2023 World champion Zain Retherford practicing in advance of the 2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier in Istanbul, Turkey.
Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

2023 World champion Zain Retherford practicing in advance of the 2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier in Istanbul, Turkey.


Brackets set for Team USA at World Olympic Games Qualifier in Istanbul

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier Brackets For Team USA

ISTANBUL, Turkey – The final draws have been released by United World Wrestling for the 2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier set for May 9-12 in Istanbul, Turkey. Team USA will be represented in five weight classes, three Greco-Roman (60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg) and two men’s freestyle (57 kg, 65 kg), with athletes seeking a top-three finish to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Each bracket has four athletes seeded based on UWW ranking points. Kamal Bey is the only American to hold a seed, slotting in at No. 3 in the 77 kg Greco-Roman bracket.

In a slight change of format for this unique Olympic qualifying event there will be no gold medal matches wrestled. Athletes who win in the semifinals earn the Olympic quota for his or her country. Additionally, the usual repechage system will be implemented for wrestle-backs, with the twist of bronze medal winners entering a playoff for “true bronze” and the final Olympic quota.

Greco-Roman Outlook

Three U.S. Olympic Team Trials champions and U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program teammates spearhead the Greco-Roman effort in Turkey—Dalton Roberts at 60 kg, Ellis Coleman at 67 kg and Kamal Bey at 77 kg.

Roberts, a two-time U.S. World Team member and Pan American champion, opens his campaign with a round one matchup against Viktor Petryk of Ukraine, who was a bronze medalist at the 2021 European Championships and has competed at three Senior World Championships. Petryk’s highest placement at the World’s was 13th back in 2019.

Should Roberts navigate a couple early wins, he could see a rematch with No. 1 seed Gevorg Gharibyan of Armenia in the quarterfinals. Gharibyan topped Roberts 8-4 at the 2021 World Championships. The bottom side of Roberts half bracket features No. 4 seed Sadyk Lalaev, an Individual Neutral Athlete from Russia, U23 World medalist and Individual Neutral Athlete Hleb Makaranka from Belarus, and 2023 World bronze medalist Georgij Tibilov of Serbia, among others.

Coleman, a London Olympian, four-time U.S. World Team member and two-time U20 World bronze medalist, begins his run with a tough test against Aliaksandr Liavonchyk, an Individual Neutral Athlete from Belarus. Liavonchyk was runner-up at the 2019 U23 World Championships.

Two wins puts Coleman in the quarterfinals where he would likely face No. 4 seed Abu Amaev of Bulgaria, who is a 2019 U20 World champion and 2023 European bronze medalist. The semifinal round could bring a match against either No. 1 seed Krisztian Vancza of Hungary or Tokyo Olympian Etienne Kinsinger of Germany.

Bey, a three-time U.S. World Team member and 2017 U20 World champion, gets Individual Neutral Athlete Sergei Kutuzov, a 2021 World silver medalist from Russia, to open his tournament. He’d follow that up with a likely round two match against the other Individual Neutral Athlete in the field, Tsimur Berdyieu from Belarus, who has placed fifth at the Senior World Championships twice.

Also on Bey’s side of the bracket are 2017 World champion, five-time European medalist and Rio Olympian Viktor Nemes of Serbia, 2016 World bronze medalist Ilie Cojocari of Romania, Asian bronze medalist Vikas Vikas of India, and No. 2 seed Iuri Lomadze of Georgia, who earned bronze at the recent European Championships.

Men’s Freestyle Outlook

Olympic Trials champions representing the U.S. in men’s freestyle are three-time age-group World champion Spencer Lee at 57 kg and 2023 World champion Zain Retherford at 65 kg.

An opening round match against Morocco’s Ben Tarik should get Lee warmed up for a critical second-round match against the No. 1 seed, Wanhao Zou of China. Zou was a U23 World bronze medalist in 2018 and has finished in the top ten at the last two World Championships.

The quarterfinal round could pit Lee against Vladimir Egorov, a former Russian wrestling for Macedonia, who was a European champion in 2022. Lee’s final test could come from any number of athletes—2021 World silver medalist Alireza Sarlak of Iran or European bronze medalist Roberti Dingashvili of Georgia being the most likely to emerge as a semifinal opponent.

Retherford received a pigtail match and will need five wins to get through the semifinal round. He starts his day against Stefan Coman of Romania, with a win sending him to face Ibrahim Guzan of Yemen. The competition picks up in the Round-of-16 with Tokyo Olympian and 2021 World bronze medalist Tulga Tumur Ochir of Mongolia projected to be waiting in the wings.

No. 3 seed Abdulmazhid Kudiev, a former Russian representing Tajikistan, could await Retherford in the quarterfinals. In 2023, Kudiev won the U23 Asian Championships and was ninth at the Senior Worlds. Past U20 and U17 World champion Umidjon Jalolov of Uzbekistan, Rio Olympian Junsik Yun of Korea and 2022 U20 World bronze medalist Sujeet Sujeet of India are possible semifinal foes for Retherford.

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.

U.S. Greco-Roman Draws

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

VS Viktor Petryk (Ukraine)

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

VS Aliaksandr Liavonchyk (Individual Neutral Athlete)

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

VS Sergei Kutuzov (Individual Neutral Athlete)

U.S. Men’s Freestyle Draws

57 kg – Spencer Lee (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye WC/Titan Mercury WC)

VS Ben Tarik (Morocco)

65 kg – Zain Retherford (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

VS Stefan Coman (Romania)