rounds three times, placing fifth at the 2007, 2009 and 2010 World Championships, and was seventh at the 2011 World meet.

Winning the second Final Olympic Qualifier held in Finland was Turkey’s Yeksel Atakan. He was also Turkey’s entry at the European Olympic Qualifier, where he finished out of the medals. Turkey could consider 2010 World bronze medalist Vasif Arzimanov at this weight class as well, or veteran Seref Tuefenk, who competed at the 2011 World meet, and was eighth at the 2004 Olympic Games.

The Asian Olympic Qualifier champion was Darkhan Bayakhmetov of Kazakhstan, who has competed in the World Championships four times, and placed in the top 10 twice. The Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion was Vicente Huacon Alvarado of Ecuador, while the Africa/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion was Mohamed Serir of Algeria.

Among the others to watch are Edgaras Venckitis of Lithuania, Pascal Strebel of Switzerland and Hovhannes Vardereshyan of Armenia.

Those with gold medal credentials in the field include Olympic champion Steeve Guenot of France and reigning World champion Saeid Mourad Abdvali of Iran, both among the favorites. However, it could be a past medalist who has never been champion who breaks through with a victory this time around. The American wrestling community hopes that is the case with Justin Lester, now that he has gotten his Olympic opportunity.

Expected Olympic entries at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Greco-Roman
1st at 2011 World Championships – Saeid Mourad Abdvali (Iran)
2nd at 2011 World Championships – Manukhar Tskhadia (Georgia)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Pedro Isaac Mulens Herrera (Cuba)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Frank Staebler (Germany)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Justin Lester (United States)
2012 European Olympic qualifier champion – Steeve Guenot (France)
2012 European Olympic qualifier runner-up – Edgaras Venckitis (Lithuania)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier champion – Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier runner-up – Tsutomu Fujimura (Japan)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier champion –Vicente Orlando Huacon Alvarado (Ecuador)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier runner-up – Wuilleixis de Jesus Rivas Espinoza (Venezuela)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier champion – Mohamed Serir (Algeria)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier runner-up – Ashraf Meligy El Garably (Egypt)
Olympic Qualifier #1 champion – Tamas Loerincz (Hungary)
Olympic Qualifier #1 runner-up – Pascal Strebel (Switzerland)
Olympic Qualifier #1 bronze medalist – Aleksandar Maksimovic (Serbia)
Olympic Qualifier #2 champion – Yeksel Atakan (Turkey)
Olympic Qualifier #2 runner-up – Hovhannes Vardereshyan (Armenia)

66 KG
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS


2011 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Saeid Morad Abdvali (Iran); Silver - Manuchar Tskhadaia (Georgia); Bronze - Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea); Bronze - Pedro Isaac Mulens (Cuba); 5th - Frank Stabler (Germany); 5th - Justin Lester (USA); 7th - Tamás Lorincz (Hungary); 8th - Kanatbek Begaliev (Kyrgyzstan); 9th - Yuji Okamoto (Japan); 10th - Pan Zheng (China)

2010 World Championships
66kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Ambako Vachadze (Russia); Silver – Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); Bronze – Vitaly Rahimov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Vasif Arzimanov (Turkey); 5th – Steeve Guenot (France); 5th – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); 7th- Pascal Strebel (Switzerland); 8th – Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea); 9th – Danijel Janecic (Croatia); 10th – Emilian Todorov (Bulgaria).

2009 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Manuchar Tskhadaia (Georgia); Bronze - Ambako Vachadze (Russia); Bronze - Pedro Isaac Mulen (Cuba); 5th - Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); 5th - Sasun Ghambaryan (Armenia); 7th - Afshin Byabangard (Iran); 8th - Tsutomu Fujimura (Japan); 9th - Emil Milev (Bulgaria); 10th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan)

2008 Olympic Games
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Steeve Guenot (France); Silver - Kanatbek Begaliev (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); Bronze - Mikhali Siamionau (Belarus); 5th - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); 5th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Sergey Kovalenko (Russia); 8th - Tamas Loerincz (Hungary); 9th - Alain Milian (Cuba); 10th - Li Yanyan (China)

2007 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Steeve Guenot (France); Bronze - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Justin Harry Lester (United States); 5th - Arman Adikyan (Armenia); 5th - Tamás Lorincz (Hungary); 7th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 8th - Olexander Khvoshch (Ukraine); 9th - Ionel Puscasu (Romania); 10th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden)

2006 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Li Yanyan (China); Silver – Kamatbek Begaliev (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze – Sergey Kovalenko (Russia); Bronze – Justin Harry Lester (USA); 5th – Oleksey Khvosch (Ukraine); 5th – Seref Eroglu (Turkey); 7th – Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); 8th – A. Kazakeviv (Lithuania); 9th – Ion Painit (Romania); 10th – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)

2005 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); Silver - Kim Min-Chul (Korea); Bronze - Alain Milan (Cuba); Bronze - Kim Kum-Chol (North Korea ); 5th - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); 7th - Li Yanyan (China); 8th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden); 9th - Mukhran Matchutadze (Georgia); 10th - Levente Furedy (Hungary)

2004 Olympic Games
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Seref Eroglu (Turkey); Bronze - Mkkhitar Manukyan (Kazakhstan); 4th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden); 5th - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); 6th - Konstantinos Arkoudeas (Greece); 7th - Jannis Zamanduridis (Germany); 8th - Vaghinak Galustyan (Armenia); 9th - Maxim Semenov (Russia); 10th - Luis Ferrnando Izquierdo (Colombia)
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