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|Kelsey Campbell still alive, needs 1 win to advance to Olympic bronze-medal match|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Kelsey Campbell battles two-time Olympic champion Saori Yoshida of Japan on Thursday afternoon. Larry Slater photo.
LONDON – Kelsey Campbell received the toughest draw possible in her first Olympic appearance.
She opened against two-time Olympic champion and nine-time World champion Saori Yoshida of Japan, who downed Campbell 1-0, 1-0 before a sellout crowd of 6,500 fans on Thursday at the ExCeL North Arena 2.
But Campbell will receive another chance in the repechage wrestlebacks after Yoshida advanced to the finals in women’s freestyle wrestling at 55 kg/121 lbs.
Campbell will face past World champion Yulia Ratkevich of Azerbaijan in the repechage. The winner of that match will face Junior World silver medalist Valeria Zholobova of Russia in the bronze-medal match. The repechage is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. (12:45 p.m. Eastern) in London.
Yoshida scored takedowns in the first and second periods to down Campbell, who was fifth in the World at 59 kg/130 lbs. in 2010.
American Ali Bernard dropped her first-round match to past World fifth-place finisher Jenny Fransson of Sweden at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Fransson scored a takedown with one second left in the second period to prevail 3-0, 2-1.
Bernard had beaten Fransson in the 2011 World Championships en route to winning a bronze medal. Bernard was fifth in the 2008 Olympic Games.
“I’m pretty upset,” Bernard said. “I got a second chance and messed it up. I came out and wrestled four minutes and didn’t do the job. I just didn’t have my head in it in the first period and it cost me.”
Bernard was eliminated when Fransson lost to five-time World champion Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria in the second round.
“Ali was way too conservative,” U.S. Coach Terry Steiner said. “It was too much of a chess match. She never got herself opened up. We didn’t do enough to make it happen out there.”
Day 6 of the eight-day Olympic wrestling tournament is scheduled for Friday at the ExCel Center. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (8 a.m. Eastern Time) in London. Fans can watch a live webcast of the event on nbcolympics.com.
American freestyle wrestlers Sam Hazewinkel (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) and Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids) are scheduled to compete on Friday. Hazewinkel wrestles at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Burroughs competes at 74 kg/163 lbs.
Burroughs won a World title in 2011 and is 34-0 on the Senior level in freestyle.
ExCeL Center, London, England
55 kg/121 lbs.
Saori Yoshida (Japan) vs. Tonya Verbeek (Canada)
72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Natalia Vorobieva (Russia) vs. Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Kelsey Campbell, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Saori Yoshida (Japan), 0-1, 0-1
vs. Valeria Zholobova (Russia) in repechage
72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Ali Bernard, New Ulm, Minn. (Gator WC)
LOSS Jenny Fransson (Sweden), 0-3, 1-2