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2007 World Championships preview at 55 kg/121 lbs. in Greco-Roman wrestling



Iran's Hamid Sourian is the defending World champion at 55 kg/121 lbs., but look for hometown favorite Roushan Bayramov of Azerbaijan to definitely be in the mix as well.

Bayramov won a silver medal at the 2006 World Championships in Greco-Roman and won the 2007 European Championships. He's wrestling as well as anybody in the World right now.

Sourian also is wrestling well this season. He won the 2007 Asian Championships.

Returning bronze medalists Lindsey Durlacher of the United States and Eun-Chol Park of Korea also are expected to be in the hunt.

Park won a silver medal in the 2005 World Championships, so he's a guy who has been close to the top and is looking for another shot to win a gold medal.

Bulgaria's Velenin Venkov, fifth in the 2006 Worlds, placed fifth at the 2007 Europeans. Hungary's Tibor Olah is the other returning fifth-place finisher.

Russia's Zaur Kuramagomedov is another wrestler to keep an eye on. He was second in this year's Europeans.

Cuba's Yagniel Hernandez also could make some noise in this division. He won the 2007 Pan American Games.

Sourian and Bayramov have to be considered the two favorites in this weight class.

But don't count out a guy like Durlacher, who had a breakthrough season in 2006. Durlacher lost a close match to Sourian in the semifinals of the 2006 World Championships and is eager for another shot at reaching the finals. This is Durlacher's third straight World meet and the experience he now has could work in his favor.

And don't count out Park, who has a silver and bronze medal in his last two trips to the Worlds.

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2006 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Hamid Sourian (Iran); Silver - Roushan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); Bronze - Lindsey Durlacher (USA); Bronze - Eun-Chol Park (Korea); 5th - Velenin Venkov (Bulgaria); 5th - Tibor Olah (Hungary); 7th - Vyugar Ragymov (Ukraine); 8th - Yerbel Konyratov (Kazakhstan); 9th - Anders Nyblom (Denmark); 10th - Aliaksandr Shalesny (Belarus)

2005 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Hamid Sayan Reinhanpour (Iran); Silver - Eun-Chol Park (Korea); Bronze - Istvan Majoros (Hungary); Bronze - Yermek Kuketov (Kazakhstan); 5th - Anders Nyblom (Denmark); 5th - Lazaro Rivas (Cuba); 7th - Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan); 8th - Irakli Chochua (Georgia); 9th - Roman Amoyan (Armenia); 10th - Kwang Su Cha (Peopleís Republic of Korea)

2004 Olympic Games
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Ivan Majoros (Hungary); Silver - Geider Mamadaliev (Russia); Bronze - Artiom Kiorgegkian (Greece); 4th - Oleksiy Vakulenko (Ukraine); 5th- Lazaro Rivas (Cuba); 6th - Irakli Chachua (Georgia); 7th - Im Dae Wong (Korea); 8th - Hakkan Nyblom (Denmark); 9th -Hassan Rangraz (Iran); 10th - Masatoshi Toyoda (Japan)

2003 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Dariusz Jablonski (Poland) dec. Im Dae-Wong (Korea), 6-5; Bronze - Lazaro Rivas (Cuba) dec. Petr Svehla (Czech Rep.), 5-1; 5th - Marian Sandu (Romania); 6th - Uran Kalilov (Kyrgyzstan); 7th - Hasan Rangraz (Iran); 8th - Hakan Nyblom (Denmark); 9th - Svajunas Adomaitis (Lithuania); 10th - Oleksiy Vakulenko (Ukraine)

2002 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Geider Mamadaliyev (Russia) dec. Nepes Gukulov (Turkmenistan), 4-0; Bronze - Hassan Rangraz (Iran) won by tech. fall over Ashot Khachaturyan (Armenia), 10-0, 4:39; 5th (tie) Marian Sandu (Romania) and Ercan Yldiz (Turkey); 7th - Artiom Kiouregian (Greece); 8th - Brandon Paulson (United States); 9th - Irakli Tchotchua (Georgia); 10th - Oleksandr Vakulenko (Ukraine)
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