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Taylor reaches men’s freestyle semifinals at Olympic Games; Gilman loses to World champion in opener

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

David Taylor (USA) gets a leg attack on Myles Amine (San Marino) in the Olympic Games 86 kg quarterfinals. Photo by John Sachs,

MAKUHARI, Chiba, Japan - David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) won his first two bouts at 86 kg by technical fall in men’s freestyle to power into Wednesday night’s semifinals at the Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe Hall A..

In the first round, Taylor dismantled four-time World medalist Ali Shabanau of Belarus, 11-0. Taylor led 3-0 at the break on a step out and a takedown. In the second period, he converted a takedown and a turn for a 7-0 lead. A four-point double leg finished off the technical fall.

In the second round, Taylor took out the No. 3 seed, American-born Myles Amine of San Marino. Taylor, a star at Penn State, battled Amine, who wrestled for Michigan. Amine scored first on a takedown, then Taylor reeled off 10 straight points. It started with a crotch lift for two points, and then he added four more takedowns for the 10-point margin of victory.

Taylor, who was unseeded, will battle No. 2 seed Deepak Punia of India in the semifinals. Punia, a 2019 World silver medalist, is a past Cadet and Junior World champion.

The semifinals round will begin at 6:15 p.m. local time, which is 5:15 a.m. in the U.S. Eastern time zone. Fans can watch the action live on the Olympic Channel.

In 2018, Taylor won gold in his first World Championships appearance and was named UWW’s Men’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year. The next spring, Taylor suffered a season-ending injury, which ultimately kept him out of the 2019 Worlds. Taylor’s comeback began in 2020 when he earned gold at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier to qualify the USA for the Tokyo Games. Taylor hails from St. Paris, Ohio, and competed collegiately at Penn State.

2017 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) does not yet know his fate, after losing his opening match at 57 kg,

Gilman dropped a heartbreaking 5-4 decision to two-time defending World champion and No. 2 seed Zaur Uguev of ROC in the opening round. The match was not decided until the last few seconds.

Ugaev scored first when Gilman was put on the shot clock and did not score in 30 seconds. Gilman scored a pushout late in the first period to tie it at 1-1. In the second period, Ugaev scored a takedown to lead 3-1. Gilman made it 3-2 with a step out. Gilman scored a takedown with 46 seconds left to lead 4-3. The athletes got in a weird scramble as time ran down, but Ugaev was able to score two points on an exposure with five seconds to go for the 5-4 win.

For Gilman to qualify for Thursday’s repechage rounds, Ugaev must reach the gold-medal finals. In the quarterfinals, it appeared that Ugaev would lose to Gulomjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan, trailing 6-4 as time was running out. Ugaev hit a slick inside trip for a takedown with just five seconds left to tie it at 6-6 and win on criteria. Ugaev will battle Reza Atrinagharchi of Iran in tonight’s semifinals.

Gilman represented the U.S. at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships. In his World debut, he secured the silver medal, and in 2018, he advanced to a medal match, but lost for a fifth-place finish. At the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier, Gilman beat out U23 World champion Reineri Andreu Ortega of Cuba to earn a quota spot for the USA. In the Olympic Trials, Gilman secured his spot on the Olympic Team, defeating 2019 Junior World silver medalist Vitali Arujau in the Olympic Trials finals. Originally from Omaha, Neb., Gilman was a star for the University of Iowa.

Note, Stevan Micic of Serbia, the No. 1 seed at 57 kg and a wrestler for Michigan and Northwestern, was defeated in the opening match by 2017 World champion Yuki Takahashi of Japan, 7-0. Takahashi was beaten in the next round, eliminating Micic from the event.

Group One U.S. men’s freestyle results

57 kg – Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

LOSS Zaur Uguev (Russia), 5-4

86 kg – David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Ali Shabanau (Belarus), tech. fall 11-0

WIN Myles Amine (San Marino), tech fall 12-2

Semifinals – Vs Deepak Punia (India)

Group 1 men’s freestyle semifinal pairings

57 kg

Nurislam Sanayev (Kazakhstan) vs. Kumar Ravi (India)

Reza Atrinagharchi (Iran) vs. Zavur Ugaev (Russia)

86 kg

Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran) vs. Artur Naifonov (Russia)

David Taylor (USA) vs. Deepak Punia (India)