Kamal Bey on the attack in the 77 kg Olympic Qualification Playoff Match at the 2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier.
Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

Kamal Bey on the attack in the 77 kg Olympic Qualification Playoff Match at the 2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier.


Bey ends remarkable run in Istanbul one win shy of Paris Olympic qualification

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

Watch: World Olympic Games Qualifier Interviews

ISTANBUL, Turkey – In one of the more remarkable days in recent U.S. Greco-Roman history, Kamal Bey catapulted himself through a gauntlet of desperate international foes to earn a bronze medal at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. Unfortunately, his otherworldly run fell short in the Olympic Qualification Playoff, leaving Bey on the outside looking in for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

Bey, who recently won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at 77 kg, rallied from a tough day one at Istanbul’s Başakşehir Gençlik ve Spor Tesisleri where he lost his only match 8-0 to Individual Neutral Athlete Sergei Kutuzov of Russia. With Kutuzov making the finals and qualifying for the Paris Olympics, Bey was presented a second chance to solidify himself as an Olympian.

The three-time U.S. Senior World Team member and 2017 U20 World champion from Oak Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, was defeated by 2022 World silver medalist and two-time European medalist Zoltan Levai of Hungary, 3-0, in the deciding Olympic Qualification Playoff, a special match held between the two bronze medal winners in each weight class.  

The match was a frustrating one for the American side as Levai held position well throughout, continuing to take ground and put Bey on the defensive. This strategy gave Levai the edge in passivity calls, 2-0, one in each period. During the first par terre exchange, Levai executed a lift going out-of-bounds, which Bey defended well only giving up a step out point. Bey shut Levai down in the second period par terre go. Down 3-0 in the final minute, Bey started his final sprint but couldn’t land one of his powerful strikes, ending his hopes of a trip to Paris.

The win by Levai reversed a 7-3 loss to Bey from the 2023 Polyak Imre and Varga Janos Memorial, which is held in Levai’s home territory of Budapest, Hungary.

To make it to the “true third” contest, Bey had to take care of business in the repechage rounds held Friday morning. He picked up strong wins over Tsimur Berdyieu, an Individual Neutral Athlete from Belarus and Per Albin Olofsson of Sweden to qualify for the bronze medal match in the bottom half bracket.

His bronze medal match opponent Iuri Lomadze of Georgia, who made the semifinals yesterday before losing to Kutuzov, 5-2, was a bronze medalist at the 2024 European Championships. Bey held off a late Lomadze storm to secure the bronze medal and a place in the culminating Olympic playoff match.

Similar to his match with the Hungarian, Bey was put down due to passivity once in each period and fought off the Georgian’s top arsenal both times. Bey built a 5-1 lead by countering a Lomadze lift attempt to his back, with the added aid of a Lomadze defensive leg foul. Lomadze didn’t relent and nearly got Bey at the end of the match with a slick duck under attack. The match was a thriller that went in the American’s favor, 5-4.

Bey was the only American to take the mats on Friday in Istanbul. Fellow U.S. Olympic Team Trials champions and U.S. Army WCAP teammates Dalton Roberts and Ellis Coleman fell short of qualifying on day one and were not pulled into the repechage rounds.

With the results from the final Olympic qualifying event in hand, the U.S. Greco-Roman team ends the qualifying process with three athletes headed to the Paris Olympics—Payton Jacobson at 87 kg, Joe Rau at 97 kg and Adam Coon at 130 kg.

Kamal Bey Olympic Playoff Match #WrestleIstanbul

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Dating back to the 2000 Olympic qualifying process, only three Americans have medaled in Greco-Roman at the last Olympic qualifying event and competed at the subsequent Olympic Games. James Gruenwald and Matt Lindland both won gold at the Olympic Qualifier held in Alexandria, Egypt, prior to the 2020 Sydney Olympics. Jesse Thielke pulled off a silver medal win at the Olympic Qualifier held in Istanbul, Turkey, in advance of the 2016 Rio Games. Lindland went on to earn a silver medal. Gruenwald and Thielke fell short of the Olympic podium.

The action from Istanbul continues Saturday morning with the start of men’s freestyle. Taking the mats are U.S. Olympic Team Trials champions Spencer Lee at 57 kg and Zain Retherford at 65 kg.

The U.S. audience can watch the World Olympic Games Qualifier live on Flowrestling.com starting at 10 a.m. local time/3 a.m. (ET). 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.

2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier | May 9-12, Istanbul, Turkey

Greco-Roman Results

Top Three Finishers/Olympic Qualifiers
60 kg

Finalist – Sadyk Lalaev (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Finalist – Murad Mammadov (Azerbaijan)

Bronze – Georgij Tibilov (Serbia)

67 kg

Finalist – Valentin Petic (Moldova)

Finalist – Ramaz Zoidze (Georgia)

Bronze – Mohamed Elsayed (Egypt)

77 kg

Finalist – Aik Mnatsakanian (Bulgaria)

Finalist – Sergei Kutuzov (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Bronze – Zoltan Levai (Hungary)

87 kg

Finalist – Kiryl Maskevich (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Finalist – Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan)

Bronze – Arkadiusz Kulynycz (Poland)

97 kg

Finalist – Arvi Savolainen (Finland)

Finalist – Artur Sargsian (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Bronze – Uzur Dzhuzupbekov (Kyrgyzstan)

130 kg

Finalist – Sabah Shariati (Azerbaijan)

Finalist – Alin Alexuc Ciurariu (Romania)

Bronze – Pavel Hlinchuk (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Bronze Medal Playoff/Olympic Qualification Matches
60 kg

Georgij Tibilov (Serbia) dec. Razvan Arnaut (Romania), 5-2

67 kg

Mohamed Elsayed (Egypt) tech. fall Din Koshkar (Kazakhstan), 8-0

77 kg

Zoltan Levai (Hungary) dec. Kamal Bey (United States), 3-0

87 kg

Arkadiusz Kulynycz (Poland) dec. Lasha Gobadze (Georgia), 3-2

97 kg

Uzur Dzhuzupbekov (Kyrgyzstan) dec. Lucas Lazogianis (Germany), 8-4

130 kg

Pavel Hlinchuk (Individual Neutral Athlete) dec. Heiki Nabi (Estonia), 4-2

Bronze Medal Matches
60 kg

Georgij Tibilov (Serbia) dec. Dahyun Kim (Korea), 8-1

Razvan Arnaut (Romania) dec. Michal Tracz (Poland), 4-0

67 kg

Mohamed Elsayed (Egypt) tech. fall Etienne Kinsinger (Germany), 8-0

Din Koshkar (Kazakhstan) tech. fall Lei Li (China), 10-0

77 kg

Zoltan Levai (Hungary) dec. Rui Liu (China), 2-1

Kamal Bey (United States) dec. Iuri Lomadze (Georgia), 5-4

87 kg

Arkadiusz Kulynycz (Poland) dec. Turpal Bisultanov (Denmark), 6-5

Lasha Gobadze (Georgia) dec. Alex Kessidis (Sweden), 3-3

97 kg

Uzur Dzhuzupbekov (Kyrgyzstan) tech. fall Yuri Nakazato (Japan), 9-0

Lucas Lazogianis (Germany) fall Vladen Kozliuk (Ukraine), 5:19

130 kg

Pavel Hlinchuk (Individual Neutral Athlete) dec. Mantas Knystautas (Lithuania), 6-5

Heiki Nabi (Estonia) tech. fall Sota Okumura (Japan), 10-0

U.S. Greco-Roman Results

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

LOSS Viktor Petryk (Ukraine), 11-6

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

WIN Aliaksandr Liavonchyk (Individual Neutral Athlete), 1-1

LOSS Andreas Vetsch (Switzerland), 8-1

77 kg – Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army WCAP), Bronze Medal / True 4th

LOSS Sergei Kutuzov (Individual Neutral Athlete), tech. fall, 8-0

WIN Tsimur Berdyieu (Individual Neutral Athlete), tech. fall, 9-1

WIN Per Albin Olofsson (Sweden), 7-1

WIN Iuri Lomadze (Georgia), 5-4

LOSS Zoltan Levai (Hungary), 3-0