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|FILA Worlds GR Preview: Hometown heroes to bring down curtain in Greco-Roman at Worlds|
By William May FILA
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (September 15) – A host of hometown heroes and the “classical” style of wrestling, Greco-Roman, brings the curtain down Sunday, September 22, on the 2013 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest.
London 2012 silver medalist Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) will lead the charge on the final day of the championships at Papp Laszlo Budapest Sports Arena as he strives to keep his record in 2013 spotless and bring home the 66kg world title.
Joining LORINCZ on the final day of competition will be “Ironman” Mihaly DEAK BARDOS at 120kg. It will be the 13th world championships for DEAK BARDOS, along with four appearances at the Olympics Games, in his 20 years of international competition.
Also on the final day of competition may be one of the finest wrestlers in the world today, Roman VLASOV (RUS), facing one of the toughest fields ever assembled at 74kg. Welterweight entries include three Olympic Games gold medalists, a silver medalist and four bronze medalists.
The Greco-Roman competition gets under way on Friday, September 20, as the bantamweights (55kg) take to the mats with the final two categories of the women’s freestyle competition.
Again, the locals will have their favorite to cheer for in London 2012 bronze medalist Peter MODOS (HUN). Defending champion Rovshan BAYRAMOV (AZE) will try for a second world title while 2010 and 2011 silver medalists CHOI Gyu-Jin (KOR) and Elbek TAZHYIEV (BLR) will press for upgrades.
On the second day of Greco-Roman, Hungary’s most recent world champion Balasz KISS (HUN) will seek a second world title at 96kg after his success in 2009. European champion Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) and Universiade gold medalist Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) present huge obstacles.
Also on the second day, wrestlers at 60kg and 84kg will have a chance to strut their stuff. The field at 60kg is wide open with no clear favorites, while 84kg has a pair of world champions in Alexej MISHIN (RUS) and Selcuk CEBI (TUR). MISHIN was also the gold medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Joining the veterans at 84kg will be Olympic bronze medalist Damian JANIKOWSKI (POL) and Viktor LORINCZ (HUN), the younger brother of Tamas and winner of the German Grand Prix and Pytlasinski over the last 10 weeks.
The championships will feature the three Olympic styles of wrestling – men’s freestyle (September 16-18), women’s freestyle (September 18-20) and Greco-Roman (September 20-22).
Brief sketches of the individual categories in men’s freestyle:
55kg – Five-time world champion and London 2012 gold medalist Hamid SORYAN (IRI) is taking a year off but may return next year in time for the Asian Games in Korea. In the meantime, it may be a chance for defending champion Rovshan BAYRAMOV (AZE) to claim his second world crown.
European champion Elbek TAZHYIEV (BLR), the 2011 world runner-up, has led the FILA World Rankings all summer and 2010 silver medalist CHOI Gyu-Jin is back after winning the Asia championship in April. Ivan TATARINOV (RUS) has claimed titles at the Universiade and Vehbi Emre, which included a one-sided win over TAZHYIEV in the final.
60kg – Omid NOROOZI (IRI) is another world and Olympic champion missing in action. Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ) was the 2011 world silver medalist and Ivo ANGELOV (BUL) won the bronze medal in 2011 and this spring claimed the European crown in Tbilisi.
European runner-up Ivan KUYLAKOV (RUS) won the Universiade in July. KEBISPAYEV earned a bronze and Asia champion Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) was seventh after losing, 10-11, to his central Asian rival in the second round. Edward BARSEGJAN (POL) won two summer events, the German Grand Prix in June and the Pytlasinski Memorial in early August.
66kg – Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) has not lost since the finals of the London 2012 Olympic Games, winning the Hungarian Golden Grand Prix, the European championships and Pytlasinski leading up to the world championships.
Challenges could come from Rasul CHUNAYEV (AZE), who headlocked 2008 Olympic gold medalist Islambek ALBIEV (RUS) for the Universiade crown, 2011 bronze medal winner Pedro MULENS HERRERA (CUB) or Pytlasinski runner-up Frank STAEBLER (GER).
Cultural Note: CHUNAYEV’s victory dance, after securing the Universiade title with a technical fall over ALBIEV, became a Youtube sensation among wrestling fans.
74kg – Except for a bronze medal in the 2011 European championships, Roman VLASOV (RUS) has won every international tournament he has entered since 2006 – much like the wrestler who lent his name to VLASOV’s wrestling club in Novosibirsk – Alexander Karelin.
Challenges to VLASOV will come from Olympic gold medalists – Steeve GUENOT (FRA) and KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR) – and London silver medalist Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM). Hadi ALIZADEH POURNIA (IRI) was runner-up to KIM in the Asian championships and second to VLASOV at the Universiade.
GUENOT was the gold medalist at 66kg in Beijing 2008 and KIM defeated GUENOT in the 66kg semifinals on the way to his Olympic triumph in London.
84kg – European champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Alexej MISHIN (RUS) topped the FILA World Rankings for two months and two-time world champion Selcuk CEBI (TUR) took over in July. CEBI defeated a strong field that included 2012 Olympic gold medalist Alan KHUGAEV (RUS) at the Vehbi Emre Grand Prix in February.
Damian JANIKOWSKI (POL) was the world runner-up in 2011 and won a bronze medal in London. JANIKOWSKI, however, lost, 0-3, in the Pytlasinski finals to Viktor LORINCZ (HUN), who also defeated CEBI, 2-0, in his first bout in Warsaw.
96kg – The Universiade final won by Ivan Poddubny winner Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) over London 2012 bronze medalist Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) may well have been a preview of the world championships final. ALEKSANYAN is the only Olympic medalist entered at 96kg and MELNIKOV defeated Olympic silver medalist Rustam TOTROV (RUS) in the Russian nationals.
Balasz KISS (HUN) was the world champion 2009 and comes into the championships fresh from a win in Warsaw, Cenk ILDEM (TUR) was bronze medalist in Istanbul in 2011 and at the European championships in March.
Vladislav METODIEV (BUL) was runner-up in the European championships and Pytlasinski, while Marthin Hamlet NIELSEN (NOR) has won a complete set of medals in his last three tournaments, including gold in the Grand Prix of Spain.
120kg – Olympic bronze medalists Riza KAYAALP (TUR) and Johan Magnus EUREN (SWE) appear on a collision course for Budapest. KAYAALP has won the European championships and the Universiade; Euren has prevailed in the German Grand Prix and Pytlasinski Memorial. KAYAALP is 2-0 against EUREN at the 2010 worlds and the 2011 European championships.
In addition to the two Olympic bronze medalists, Heiki NABI (EST) was the silver medalist in London. KAYAALP was also the surprise winner over Mijain LOPEZ NUNEZ in the world championship finals in 2011. Asia champion Nurmakhan TINALIEV (KAZ) was a world bronze medalist in 2010.
Schedule for the World Wrestling Championships
September 16, Monday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FS 55kg, 66kg, 96kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FS 55kg, 66kg, 96kg
September 17, Tuesday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FS 60kg, 84kg, 120kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FS 60kg, 84kg, 120kg
September 18, Wednesday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FS 74kg, FW 48kg, 51kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FS 74kg, FW 48kg, 51kg
September 19, Thursday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FW 55kg, 59kg, 63kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FW 55kg, 59kg, 63kg
September 20, Friday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: FW 67kg, 72kg, GR 55kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: FW 67kg, 72kg, GR 55kg
September 21, Saturday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: GR 60kg, 84kg, 96kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: GR 60kg, 84kg, 96kg
September 22, Sunday
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Elimination rounds and repechage: GR 66kg, 74kg, 120kg
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Finals and awards ceremonies: GR 66kg, 74kg, 120kg