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Olympic Games preview at 60 kg in Greco-Roman: 2019 World champion Fumita aims for Olympic title on home soil

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

Ildar Hafizov of the USA tosses an opponent at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier.

Draw: Friday, July 31
Dates of Competition: Sunday, August 1 and Monday, August 2

U.S. representative: Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)

Returning World champion Keichiro Fumita will look to claim gold on his home turf at his first Olympic Games. In addition to his 2019 World title, Fumita also took top honors at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 U23 World Championships. Fumita, who is the No. 1 seed in the bracket, faced fierce competition domestically with 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shinobu Ota. However, Fumita cemented his spot with his 2019 World title. Ota also won Worlds in 2019, but he was competing at the non-Olympic weight class of 63 kg.

Fumita’s toughest challenger is Russia’s Sergey Emelin, who earned the No. 2 seed, ensuring the pair would not meet until the finals. Emelin is a 2018 World champion and the 2019 World runner-up to Fumita. In the World finals, Emelin rushed out to a 5-0 lead before Fumita stormed back with two four-point throws and a turn to claim the match 10-5. Emelin is a two-time European Championships gold medalist (2021, 2018) and a 2017 U23 World silver medalist. Emelin received the nod over Stepan Maryanyan, a three-time Senior World medalist. Maryanyan took bronze in 2017 at 59 kg, gold in 2018 at 63 kg and silver in 2019 also at 63 kg.

In October, Maryanyan dropped down to 60 kg and defeated Emelin in the Russian Cup finals, earing the right to represent Russia at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia later in December, where he ultimately finished second. However, Emelin was able to regain the Russian Federation’s favor, winning the Russian Championships in January, while Maryanyan took third.

Turkey’s Kerem Kamal is the No. 3 seed in the bracket. Kamal is one of the up-and-coming Greco-Roman stars and is massively decorated at the age-group levels, winning three Junior World titles (2017, 2018, 2019), two Cadet World silver medals (2015, 2016) and a 2018 U23 World bronze medal. Kamal competed in the 2018 and 2019 Senior World Championships while still being Junior eligible, logging 19th and 21st place finishes. More recently, Kamal began to find success on the Senior level, winning the European Olympic Qualifier in March and following it up with a runner-up performance at the 2021 European Championships, falling to Sergey Emelin in the finals, 4-1. Kamal also took silver at the 2020 European Championships.

Ali Reza Ayat Ollah Nejati of Iran, a 2019 World bronze medalist, is the No. 4 seed. Nejati, who won the International Ukrainian Tournament earlier this year, is a 2018 Junior World bronze medalist and a 2014 Cadet World bronze medalist.

The other 2019 World bronze medalist in the bracket is Kazakhstan’s Mirambek Ainagulov, who enters the tournament unseeded. Ainagulov is a 2017 World silver medalist and a 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist. His most recent result was a third-place performance at the Vehbi Emre & Hamit Kaplan Tournament in Istanbul Turkey, where he finished behind Kerem Kamal and Zholaman Sharshenbekov of Kyrgyzstan. Sharshenbekov, a 2018 World silver medalist at 55 kg, qualified for the Olympics by winning the Asian Qualifier. He is a 2019 U23 World silver medalist and a 2017 Junior World silver medalist. Additionally, he is a two-time Asian Championships silver medalist (2018, 2020). Most recently, he won the individual World Cup in December.

China’s Sailike Walihan finished runner-up at the Asian qualifier, solidifying his spot at the Olympics. Walihan is a 2018 World bronze medalist and a 2020 Matteo Pellicone champion.

2016 Olympic bronze medalist Elmurat Tasmuradov of Uzbekistan will be in the mix to earn his second Olympic medal at his third-straight Olympic appearance. Tasmuradov finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships to qualify for the Games. He is a three-time World medalist, finishing with bronze in 2013 and 2014 and silver in 2018. Tasmuradov most recently took third at the Poland Open competing two weight classes up at 67 kg. Earlier this year, he was all the way up at 72 kg for the Grand Prix of Zagreb, where he failed to place.

The other fifth-place finisher from the 2019 World Championships is Lenur Temirov of Ukraine. A 2012 Olympian, Temirov enters his second Olympic Games following a career resurgence this quad. In addition to his fifth-place finish at the 2019 Worlds, he also won bronze at the 2018 World Championships, which was his first Senior Worlds appearance since 2010 and so far the only World medal-winning performance of his career.

Moldova’s Victor Ciobanu was one of the final wrestlers to qualify, winning the Last Chance World Olympic qualifier. Ciobanu is a 2018 World silver medalist, a 2019 European Games bronze medalist and a 2019 European Championships gold medalist. The other wrestler to punch his ticket through the World Olympic Qualifier is 2019 U23 World champion Armen Melikan of Armenia. This will be the first time Melikan represents Armenia at a Senior-level World or Olympic Championship.

Cuba’s Luis Orta Sanchez claimed his Olympic spot by winning the Pan Am Qualifier. Orta Sanchez is a 2018 Central and Caribbean Games champion, a 2018 Pan Am Games bronze medalist and a 2019 Pan Am Championships gold medalist.

Ildar Hafizov finished runner-up at the Pan Am Qualifier, earning a berth for the United States. Hafizov is the most seasoned competitor on the U.S. Greco-Roman Team and has the unique honor of representing his second country at the Olympics. In 2008, Hafizov finished 11th competing for Uzbekistan. Hafizov was a three-time Senior World Team member and a 2011 Asian Championships silver medalist for Uzbekistan before moving to the United States. After immigrating, Hafizov joined the Army World Class Athlete Program. He nearly made the 2016 Olympic Team at 59 kg, finishing runner-up at the Olympic Team Trials to Jesse Thielke. Since then, he made World Teams in 2017 and 2019. He is a 2019 World Military Games bronze medalist, a 2019 Pan Am Games bronze medalist and a 2021 Pan Am Championships silver medalist.

Rounding out the field are Germany’s Etienne Kinsinger, a 2013 Cadet World champion and 2016 Junior World silver medalist, African Qualifier champion Haithem Mahmoud of Egypt, a 2019 and 2020 African Championships gold medalist and 2019 All African Games champion, and Algeria’s Abdelkarim Fergat, a 2018 Mediterranean Championships gold medalist and a 2019 and 2020 African Championships gold medalist at 55 kg.

Note: Starting July 9, USA Wrestling will be posting a weight class preview for the Olympic Games on a daily basis.

Greco-Roman 60 kg/132 lbs.

NO. 1 SEED - 2019 World champion - Japan (Kenichiro Fumita)

NO. 2 SEED - 2019 World silver medalist - Russia (Sergey Emelin)

NO. 3 SEED - 2021 European Olympic Qualifier champion – Turkey (Kerem Kamal)

NO. 4 SEED - 2019 World bronze medalist - Iran (Ali Reza Ayat Ollah Nejati)

2019 World bronze medalist - Kazakhstan (Mirambek Ainagulov)

2019 World fifth place - Ukraine (Lenur Temirov)

2019 World fifth place - Uzbekistan (Elmurat Tasmuradov)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – Cuba (Luis Orta Sanchez)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – United States (Ildar Hafizov)

2021 European Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Germany (Etienne Kinsinger)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion –Egypt (Haithem Mahmoud)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up –Algeria (Abdelkarim Fergat)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier champion – Kyrgyzstan (Zholaman Sharshenbekov)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up – China (Sailike Walihan)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier champion – Moldova (Victor Ciobanu)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier runner-up – Armenia (Armen Melikan)


2019 World Championships

60 kg/132 lbs. – Gold – Kenichiro Fumita (Japan); Silver – Sergey Emelin (Russia); Bronze – Mirambek Ainagulov (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Ali Reza Ayat Ollah Nejati (Iran); 5th – Lenur Temirov (Ukraine); 5th – Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzbekistan); 7th – Ivo Angelov (Bulgaria); 8th – Ivan Lizatovic (Croatia); 9th – Victor Ciobanu (Moldova); 10th - Razvan Arnaut (Romania)

2018 World Championships

59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold- Sergey Emelin (Russia); Silver – Victor Ciobanu (Moldova); Bronze – Aidos Sultangali (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Sailike Walihan (China); 5th – Kristian Fris (Serbia); 5th- Se Ung RI (North Korea); 7th – Kaly Sulaimnov (Kyrgyzstan); 8th – Etienne Kinsinger (Germany); 9th - Shinobu Ota (Japan); 10th - Firuz Tukhtaev (Uzbekistan)

2017 World Championships

59 kg/130 lbs. - Gold – Kenichiro Fumita (Japan); Silver - Mirambek Ainagulov (Kazakhstan); Bronze –Stepan Maryanyan (Russia); Bronze – Seung-Hak Kim (Korea) ; 5th - Kanybek Zholchubekov (Kyrgyzstan); 5th - Dmitriy Tsymbaliyuk (Ukraine); 7th - Taleh Mammadov (Azerbaijan); 8th - Mehrdad Abdmohammad Mardani (Iran); 9th - Gyanender (India); 10th - Erik Torba (Hungary)

2016 Olympic Games

59 kg/130 lbs. – Gold – Ismael Borrero Molina (Cuba); Silver – Shinobu Ota (Japan); Bronze – Stig-Andre Berge (Norway); Bronze - Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzbekistan); 5th – Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); 5th – Arsen Eraliev (Kyrgyzstan); 7th – Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan); 8th – Wang Lumin (China); 9th – Jesse Thielke (United States); 10th – Won Chol Yun (North Korea)

2015 World Championships

59 kg/130 lbs. – Gold – Ismael Borrero Molina (Cuba); Silver – Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Won Chol Yun (North Korea); Bronze – Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan); 5th – Arsen Eraliev (Kyrgyzstan); 5th – Soslan Daurov (Belarus); 7th – Seung-Hak Kim (Korea); 8th – Ivo Angelov (Bulgaria); 9th – Mate Krasznai (Hungary); 10th – Stig-Andre Berge (Norway)

2014 World Championships

59 kg/130 lbs. – Gold – Hamid Soryan (Iran); Silver – Mingiyan Semenov (Russia); Bronze – Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzbekistan); Bronze – Stig-Andre Berge (Norway); 5th – Ismael Borrero (Cuba); 5th – Spenser Mango (USA); 7th – Haithem Ahmed Fahmy (Egypt); 8th – Wang Lumin (China); 9th – Lee Jung-Baik (Korea); 10th – Taleh Mammadov (Azerbaijan)

2013 World Championships

60 kg/132 lbs. – Gold - Ivo Angelov (Bulgaria); Silver - Ivan Kuylakov (Russia); Bronze - Seung-Jae Woo (Korea); Bronze - Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzbekistan); 5th - Edward Barsegjan (Poland); 5th - Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan); 7th - Kazuma Kuramoto (Japan); 8th - Jesse Thielke (USA); 9th - Kristijan Fris (Serbia); 10th - Tarik Belmandi (France)

2012 Olympic Games

60kg/132 lbs. – Gold - Omid Noroozi (Iran); Silver - Revaz Lashki (Georgia); Bronze - Zaur Kuramagomedov (Russia); Bronze - Ryutaro Matsumoto (Japan); 5th - Hasan Aliyev (Azerbaijan); 5th - Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan); 7th - Ivo Angelov (Bulgaria); 8th - Ji-Hyun Jung (Korea); 9th - Tarik Belmadani (France); 10th - Jiang Sheng (China)