Well, I can't say that today was too great a day to be an American wrestling fan. First our 96kg representative ,J.D. Bergman, gets thrown and pinned while leading 3-0 in his first round match against a Kyrg name Krupnyakov (totally not on my radar). Krupnyakov would not make the finals and Bergman would be eliminated.
Next, our 66kg entry, Brent Metcalf draws Iran's poofy-haired two-time world champion, Mehdi Taghavi. To Metcalf's credit, he improved from his last showing against Taghavi, but still lost 5-2. Taghavi then turns around and loses to a wrestler he has no business losing to, eliminating Metcalf, and eventually himself.
Angel Escobedo steps in to wrestle for Obe Blanc at 55kg and does pretty dang well. He rolls off a couple wins and finds himself against Asian champion Amit Kumar in the quarter finals. Escobedo gives it his best shot, but falls 6-0 to the Indian. Fortunately, Kumar makes it to the finals which pulls Escobedo back into the repechage, where he rallies into a bronze medal match. Unfortunately, in this bronze medal match, he never gets his offense going against Turkey's Sezer Akgul and loses a 2-1 heartbreaker.
The medalists at 55kg were as follows:
Gold – Hassan Rahimi (Iran)
Silver – Amit Kumar (India)
Bronze – Sezer Akgul (Turkey)
Bronze – Nariman Israpilov (Russia)
Past world bronze medalist Hassan Rahimi medalist edged Kumar in a tense finals. Kumar eliminated Rahimi from contention last year in the Olympics, and I suppose this would serve as a bit of revenge. The finals video is below, each wrestler receives a caution point, and Rahimi scores on a pushout to win 2-1. The first period features little action, but the second has some decent flurries.
The medalists at 66kg were as follows:
Gold – Devit Safaryan (Armenia)
Silver – Livan Lopez (Cuba)
Bronze – Magomed Kurbanaliev (Russia)
Bronze – Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (Mongolia)
Safaryan's win over Lopez in the final was pretty boring, which annoys me because I'll show the video below and people will whine about wrestling being boring when just about every other match today was exciting. In the second period Safaryan gets in on a high crotch, cracks it down and sneaks his arm across Lopez's lap to double off and finish the takedown. That was all he needed to become a world champ.
The medalists at 96kg were as follows:
Gold – Reza Yazdani (Iran)
Silver – Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Anzor Boltakaev (Russia)
Bronze – Pavlo Oliynik (Ukraine)
My first reaction yesterday at reading the brackets for 96kg was "holy crap, Reza Yazdani is back!" I had heard from someone very reliable that he had retired after two horrible knee injuries. Apparently he's back big time. The Panther of Juybar not only made his return to a world championship, he won the whole damn thing...again. In the finals he had an exciting match with a fellow world champion, Khetag Gayzumov of Azerbaijan. They traded takedowns in the first period, and then Yazdani went behind in the second to ice the match. Notice how freakishly huge Gazyumov appears for the weight.
Tomorrow will feature men's freestyle competition at 60, 84, and 120kg
To download a PDF of tomorrow's draw and today's complete results click here
Wrestling starts at 7 am (EST) tomorrow, I'll have a live thread up.