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|2005 World Championships preview at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in menís Greco-Roman wrestling|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Farid Mansurov of Azerbaijan was an example of the tremendous depth in Greco-Roman, winning the Olympic title in a very deep field. A 2002 World silver medalist, Mansurov stopped 1997 World champion Seref Eroglu of Turkey, a proven talent, in the gold-medal round in Athens. Mansurov will be hard pressed to repeat at this division, based upon the quality of the field.
Eroglu was a 2003 European champion, but may not even be Turkey's entry this year. Selcuk Cebi won the gold medal for Turkey at the World University Games and Refik Ayvazoglu was a the 2005 Junior World Champion. Capturing the bronze medal in the Athens Olympics was another top star, two-time World champion Mkkhtar Manukyan of Kazakhstan.
Veteran stars jammed the standings at the Olympics. Jimmy Samuelsson of Sweden, a 2002 World champion, was fourth in Athens. Samuelsson continues to compete, placing fifth at the European Championships this year. Armen Vardanyan of Ukraine, a 2003 World silver medalist, was fifth at the Olympic Games. Vardanyan won a gold medal at the Pytlasinski Tournament in Poland this winter, the first major event with the new FILA Greco-Roman modifications and a strong indicator of success at the World level. Samuelsson was a silver medalist in Pytlasinski behind Vardanyan.
Greece had a local hero in Konstandinos Arkoudeas place sixth at the 2004 Olympics.
This weight class could also include many other past World champions such as Manukar Kvirkelia of Georgia (2003), Vagninak Galustyan of Armenia (2002) and Kim In-Sub of Korea (1998 and 1999). Two-time Olympic silver medalist Juan Maren of Cuba was also in the field and is always expected to challenge for a medal.
There were numerous new athletes making waves at the continental events this year. Winning the European title was Nikolai Gergov of Bulgaria, with Christian Feyer of Germany taking the silver, and bronze medals going to Sergey Kovalenko of Russia and Moises Sanchez of Spain. Gergov was a bronze medalist at the Pytlasinski Tournament this summer. The Asian Championship title was captured by Jung Tae-Kyun of Korea, followed by silver medalist Masaki Imuro of Japan.
The United States has an exciting new talent in this division, young Harry Lester, who gets his first taste of the Senior World event this year. His bronze medal at the World University Games gives Lester some added confidence going into the World meet in Budapest. Lester's throwing style works well with the new rules, which rewards big throws from the reverse bodylock position.
Jannis Zamanduridis of Germany is always strong if he is still competing, after placing seventh in both the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2003 World Championships. A new Cuban athlete, Alain Milian, captured the Pan American title this year, but most expect that Maren may remain the wrestler on the team there. Nurlan Koizhaiganov of Kazakhstan moved up from 60 kg, and is expected to be a strong challenger. Among the medalists at the World University Games were I Hyun Jung of Korea and Matti Kautto of Finland. Winning a bronze medal at the Pytlasinksi Tournament was Julian Kwit of Poland.
If the veteran stars show up from the Olympic Games field, this could be an exciting weight class to watch in Budapest. Don't be surprised if a different athlete wins the World title in this division and continues the streak of new champions each year.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2004 Olympic Games results
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Seref Eroglu (Turkey); Bronze -Mkkhitar Manukyan (Kazakhstan); 4th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden); 5th - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine) ; 6th - Konstantinos Arkoudeas (Greece); 7th - Jannis Zamanduridis (Germany); 8th - Vaghinak Galustyan (Armenia); 9th - Maxim Semenov (Russia); 10th - Luis Ferrnando Izquierdo (Colombia)
2003 World Championships results
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Manuchar Kvirkelia (Georgia) dec. Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine), 5-2; Bronze - Levente Furedi (Hungary) dec. Vaghinak Galvstyan (Armenia), 3-2; 5th - Seref Eroglu (Turkey); 6th - Kim In-Sub (Korea); 7th - Jannis Zamandouridis (Germany); 8th - Ferik Masurov (Azerbaijan); 9th - Luis Fernando Izquierdo (Colombia); 10th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden)
2002 World Championships results
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden) dec. Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan), 3-0; Bronze - Manuchar Kvirkvelia (Georgia) dec. Maksim Semenov (Russia), 4-2; 5th - Bakhadyr Kurbanov (Uzbekistan); 6th - Mehdi Hodaei (Iran); 7th - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); 8th - Juan Maren (Cuba); 9th - Vaghinak Galustyan (Armenia); 10th - Jerzy Szeibinger (Poland)
2001 World Championships
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Gold - Vagninak Galustyan (Armenia) dec. Kim In Sub (Korea), 8-3; Bronze - Michael Beilin (Israel) dec. Juan Maren (Cuba), 3-0, ot, 6:07; 5th - Eduard Aplevich (Belarus); 6th - Peng Ciu (China); 7th - Kevin Bracken (United States); 8th - Levente Furedy (Hungary); 9th - Beat Motzer (Switzerland); 10th - Akaki Chachua (Georgia)