2008 Olympics preview at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in men's freestyle wrestling
<table marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" topmargin="0" leftmargin="0" valign="top" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="3" border="0" valign="top"> 2008 Olympics preview at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in men's freestyle wrestling
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Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
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</td></tr><tr> <td colspan="3" border="0" valign="top"> The most dominant wrestler in freestyle wrestling in recent years has been Khadjimurad Gatsalov of Russia, who won the 2004 Olympics at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and has captured the last three World gold medals in this weight class. Gatsalov has shown tremendous talent and consistency and seems to wrestle his best at the major competitions.
Georgia's Georgi Gogshelidze has been one who has pushed Gatsalov hard, placing second to him at the 2006 World Championships. He was a World champion in 2001 competing for Russia and moved over to Georgia in the 2006 season. Gogshelidze beat Gatsalov in the semifinals at the European Championships in 2008.
Iran has a new star at 96 kg in Saeed Abrahimi, who placed second in the 2007 World Championships behind Gatsalov. Ali Reza Heidari, a 1988 World champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, quit as Iran's coach to make a comeback as an athlete. Whoever Iran sends will be expected to excel.
Daniel Cormier of the United States won his first career World medal with a bronze at the 2007 World Championships. Cormier was fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games and fifth at the 2003 World Championships and has competed well against most of the world's top opponents. After winning the Olympic Trials to earn a repeat trip to the Olympic Games, Cormier's confidence is at an all-time high heading into Beijing.
One of the other consistent performers at this weight has been Alexej Krupniakov of Kyrgyzstan, who was a World bronze medalist in 2005, and has placed seventh and fifth in the last two World Championships. Other recent World medalists to watch include 2007 World bronze medalist Kurban Kurbanov of Uzbekistan, 2006 World bronze medalists Ruslan Sheyikhov of Belarus and Michel Batista of Cuba and 2005 World bronze medalist Vasyl Tesmeyneckyy of Ukraine. Kurbanov was the 2008 Asian champion, giving him extra momentum going into the Olympics. Another option for Ukraine is Georgi Tibilov, who was second at the 2008 European Championships.
Also qualifying for the Olympics by placing in the top eight at the 2007 World Championships were Hakan Koc of Turkey and Stefan Kehrer of Germany.
Qualified nations at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.: Azerbaijan, Cuba, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Iran, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2007 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold - Khadshimourad Gatsalov (Russia); Silver - Saeed Abrahimi (Iran); Bronze - Kurban Kurbanov (Uzbekistan); Bronze - Daniel Cormier (United States); 5th - Hakan Koc (Turkey); 5th - Alexej Krupniakov (Kyrgyzstan); 7th - Vasili Tismenetzki (Ukraine); 8th - Stefan Kehrer (Germany); 9th - Khetag Gazumov (Azerbaijan); 10th - Georgi Gogchelidze (Georgia)
2006 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. Gold - Khajimurad Gatsalov (Russia); Silver George Gogsehelidze (Georgia); Bronze Michel Batista (Cuba); Bronze Ruslan Sheyikhov (Belarus); 5th David Zilberman (Canada); 5th Ali Reza Heidari (Iran); 7th Aleksei Kruphyakov (Kirghizistan); 8th Vasil Tesmynetskyy (Ukraine); 9th Stepan Kehrer (Germany); 10th Patal Rohit (India)
2005 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold - Khajimurad Gatsalov (Russia); Silver - Luka Kurtanidze (Georgia); Bronze - Aleksei Krupnykov (Krygyzstan); Bronze - Vasyl Tesmeyneckyy (Ukraine); 5th - Tae-Hyun Koo (Korea); 5th - Siarhei Pernikau (Belarus); 7th - Amir Ganji (Iran); 8th - Bartolomie Bartnicki (Poland); 9th - Nurzhan Katayev (Kazakhstan); 10th - Gergely Kiss (Hungary)
2004 Olympic Games
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold Khajimurad Gatsalov (Russia); Silver Magomed Ibragimov (Uzbekistan); Bronze Ali Reza Heidari (Iran); 4th Daniel Cormier (USA); 5th Rustem Aghayev (Azerbaijan); 6th Wan Yuanyan (China); 7th Aleksandr Shemarov (Belarus); 8th Eldar Kurtanidze (Georgia); 9th Fatih Cakiroglu (Turkey); 10th Islam Bairamukov (Kazakhstan)
2003 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold Eldar Kurtanidze (Georgia) dec. Ali Reza Heidari (Iran), 4-0; Bronze - Krassimir Kotchev (Bulgaria) dec. Tuvshintur Enkhtuya (Mongolia), 5-1; 5th Daniel Cormier (United States); 6th Nico Jacobs (Namibia); 7th Bartolomiej Bartnicki (Poland); 8th Vadym Tasoev (Ukraine); 9th Radovan Valach (Austria); 10th Alexandr Shemarov (Belarus)
2002 World Championships
96 kg/211.25 lbs. - Gold - Eldar Kurtanidze (Georgia) won by ref. dec. over Ali Reza Heidari (Iran), 2-1, ot, 9:00; Bronze - Vadim Tasoev (Ukraine) won by tech. fall over Alexandre Xanthopoulos (Greece), 10-0, 4:24; 5th - Alexander Shemarov (Belarus); 6th - Georgi Gogshelizhiev (Russia); 7th - Wilfredo Morales (Cuba); 8th - Rolf Scherrer (Switzerland); 9th - Dean Schmeichel (Canada); 10th - Zoltan Farkas (Hungary)
Re: 2008 Olympics preview at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in men's freestyle wrestling
No mention of Muradov? Hmm.......
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