|2007 World Championships preview at 60 kg/132 lbs. in Greco-Roman wrestling
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
American Joe Warren came virtually out of nowhere to win a 2006 World title in Greco-Roman at 60 kg/132 lbs.
With Warren not competing at the Worlds this year, don't be surprised if another wrestler emerges from relative obscurity to win this division in 2007.
But there is a long list of proven wrestlers at 60 kilos who may prevent that from happening.
Among them is Georgia's David Bedinadze, who lost to Warren in the closing seconds of the 2006 World finals. Bedinadze placed eighth at the 2007 European Championships.
Turkey's Emin Bunyamin and Russia's Vyacheslav Djaste are the returning bronze medalists in this division.
Roberto Monzon of Cuba, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and three-time World medalist, won the 2007 Pan American Games and has to be considered among the favorites in this division. Monzon was 10th in the 2006 Worlds.
Returning fifth-place finisher Eusebiu Diaconu of Romania is another wrestler who could be in the mix. Diaconu won a bronze medal in the 2005 World Championships and won the title at the 2007 European Championships.
2005 World silver medalist Ali Ashkani of Iran placed seventh at the 2006 World meet.
Another wrestler who can't be overlooked is Nurbakyt Tengibayev of Kazakhstan, who upset Warren in the finals of the 2007 Dave Schultz Memorial International.
Bulgaria's legendary Armen Nazarian, a two-time Olympic champion who won World titles in 2002, 2003 and 2005, also could contend. Nazarian placed third at the 2007 Dave Schultz event in Colorado Springs.
Norway's Stig Berge placed second at the 2007 European Championships.
Korea's Ho-Seon Moon won the 2007 Asian Championships.
Warren will be replaced in the U.S. lineup by Joe Betterman, who finished second at the 2007 U.S. Nationals and U.S. World Team Trials. The 23-year-old Betterman placed third in the 2007 Gedz Tournament in Serbia. Betterman is part of the U.S. Olympic Education Center program at Northern Michigan University.
Look for this to be an evenly contested weight class with no clear-cut favorite. With Warren out, any number of wrestlers could emerge here to win the gold medal.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2006 World Championships
60 kg/132 lbs. - Gold - Joe Warren (USA); Silver - David Bedinadze (Georgia); Bronze - Emin Bunyamin (Turkey); Bronze - Vyacheslav Djaste (Russia); 5th - Oleksiy Vakulenko (Ukraine); 5th - Eusebiu Diaconu (Romania); 7th - Ali Ashkani (Iran); 8th - Nurhakhyt Tengizbaev (Kazakhstan); 9th - Heinz Mamette (Germany); 10th - Roberto Monzon (Cuba)
2005 World Championships
60 kg/ 132 lbs. - Gold - Armen Nazarian (Bulgaria); Silver - Ali Askhani (Iran); Bronze - Eusebiu Diaconu (Romania); Bronze - Peter Svehla (Czech Republic); 5th - Vahan Juharyan (Armenia); 5th - Laszlo Kliment (Hungary); 7th - Oleksei Vakulenko (Ukraine); 8th - Dilshod Aripov (Uzbekistan); 9th - Joe Warren (USA); 10th - Makoto Sasamoto (Japan)
2004 Olympic Games
60 kg/ 132 lbs. - Gold - Ji Hyun Jung (Korea); Silver - Roberto Monzon (Cuba); Bronze - Armen Nazarian (Bulgaria); 4th - Alexey Shevtsov (Russia); 5th - Makato Sasamoto (Japan); 6th - Nurlan Koizhaiganov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Eusebiu Iancu Diacono (Romania); 8th - Seref Tufenk (Turkey); 9th - Akaki Chachua (Georgia); 10th - Jim Gruenwald (USA)
2003 World Championships
60 kg/ 132 lbs. - Gold - Armen Nazarian (Bulgaria) dec. Roberto Monzon (Cuba), 6-2; Bronze - Eusebiu Diaconu (Romania) win by injury default over Jim Gruenwald (USA); 5th - Akaki Chachua (Georgia); 6th - Wlodzimierz Zawadzki (Poland); 7th - Bunyamin Emit (Turkey); 8th - Mohamed Ashraf (Egypt); 9th - Olexandr Khvoshch (Ukraine); 10th - Jurij Kohl (Germany)
2002 World Championships
60 kg/132 lbs. - Gold - Armen Nazarian (Bulgaria) dec. Wlodzimierz Zawadzki (Poland), 3-0; Bronze - Roberto Monzon Gonzalez (Cuba) dec. Oleksandr Khvosch (Ukraine), 3-0; 5th - Akaki Chachiya (Georgia); 6th - Asledin Khudoyberdiev (Uzbekistan); 7th - Ion Gaimer (Moldova); 8th - James Gruenwald (United States); 9th - Eusebiu Lancu Diaconu (Romania); 10th - Rustem Mambetov (Russia)