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Gray reaches Olympics gold-medal finals after semifinal win over Kyzy; Hafizov pulled into repechage

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Adeline Gray of the USA celebrates after her semifinals win over Aiperi Medet Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan. Photo by John Sachs,

MAKUHARI, Chiba, Japan - Five-time World champion Adeline Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/New York AC) can add a new achievement to her Hall of Fame worthy resume – Olympic medalist.

Gray pounded her way into the Tokyo Olympics gold-medal finals with a tight 3-2 victory over Aiperi Medet Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan. Gray will face 2014 World champion Aline Rotter Focken of Germany in Monday’s gold medal match at Makuhari Messe Hall A.

Gray received the first point of the match when Kyzy was put on the shot clock for passivity and could not score in the required 30 seconds. Gray scored a second point when she got behind Kyzy and forced a step out to take a 2-0 lead to the break.

In the second period, there was an active scramble on the edge which ended up being waved off with no points. The Kyrgyzstan corner challenged, and after a review, the challenge was denied, giving Gray another point for a 3-0 lead. Kyzy scored a takedown to close it to 3-2 but was unable to turn Gray with an ankle lace. Gray closed out the final 15 seconds on her feet, and waved to the stands when time ran out.

Rotter Focken won the other semifinals with a 3-1 decision over Hiroe Minagawa of Japan. With her victory, Rotter Focken becomes Germany’s first women’s freestyle Olympic medalist.

Gray won two bouts in the morning session to reach the semifinals, pinning Zaineb Sghaier of Tunisia in 2:11, then stopping 2017 World champion Yasemin Adar of Turkey, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

This is Gray’s second Olympic appearance, after placing seventh at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gray won World titles in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019, and also boasts two World bronze medals. Gray also boasts University and Junior World titles. She is a native of Denver, Colo., and lives in Colorado Springs, Colo.

By making the finals, Gray becomes the sixth U.S. wrestler to earn an Olympic medal in women’s freestyle since the sport joined the Olympic program in 2004. The only U.S. woman wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal was Helen Maroulis in 2016.

The gold medal finals will be held Monday night at 7:30 p.m. local time in Japan. This is 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone, so her finals bout will be a t 6:30 a.m. in the Eastern time zone in the USA.

In Greco-Roman, U.S. wrestler Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) was pulled back into Monday’s repechage round at 60 kg, after the athlete who beat him on Sunday morning, Luis Orta Sanchez of Cuba, earned a spot in the gold-medal finals.

Orta Sanchez, who beat Hafizov 5-0 in the opening round, opened up his offense for an impressive 11-0 technical fall over Victor Ciobanu of Moldova. Only wrestlers who lose to a finalist are eligible for repechage.

Hafizov will face 2018 World champion Sergey Emelin of Russia in the repechage round on Monday morning. If Hafizov beats Emelin, he would face Ciobanu in a bronze-medal match. The repechage round will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday morning local time.

Hafizov competed for Team USA at the 2017 and 2019 Senior World Championships, and he was also second at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Before emigrating to the United States, Hafizov wrestled on three Senior World Teams for Uzbekistan, along with his 11th place finish at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.


At Tokyo, Japan, August 1, 2021

U.S. women’s freestyle results

76 kg – Adeline Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/New York AC)

WIN Zaineb Sghaier (Tunisia), pin 2:11

WIN Yasemin Adar (Turkey), 6-4

WIN Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan), 3-2

Gold-Medal finals – Vs. Aline Rotter Focken (Germany)

Women’s freestyle finals pairing

76 kg - Adeline Gray (USA) vs. Aline Rotter Focken (Germany)

Semifinal results

Adeline Gray (USA) dec. Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan), 3-2

Aline Rotter Focken (Germany) dec. Hiroe Minagawa (Japan), 3-1

U.S. Greco-Roman results

60 kg – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)

LOSS Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba), 5-0

Repechage – Vs. Sergey Emelin (Russia)

Greco-Roman finals pairings

60 kg - Kenichiro Fumita (Japan) vs. Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba)

130 kg - Mijian Lopez Nunez (Cuba) vs. Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia)

Greco-Roman Semifinals results

50 kg

Kenichiro Fumita (Japan) dec. Lenur Temirov (Ukraine), 5-1

Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba) tech fall Victor Ciobanu (Moldova), 11-0

130 kg

Mijian Lopez Nunez (Cuba) dec. Riza Kayaalp (Turkey), 2-0

Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia) dec. Yasmani Acosta Nunez (Chile), 1-1
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