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Sancho, Stefanowicz drop Greco-Roman Olympic openers; Stefanowicz may still have chance for repechage

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Alejandro Sancho (USA) pummels with Artem Surkov (RUS) at Olympic Games. Photo by John Sachs,

MAHURARI, Chiba, Japan - The two U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers who entered Olympic Games competition on Tuesday were defeated in their opening bouts, Alejandro Sancho (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) at 67 kg and John Stefanowicz (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marines) at 87 kg.

Based upon the results from the quarterfinals, only Stefanowicz still has a chance to get pulled into Wednesday’s repechage, while Sancho’s tournament has ended.

Stefanowicz, who was a member of the 2019 U.S. Senior World Team, was defeated in the first round by 2017 U23 World silver medalist Ivan Huklek of Croatia, by a 5-3 margin. Huklek scored all of his points in one sequence. After Stefanowicz was penalized one point for passivity and placed down, Huklek scored two lift and turn techniques to take a 5-0 lead. Stefanowicz scored a point on passivity then a gut wrench turn to secure three second period points but could not score again in the match.

Huklek came back to score a 4-1 decision over two-time Senior World medalist Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals, which keeps Stefanowicz’ hopes alive for repechage. Huklek must win his semifinal match against past World champion Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine for Stefanowicz to qualify for repechage.

Sancho was defeated in his opening match by 2018 World champion and No. 3 seed Artem Surkov of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), 10-4. Surkov jumped to a 5-0 lead in this match, but a Sancho four-pointer closed the lead t 5-4. After Sancho was put down with another passivity, Surkov added a pair of gut wrench turns to put the match out of reach.

However, Surkov lost his quarterfinal bout to three-time age group World medalist Parviz Nasibov of Ukraine in a 1-1 criteria decision, which eliminated Sancho from the tournament. Surkov needed to reach the finals for Sancho to compete in the repechage.

The USA did not have any Greco-Roman athletes in the repechage this morning. G’Angelo Hancock did not qualify for repechage at 97 kg in Greco-Roman, and the USA had no entry at 77 kg.

Group 3 U.S. Greco-Roman results

67 kg – Alejandro Sancho (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)

LOSS Artem Surkov (Russia), 10-4

87 kg – John Stefanowicz (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marines)

LOSS Ivan Huklek (Croatia), 5-3

Group 3 Greco-Roman semifinal pairings

67 kg

Ramaz Zoididze (Georgia) vs. Mohamedreza Geraei (Iran)

Parviz Nasibov (Ukraine) vs. Mohamed El Sayed (Egypt)

87 kg

Viktor Lorincz (Hungary) vs. Mohamed Metwally (Egypt)

Ivan Huklek (Croatia) vs, Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine)