This Weekend in Siberia: the Toughest Wrestling Tournament in the World

Matthew Stockman

The Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix takes place this week in Siberia. Bloody Elbow wrestling specialist Mike Riordan brings you a preview of what, in some weights, will be the world's toughest wrestling tournament.

On January 24-26, at the Ivan Yarygin (or Yariguin) Grand Prix will feature men's and women's freestyle wrestling competition in the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. At some weights, the tournament is tougher than the Olympics or World Championships.

I previewed the tournament for the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) at www.fila-official.com. In the preview I point out the amazing depth of talent in the men's 61 kg weight class.

This weight features an unbelievable depth of talent. Top-ranked Bekhan Goygereev (RUS) brings his skills to the field. In Budapest, last year, he won a world championship, steamrolling the competition in the process.

A trio of distinguished Russians stand in Goygereev's way. Former No. 1 ranked wrestlers Opan Sat was a 2013 European and Yariguin champ and Djamal Otarsultanov, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist at 55 kg should also be pushing for the title Victor Lebedev, a two-time world champion at 55 kg is also looking to make use of the increase in weight.

Past world and Yariguin medalist Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ) should also contend for the podium.

While the Olympics only allows one Russian competitor per weight, Yarygin offers dozens of Russian wrestlers per weight, along with some international stars. In the case of 61 kg, Russia may well claim the world's four best wrestlers.

On the women's side, the greatest female wrestler of all time (in my opinion), Japan's Kaori Icho, competes at 59 kg. Icho has won the last three Olympic golds and seven world championships, and she wrestles with a technical level unseen anywhere else in women's wrestling.

Expect a video stream for the tournament, but do not expect any production elements. The stream will likely be found at the Russian Wrestling Federation homepage. Make sure you have enabled your Google translate, unless, of course, you speak Russian.

If you pay extra-close attention to the video, you might get a glimpse of the United State's one entry, Brent Metcalf. Metcalf placed second last year.

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