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Olympic Games preview at 57 kg in men’s freestyle: World champs Ugaev, Takahashi to face deep field of World medalists

by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling

Thomas Gilman of the USA at the 2017 World Championships, where he won a silver medal.

Date of draw: Aug. 3
Dates of competition: Aug. 4-5

Team USA entry: Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

The road to the 57 kg Olympic crown will be a tough one for any athlete as all four medalists from the 2019 World Championships will be in the field, including two-time defending World champion Zavur Uguev of Russia, who will enter Tokyo as the No. 2 seed. In addition to his two-consecutive World titles, Uguev added an Individual World Cup gold medal to his resume last December, outscoring his competition 45-1. In his last 15 international appearances, Uguev collected 12 gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze.

The other 2019 World medalists in the mix are silver medalist and No. 2 seed Suleyman Atli of Turkey, bronze medalist and No. 4 seed Ravi Kumar of India and bronze medalist Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan.

Leading into his second-straight Olympic Games, Atli collected two World medals this quad with a 2018 World bronze in addition to his 2019 finals run. Atli, who was a 2013 Junior World champion, heads into Tokyo fresh off a European Championships gold-medal performance.

Kumar shook up the 57 kg field in 2019 in his Senior World debut, defeating 2017 World champion Yuki Takahashi en route to a bronze medal, securing a spot in the Olympic Games and the No. 4 seed. Though it was his Senior debut, his performance was not much of a surprise as he is also a Junior and U23 World silver medalist. He most recently won the Asian Championships in April.

Kazakhstan’s Sanayev is a two-time World medalist, winning silver in 2018 and a bronze in 2019 at the weight. He’s been on a roll lately, winning two pre-Olympic tournaments, including the Matteo Pellicone and the Dan Kolov International. He heads into his second-consecutive Olympics, taking 12th at the Rio Games in 2016. Sanayev competed for Russia from 2012 through 2013 before switching his nationality to Kazakhstan. He holds the No. 5 ranking in the world.

In addition to the 2019 World medalists in the field, there are also three other medalists from the quad, who are expected to compete, including 2017 World champion Yuki Takahashi (Japan), 2017 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman (USA) and 2017 World bronze medalist Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia).

Takahashi’s win in 2017 made him the first World gold medalist in freestyle since 1981. He followed it up with a bronze-medal win at the 2018 World Championships. To qualify for the Tokyo Games, Takahashi won the World Qualifier in Sofia in May and later defeated 2016 Olympic silver medalist Rei Higuchi in a wrestle-off.

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. For the World Team spot in 2019, Gilman fell to rising star Daton Fix for a chance to compete in Nur-Sultan. Months later 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.

Erdenebat heads into his second Olympic Games with a 2017 World bronze medal and a seventh-place finish at the 2019 World Championships. Prior to this quad, Erdenebat was a 2015 World bronze medalist and a 2012 Junior World champion.

Holding the No. 1 seed at 57 kg is American-born Stevan Micic, who will represent Serbia. He earned his spot in Tokyo by way of a fifth-place finish at the 2019 World Championships. Since he began representing Serbia in 2018, the University of Michigan wrestler has been a medal contender at every international appearance. He has collected two bronze medals at the European Championships as well as a silver medal at the 2019 European Games. Micic also owns two Ranking Series gold medals. His international success dates back to 2015, when he earned a Junior World bronze medal, competing for the USA.

The 57 kg brackets will be released on Aug. 3 with competition taking place on Aug. 4-5.


NO. 1 SEED - 2019 World fifth place – Serbia (Stevan Micic)

NO. 2 SEED - 2019 World champion – Russia (Zavur Uguev)

NO. 3 SEED - 2019 World silver medalist – Turkey (Suleyman Atli)

NO. 4 SEED - 2019 World bronze medalist – India (Kumar Ravi)

2019 World bronze medalist – Kazakhstan (Nurislam Sanayev)

2019 World fifth place –Iran (Reza Ahmadali Atrinagharchi)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion –Guinea-Bissau (Diamantino Iuna Fafe)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Algeria (Abdelhak Kherbache)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – United States (Thomas Gilman)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Colombia (Oscar Eduardo Tigeros Urbano)

2021 European Olympic Qualifier champion – Armenia (Arsen Harutyunyan)

2021 European Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Bulgaria (Georgi Vangelov)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier champion – Uzbekistan (Gulomjon Abdullaev)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up – China (Minghu Liu)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier champion – Japan (Yuki Takahashi)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier runner-up – Mongolia (Bekhbayar Erdenbat)


2019 World Championships

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Gold – Zavur Uguev (Russia); Silver – Suleyman Atli (Turkey); Bronze – Nurislam Sanayev (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Ravi Kumar (India); 5th – Stevan Micic (Serbia); 5th – Reza Atrinagharchi (Iran); 7th – Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia); 8th – Givi Davidovi (Italy); 9th – Oscar Tigreros Urbano (Colombia); 10th – Yuki Takahashi (Japan)

2018 World Championships

57 kg/125.5 lbs. - Gold - Zavur Uguev (Russia); Silver - Nurislam (Artas) Sanayev (Sanaa) (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Suleyman Atli (Turkey); Bronze - Yuki Takahashi (Japan); 5th - Thomas Gilman (USA); 5th - Reineri Andreu Ortega (Cuba); 7th - Giorgi Edisherashvili (Azerbaijan); 8th - Josh Failauga (American Samoa); Givi Davidovi (Italy); 10th - Sandeep Tomar (India)

2017 World Championships

57 kg/125.5 lbs. - Gold - Yuki Takahashi (Japan); Silver - Thomas Gilman (USA); Bronze –Andrey Yatsenko (Ukraine); Bronze – Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia); 5th - Hak-Jin Jong (North Korea); 5th - Vladimer Dubov (Bulgaria); 7th - Sandeep Tomar (India) ; 8th - Nodirjon Safarov (Uzbekistan); 9th - Sunggwon Kim (Korea); 10th - Givi Davidovi (Italy)

2016 Olympic Games

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Gold – Vladimer Khinchegahsvili (Georgia); Silver – Rei Higuchi (Japan); Bronze – Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Hassan Rahimi (Iran); 5th – Vladimir Dubov (Bulgaria); 5th – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba); 7th – Asadulla Lachinau (Belarus); 8th – Kyong-Il Yang (DPR Korea); 9th – Victor Lebedev (Russia); 10th – Adama Diatta (Senegal)

2015 World Championships

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Gold – Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia); Silver – Hassan Rahimi (Iran); Bronze – Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia); Bronze – Viktor Lebedev (Russia); 5th – Artas Sanaa (Kazakhstan); 5th – Hak Jin Jong (North Korea); 7th – Asadulia Lachinau (Belarus); 8th – Georgi Vangelov (Bulgaria); 9th – Yuki Takahashi (Japan); 10th – Zoheir El Ouarraqe (France)

2014 World Championships

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Gold – Kyong Il Yang (North Korea); Silver – Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia); Bronze – Uladzislau Andreyeu (Belarus); Bronze – Hassan Rahimi (Iran); 5th – Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia); 5th – Yuki Takahashi (Japan); 7th – Axmedmabi Guezzatilov (Azerbaijan); 8th – Mehmed Feraim (Bulgaria); 9th – Viktor Lebedev (Russia); 10th – Qi Mude (China)

2013 World Championships

55 kg/121 lbs. – Gold – Hassan Rahimi (Iran); Silver – Amit Kumar (India); Bronze – Sezar Akgul (Turkey); Bronze – Nariman Israpilov (Russia); 5th – Angel Escobedo (USA); 5th – Rasul Kaliyev (Kazakhstan); 7th – Zoheir El Ouarraqe (France); 8th – Altynbek Alymbaev (Kyrgyzstan); 9th – Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia); 10th – Giorgi Edisherashvili (Georgia)

2012 Olympic Games

55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold – Dzhamel Otarsulatnov (Russia); Silver – Vladimer Khinchagashvili (Georgia); Bronze – Kyong-Il Yang (North Korea); Bronze – Shinichi Yumoto (Japan); 5th – Daulet Niyazbekov (Kazakhstan); 5th – Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria); 7th – Mihran Jaburyan (Armenia); 8th – Hassan Rahimi (Iran); 9th – Ahmet Peker (Turkey); 10th – Amit Kumar (India)