What You Need to Know: Freestyle at the 2016 Games

TomM
August 11, 2016 12:04

What You Need to Know: Freestyle at the 2016 Games

What You Need to Know: Freestyle Wrestling at the 2016 Olympics Games

Burroughs, Azerbaijan Duo Eye Repeat Gold Medals in Rio 2016 Freestyle

RIO DE JANIERO (August xx) – World and Olympic champion Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) as well as Azerbaijan’s pair of London 2012 gold medalists will be seeking repeats when the freestyle events get under way at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Friday, August 19.

Burroughs will attempt to win a second Olympic gold medal at 74kg, while Togrul ASGAROV (AZE), who won in London at 60kg, has moved up to challenge at 65kg while Sharif SHARIPOV (AZE) will try to repeat at 86kg, after experimenting at 97kg these last three years.

Burroughs leads off on the first day of freestyle competition with 2012 silver medalist Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO), who won his first world title at 57kg in Las Vegas.

Khinchegashvili will need to navigate through a talented field including 2013 world champion Hassan RAHIMI (IRI) as well as two-time world champions YANG Kyong-Il (PRK) and Haji ALIEV (AZE).

Khichegashvili came from behind to defeat Rahimi for the world title in Las Vegas last September and edged Aliev at 61kg for the European crown in March. He lost, however, to Yang 5-3 in the 2014 world championship final.

Four years ago, Burroughs faced down challenges from two of the finest from Russia and Iran for his first Olympic gold medal. In Rio, he will likely face another pair from the traditional rivals – world bronze medalist Aniuar GEDUEV (RUS) and silver medalist at 70kg Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (IRI).

On Saturday, two-time world champ Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) sets his sights on his first Olympic gold medal at 86kg. World silver medalists Selim YASAR (TUR) and Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB) have challenged The Tank before — but come up short.

How Sharipov fares among the middleweights will be of interest. He was second at the 2015 Medved Prizes and the top individual performer at 97kg with four wins at the 2015 World Cup meet.

At 125kg, two-time world champion Taha AKGUL (TUR) saw his string of four European titles come to an end in March, when Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) overcame a six-point deficit in an 8-8 win over Akgul in Riga.  Both will be favorites at Rio 2016.

Artur TAIMAZOV (UZB) departed London four years ago with his third Olympic Games gold medal and left the super heavyweight category wide open for Akgul, Petriashvili, along with London 2012 bronze medalists Komeil GHASEMI (IRI) and Bilyal MAKHOV (RUS).

The final day of wrestling at Rio 2016 features two of the most entertaining wrestlers in recent years – 65kg world champion Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) and European champion at 97kg Anzor BOLTUKAEV (RUS).

Chamizo took the world title in Las Vegas with victories over Asgarov and 2014 world silver medalist Sayed Ahmad MOHAMMADI (IRI). Chamizo also ripped through the field in Riga with four technical falls for the European crown in March.

Chamizo’s only loss of 2016 was to 2014 world champion and Rio 2016 qualifier Soslan RAMONOV (RUS), 8-7, at the Medved Prizes in February.

Boltukaev, meanwhile, kicked off 2016 with wins over world champ Kyle SNYDER (USA) and London 2012 gold medalist Jakob VARNER (USA) at the Yarygin Grand Prix in January and defeated 2012 silver medalist Valeri ANDRIITSEV (UKR) on his way to the European crown.

Potential challengers to Boltukaev, also a 2013 world bronze medalist, include two-time Olympic Games bronze medalist Khetag GAZYUMOV (AZE) and two-time world champion Reza YAZDANI (IRI).

(NOTE: Please note earlier start times for morning and evening sessions on Sunday, August 21, because of the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony at 20:00.)

Thursday, August 18

12:00-13:00 – Medical examination, FS 57kg & 74kg
13:15-13:45 – Weigh-in, FS 57kg & 74kg

Friday, August 19

10:00-13:00 – Qualification round, FS 57kg & 74kg
12:00-13:00 – Medical examination, FS 86kg & 125kg
13:15-13:45 – Weigh-in, FS 86kg & 125kg
16:00-19:00 – Repechage, Finals & Awards Ceremonies, FS 57kg & 74kg

Saturday, August 20

10:00-13:00 – Qualification round, FS 86kg & 125kg
12:00-13:00 – Medical examination, FS 65kg & 97kg
13:15-13:45 – Weigh-in, FS 65kg & 97kg
16:00-19:00 – Repechage, Finals & Awards Ceremonies, FS 86kg & 125kg

Sunday, August 21

08:30-11:15 – Qualification round, FS 65kg & 97kg
12:45-15:15 – Repechage, Finals & Awards Ceremonies, FS 65kg & 97kg
20:00-             Rio 2016 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony

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For more information please contact Tim Foley at foley@unitedworldwrestling.org or Gordon Templeman atgordon@unitedworldwrestling.org.

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Photos: United World Wrestling and IOC

TomM
August 11, 2016 12:04