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Hancock gets bronze medal in Greco-Roman at Senior World Championships; Vera not eligible for repechage

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

G'Angelo Hancock of the USA at the 2021 Senior Worlds.

OSLO, Norway – 2020 Olympian G’Angelo Hancock put together a tournament to proud of after winning a bronze medal at 97 kg in Greco-Roman on Saturday evening at Jordal Amfi.

Hancock, competing in his fourth Senior World Championships, defeated 2012 Junior World silver medalist Peter Oehler of Germany by injury default in 3:32 in his bronze-medal match.

Hancock scored first when Oehler was hit for passivity, taking a 1-0 lead. Hancock was not able to turn Oehler on top. Late in the first period, with Oehler attempting to push Hancock off the mat, Hancock executed a slick counter and scored a takedown on the edge for a 3-0 lead going into the break. Early in the second period, Hancock powered Oehler to the mat for an apparent takedown, with Oehler attempting to let the referees know he was hurt. Hancock also turned him before the action was stopped. Officials did not award Hancock any points, but the injury to Oehler’s leg was too severe for him to continue and Hancock was the winner by injury default.

Hancock ended up in a bronze-medal match when he lost a heartbreaking 4-4 criteria decision to Alex Szoke of Hungary in the semifinals on Friday night. When leading 4-1, Hancock was called for passivity in the final minute to make it 4-2. Szoke turned Hancock to tie it at 4-4 and won the criteria on last point scored. Just over 24 hours later, Hancock is heading home with a bronze medal around his neck and a big smile on the podium.

Hancock won his first two bouts on Friday, shutting out both of his opponents, Ibrahim Tigci of Turkey, 5-0, and Kiril Milov of Bulgaria, 6-0.

Hancock becomes the 33rd U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to win a Senior World Championships medal. The last U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to win a World medal was heavyweight Adam Coon at the 2018 Worlds. The USA had won 32 previous medals in the history of the Senior World Championships, with the first from James Burke back in 1962. The USA has five past Senior World champions: Mike Houck (1995), Dennis Hall (1995), Rulon Gardner (2001), Dremiel Byers (2002) and Joe Warren (2006).

Just 24 years old, Hancock is competing in his fourth Senior World Championships. When adding up all of his age-group and Senior World Championships, this was his eighth World Championships event. His only previous medal was a Junior World bronze medal in 2016.

He is a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., where he attended Fountain Fort Carson High School. He began training Greco-Roman full-time at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center shortly after his high school career ended.

Hancock’s bronze medal in Greco-Roman caps off a successful World Championships for Team USA, which will travel back home with 15 World medals from Oslo. Both the men’s freestyle team and the women’s freestyle team each won seven medals, and both were second in the team standings. Among those 15 medals for USA Wrestling were five gold medals, men’s freestyle gold medals from Thomas Gilman at 57 kg, Kyle Dake at 74 kg and Jordan Burroughs at 79 kg and women’s freestyle gold medals from Helen Maroulis at 57 kg and Adeline Gray at 76 kg.

Hancock’s bout was the final match for Team USA in these World Championships, as all three of the Group Three Greco-Roman wrestlers for the United States have been eliminated and will not compete on the final day on Sunday.

Semifinals were held in the three weight classes in Group Three: 63 kg, 67 kg and 87 kg. The results affected one American wrestler who was hoping to get pulled back into repechage.

Alan Vera of the USA lost an 8-0 technical fall to 2021 European Junior champion Turpal-Ali Bisultanov of Denmark at 87 kg on Saturday morning. Bisultanov won his next two matches to qualify for the semifinals, keeping Vera’s hopes alive for the possibility of repechage.

However, No. 1 seed and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Zurabi Datunashvili of Serbia defeated Bisultanov, 5-1 in the semifinals, knocking Vera out of the tournament. Only wrestlers who lose to a finalist are eligible for the repechage.

Vera is a naturalized U.S. citizen who emigrated from Cuba and was competing on his first U.S. Senior World Team.

The other two U.S. wrestlers in Group Three lost their opening bouts and also did not qualify for repechage: Sam Jones at 63 kg and Peyton Omania at 67 kg.

Three sets of gold medals were awarded on Saturday night, and Iran won two of them. The 97 kg gold medal went to Mohammadhadi Saravi of Iran, who secured a 3-1 decision over Alex Szoke of Hungary. The 130 kg gold medal was won by Aliakbar Yousifiahmadchali of Iran, 5-1.

The other individual champion was Moldova’s Victor Ciobanu, who claimed the 60 kg title with an impressive 9-3 victory over Zholaman Sharshenbekov of Kyrgyzstan. Ciobanu becomes the first Moldovan to ever win a World Greco-Roman title.

The Russian Wrestling Federation led the team standings after two days, covering the first seven weight classes completed, with 130 points. Iran was in second with 96 points, and Azerbaijan in third with 87 points. The United States currently stands in 14th place with 19 points.

There will be no wrestling in the morning on Sunday, as only the repechage and medal matches remain in Group Three on Sunday night. The Group Three repechage is set for 4:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, with the medal match finals set for 6:00 p.m. Oslo is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone. All of the action is live on FloWrestling.


At Oslo, Norway, October 9

Group Two Greco-Roman final results

60 kg

Gold – Victor Ciobanu (Moldova)

Silver – Zholaman Sharshenbekov (Kyrgyzstan)

Bronze – Stepan Maryanyan (Russian Wrestling Federation)

Bronze – Murad Mammadov (Azerbaijan)

5th – Gevorg Gharibyan (Armenia)

5th – Maksim Kazharski (Belarus)

7th – Ayata Suzuki (Japan)

8th – Mehrdad Mardani (Iran)

9th – Irakli Dzimistarishvili (Georgia)

10th – Gyanender Gyanender (India)

Gold – Ciobanu dec. Sharshenbekov, 9-3

Bronze – Maryanyan dec. Gharibyan, 3-1

Bronze – Mammadov dec. Kazharski, 2-0

97 kg

Gold – Mohammadhadi Saravi (Iran)

Silver – Alex Szoke (Hungary)

Bronze – G’Angelo Hancock (USA)

Bronze – Artur Sargsian (Russian Wrestling Federation)

5th – Nikoloz Kakhelashvili (Italy)

5th – Peter Oehler (Germany)

7th – Giorgi Melia (Georgia)

8th – Yevhenii Saveta (Ukraine)

9th – Kiril Milov (Bulgaria)

10th – Vilius Laurinaitis (Lithuania)

Gold – Saravi dec. Szoke, 3-1

Bronze – Sargsian dec. Kakhelashvili, 6-1

Bronze – Hancock inj. Oehler, 3-0

130 kg

Gold – Aliakbar Yousofiahmadchali (Iran)

Silver – Zurabi Gedekhauri (Russian Wrestling Federation)

Bronze – Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia)

Bronze – Oskar Marvik (Norway)

5th – Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (Chile)

5th – Osman Yildirim (Turkey)

7th – Alin Ciurariu (Romania)

8th – Beka Kandelaki (Azerbaijan)

9th – Radoslav Georgiev (Bulgaria)

10th – Mykola Kuchmii (Ukraine)

Gold – Yousofiahmadchali dec. Gedekhauri, 5-1

Bronze – Kajaia dec. Yildirim, 2-1

Bronze – Marvik dec. Acosta Fernandez, 1-1

U.S. Greco-Roman Group Two results

60 kg – Dalton Roberts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP), dnp/12th

LOSS Gevorg Gharibyan (Armenia), 8-4

97 kg – No. 3 seed G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), bronze medal

WIN Ibrahim Tigci (Turkey), 5-0

WIN Kiril Milov (Bulgaria), 6-0

LOSS Alex Szoke (Hungary), 4-4 criteria

WIN Peter Oehler (Germany), injury default, 3:32

130 kg – Cohlton Schultz (Parker, Colo./Sunkist Kids), dnp/14th

LOSS Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia), 5-3

Team standings after seven weights

1. Russian Wrestling Federation, 130

2. Iran, 96

3. Azerbaijan, 87

4. Turkey, 50

5. Armenia, 45

6. Georgia, 42

7. Hungary, 40

8. Japan, 39

9. Moldova, 33

10. Germany, 31

11. Kyrgyzstan, 28

12. Poland, 23

13. Belarus, 20
14. United States, 19

15. (tie) Lithuania and Norway, 17

Group Three Greco-Roman finalist pairings

63 kg - Leri Abuladze (Georgia) vs. Meysam Dalkhani (Iran)

67 kg - Mohammadreza Geraei (Iran) vs. Nazir Abdullaev (Russian Wrestling Federation)

87 kg - Zurabi Datunashvili (Serbia) vs. Kiril Maskevich (Belarus)

Group Three Greco-Roman semifinal results

63 kg

Leri Abuladze (Georgia) dec. Erik Torba (Hungary), 7-1

Meysam Dalkhani (Iran) tech. fall Taleh Mammadov (Azerbaijan), 9-0, 1:48

67 kg

Mohammadreza Geraei (Iran) dec. Remaz Zoidze (Georgia), 7-6

Nazir Abdullaev (Russian Wrestling Federation) dec. Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan), 10-5

87 kg

Zurabi Datunashvili (Serbia) dec. Turpan Ali Bisultanov (Denmark), 5-1

Kiril Maskevich (Belarus) pin Istvan Takacz (Hungary), 5:42

U.S. Group Three Greco-Roman results

63 kg – Sam Jones (East Lansing, Mich./New York AC)

LOSS Deniz Menekse (Germany), pin 4:11

67 kg – Peyton Omania (Concord, Calif./New York AC)

LOSS Hasrat Jafarov (Azerbaijan), tech. fall 10-0, 1:44

87 kg – Alan Vera (Jersey City, N.J./NYC RTC/New York AC)

LOSS Turpal-Ali Bisultanov (Denmark), tech fall 8-0, 2:12