Ellis Coleman after winning the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in State College, Pa.
Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors

Ellis Coleman after winning the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in State College, Pa.


Roberts, Coleman, Bey staring down deep Greco-Roman brackets at World Olympic Games Qualifier

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

ISTANBUL, Turkey – The U.S. sends three Greco-Roman entrants into the World Olympic Games Qualifier on Thursday morning—Dalton Roberts at 60 kg, Ellis Coleman at 67 kg and Kamal Bey at 77 kg. All three are U.S. Army WCAP teammates and U.S. Olympic Team Trials champions.

The festivities in Istanbul will decide the final set of countries qualified to compete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France. The top three finishers per weight class earn a coveted quota for his or her nation in Paris. For the rest, it’s a long four-year wait for another attempt at the sport’s highest honor. The U.S. has qualified the three heaviest Greco-Roman weights for the Paris Games. The Olympic dream for the three American lightweights passes through Istanbul.

Let’s take a deeper look at the Greco-Roman weight classes of interest for those following Team USA. Each weight class preview is based on the preliminary entry list provided by United World Wrestling. Final entries are subject to change pending weigh-ins.

Dalton Roberts, 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion at 60 kg (Photo by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling)

Greco-Roman 60 kg

U.S. entry – Dalton Roberts (Fountain, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)

The class of the 60 kg Greco-Roman bracket comes from Azerbaijan—Reigning European champion and returning World silver medalist at 63 kg Murad Mammadov is a near lock to capture one of the three Olympic quotas. Mammadov did not compete at the European Olympic Games Qualifier, an honor that went to 60 kg European champion Nihat Mammadli, who failed to place in the top two.

Mammadov has seen success at every age-level, holding a U17 World gold medal, two U20 World gold medals, a U23 World silver medal and a World bronze medal at 60 kg in 2021 to go along with his runner-up finish in Belgrade, Serbia, last year.

Serbia’s standout Georgij Tibilov, who picked up a World bronze medal in his home nation at 63 kg last year, is the other returning World medalist in the field. He was defeated by Mammadov in the 2023 World semifinals, 4-1.

A pair of medalists from last year’s U23 World Championships are among the expected entrants here—Sumit Sumit of India and Individual Neutral Athlete Hleb Makaranka, formerly of Belarus. Sumit is a three-time age-group World medalist with two such performances in 2023. Makarenko made the 63 kg finals in Tirana, Albania, at last year’s U23 Worlds. The two were at different weights in Albania, and thus, did not meet.

Makaranka finished one match away from earning an Olympic quota at the European Olympic Games Qualifier. He was defeated by former World champion Victor Ciobanu of Moldova by six points in the semifinal qualification match.

2020 European champion Gevorg Gharibyan of Armenia is an experienced name to watch. He holds two European medals and has qualified for two bronze medal bouts at the Senior World Championships, falling to fifth place both times. Gharibyan picked up a notable 8-4 win over U.S. entrant Dalton Roberts at the 2021 World Championships.

Roberts holds a nice amount of momentum after his performance in State College, dethroning two-time Olympian Ildar Hafizov in the championship series. He was a Pan American champion in 2023 and is experienced on the World stage with two Senior World Championships and four age-group World Team’s under his belt. It has been 10 months since Roberts hit an international tournament, which presents the classic rest versus rust scenario for U.S. fans to keep an eye on.

There are no past Olympians registered in the 60 kg field. If the same Roberts that showed up at Trials makes an appearance in Istanbul, there is a good chance he can push for a spot in the top three.

Ellis Coleman, 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion at 67 kg (Photo by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling)

Greco-Roman 67 kg

U.S. entry – Ellis Coleman (Fountain, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)

Four Olympians are in the mix at 67 kg, paving the way for perhaps the toughest path to Olympic qualification on the Greco-Roman side for the U.S. contingent.

Two-time Olympian Hansu Ryu of Korea, who finished in fifth place at the Rio Olympics and in seventh place at the Tokyo Olympics, is atop the list of landmines in the bracket. Ryu is a two-time World champion, four-time Asian champion and two-time Asian Games champion, albeit he hasn’t made a World podium since 2017.

Ryu entered the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier and was taken out in the opening round by 2022 U23 World bronze medalist Kyotaro Sogabe of Japan, 9-0. Sogabe went on to grab the qualification spot for Japan. It remains to be seen what version of Ryu will show up in Istanbul. Father time may have caught up with the Korean great.

Ramaz Zoidze of Georgia and Etienne Kinsinger of Germany both competed at the Tokyo Olympics, Zoidze earning fifth place and Kinsinger placing 11th. As a past World bronze medalist, U23 World runner-up, two-time U20 World champion and three-time U17 World medalist, Zoidze has the track record to indicate he is a top contender for one of the final three spots in this weight class. Kinsinger holds a pair of age-group World medals as well but hasn’t performed at that level for the better part of a decade.

Resurgent American Ellis Coleman is the fourth Olympian entered in the field. He competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, and is a four-time U.S. World Team member. Coleman scored two U20 World bronze medals in 2010-11 prior to his Olympic appearance at age 20. After a near five-year layoff from international competition, Coleman is a complete wild card at this event.

The strongest contender, at least in terms of recent success on the World stage, is Turkey’s Selcuk Can, who has bagged bronze medals at the previous two World Championships up at 72 kg. He is the reigning European champion at 72 kg and is a three-time European medalist. Can made the quarterfinals of the European Olympic Games Qualifier before being stopped by eventual finalist Mamadassa Sylla of France in a somewhat surprising result, 8-1.

2019 U20 World champion and 2023 European bronze medalist Abu Amaev of Bulgaria, plus Individual Neutral Athlete’s Aliaksandr Liavonchik, formerly of Belarus, and Aslan Visaitov, formerly of Russia, are additional contenders to watch.

Kamal Bey, 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion at 77 kg (Photo by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling)

Greco-Roman 77 kg

U.S. entry – Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army WCAP)

The 77 kg Greco-Roman bracket will be predictably unpredictable as there are upwards of 10-to-12 athletes who could emerged with one of the three Olympic quotas. Matchups are always important in this sport, but this weight class especially.

Two Olympians return to the fold with hopes of a second Olympic appearance on the mind. 2017 World champion and five-time European medalist Viktor Nemes of Serbia, who took eighth place at the Rio Olympics, and 2019 World bronze medalist Aik Mnatsakanian of Bulgaria, a Tokyo Olympian, have the necessary experience to navigate the field in Turkey.

2022 World silver medalist and two-time European medalist Zoltan Levai of Hungary makes a strong case to be among the favorites here. He scored bronze medals at three-straight U20 World Championships from 2014 to 2016 and was a U17 World bronze medalist in 2011. Levai fell in the semifinal qualification match of the European Olympic Games Qualifier to Jonni Sarkkinen of Finland, 9-0.

The other European Olympic Games Qualifier semifinal loser was 2023 U23 World champion Alexandrin Gutu of Moldova. He was ousted in a spectacle, 10-8, match by 2022 World champion Burhan Akbudak of Turkey with the Olympic quota on the line. Gutu is an emerging star on the Senior level. He holds six age-group World medals with titles on the U23 and U17 levels.

Other foreign contenders to keep an eye on are 2016 World bronze medalist Ilie Cojocari of Romania, 2021 U23 World champion Idris Ibaev of Germany, and Asian bronze medalists Vikas Vikas of India and Rui Liu of China. Of note, Liu took out Vikas by fall at the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier.

The U.S. will be represented by the always entertaining Kamal Bey, a three-time Senior World Team member and U20 World champion. Bey posted a solid 2023 season with gold medal wins at the Pan American Championships and Pan American Games.

Bey has competed at the previous two Paris Olympic qualifying events for Team USA. He finished in 10th place at the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, landing five spots shy of Olympic qualification status. In addition, Bey finished one win shy of qualifying the weight at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico, falling in the semifinal round.

He has recent results against four names listed above. Bey picked up a 7-3 win over Levai at the 2023 Polyk Imre & Varga Janos Memorial. On the flip side, Bey was upended by Gutu in the repechage of last year’s World Championships on criteria, 3-3. He was also defeated by Nemes, 4-0, at the 2020 World Championships. At the 2023 Zagreb Open, Bey was leading Liu by four points before defaulting from the match due to injury.

Throw all the 77 kg names in a hat and see what comes out. The good news for U.S. fans, Bey is squarely in the mix to grab an Olympic quota at this weight.

Follow Team USA in Turkey

The World Olympic Games Qualifier will be held at Istanbul’s Başakşehir Gençlik ve Spor Tesisleri, May 9-12. Greco-Roman will kick off the festivities on Thursday, followed by women’s freestyle on Friday and men’s freestyle on Saturday. Each style will wrestle over the course of two days. A complete schedule of events can be found below.

The U.S. audience can watch the event live on Flowrestling.com starting at 10 a.m. local time/3 a.m. (ET) each day. Brackets and real-time results will be available on UWW Arena.

For more information about the World Olympic Games Qualifier please visit the official event website at uww.org. USA Wrestling will provide complete coverage of the event on TheMat.com and its social media platforms. Join the conversation using #WrestleIstanbul.

Event Schedule

10 a.m. – Preliminary rounds (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)

6 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)

10 a.m. – Repechage (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg), Preliminary rounds (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)

4:45 p.m. – Bronze medal matches (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)

6 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)

8:30 p.m. – True-bronze medal matches (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)

10 a.m. – Repechage (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg), Preliminary rounds (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)

4:45 p.m. – Bronze medal matches (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)

6 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)

8:30 p.m. – True-bronze medal matches (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)

3 p.m. – Repechage (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)

4:45 p.m. – Bronze medal matches (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)

6 p.m. – True-bronze medal matches (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)

*All times listed are local to Istanbul, Turkey, which is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time.