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|Olympic champions Vlasov, Kim top FILA's international Greco-Roman rankings|
By William May FILA
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland - London 2012 Olympic Games gold medalists Roman VLASOV (Russia) and KIM Hyeon-Woo (Korea) top FILA's first international rankings for Greco-Roman wrestling.
VLASOV won his second European championships crown at 74kg in Tbilisi in March while KIM, the gold medal winner in London at 66kg, had no difficulty moving up a weight category and taking the 74kg title at the recently concluded Asian championships in New Delhi.
The Olympic gold medal duo, as respective continental champions, are ranked one-two at 74kg in FILA's inaugural international rankings.
Olympic Games silver medalist Tamas LORINCZ (Hungary), the runner-up to KIM in London, finds himself on top of the heap at 66kg after handily winning the European crown there.
Another London silver medalist Rustam TOTROV (Russia) took a second place at the Vehbi Emre Grand Prix tourney in February, but Artur ALEKSANYAN (Armenia), a bronze medal winner in London, won the European championship at 96kg and sits on top of the rankings.
Meanwhile, Olympic Games bronze medal winner and defending world champion Riza KAYAALP (Turkey) won the Vehbi Emre crown in Istanbul and followed up with his third European title at 120kg.
As is often the case in the first year of a new Olympic cycle, a number of the familiar names are missing -- either having left their shoes at the middle of the mat or taking a breather from the demands of high-level training and competition.
In their place, a host of new names and faces, each with their own Olympic hopes and dreams, appear in the senior ranks
In these inaugural FILA rankings, we have looked at the international results from the end of the London 2012 Games with a special eye on the continental championships and the Golden Grand Prix events. Results from other international and some domestic events were taken into consideration.
We are beginning with a top 10 for each weight category and hope to expand that list as we become more familiar with the wrestlers and get deeper into the Olympic cycle.
The FILA international rankings by weight category for Greco-Roman:
55kg - Elbek TAZHYIEV (Belarus) edged two-time defending champion Elchin ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) in three periods for his first European championships crown and was second in the Vehbi Emre Golden Grand Prix tourney in Istanbul.
Spenser MANGO (United States), the U.S. entry at the London 2012 Olympic Games, defeated Pan America champion Max NOWRY (United States) at the recent U.S. Open competition and enters the rankings at No.10.
1. Elbek TAZHYIEV, Belarus (Europe No.1, Vehbi Emre, No.2)
2. Elchin ALIYEV, Azerbaijan (Europe No.2)
3. Bekhan MANKIEV, Russia (Europe No.3, Poddubny No.2)
4. CHOI Gyu-Jin, Korea (Asia No.1)
5. Ivan TATARINOV, Russia (Vehbi Emre GGP No.1)
6. Shota TANOKURA, Japan (Asia No.2, Hungary GGP No.1)
7. Faith UCUNCU, Turkey (Europe No.3)
8. YUN Won-Chol, DPR Korea (Asia No.3)
9. Kanybek ZHOLCHUBEKOV, Kyrgyzstan (Asia No.3, Vehbi Emre No.3)
10. Spenser Mango, U.S. (U.S. Open, No.1)
60kg - No clear leader in this group of London Olympians and Rio 2016 wannabes. Ivo ANGELOV (Bulgaria) won his first European championship title with a 2-0 triumph over Ivan KUYLAKOV (Russia), a two-time former champion at the rugged Ivan Poddubny tourney.
Elmurat TASMURADOV (Uzbekistan) prevailed in a quarterfinals free-for-all with WANG Lumin (China), 2-1 (5-0, 0-7, 6-0) and then came from behind to defeat Abdol Mohamed PAPI (Iran) for the title in the Asian championships.
1. Ivo ANGELOV, Bulgaria (Europe No.1)
2. Elmurat TASMURADOV, Uzbekistan (Asia No.1)
3. Ivan KUYLAKOV, Russia (Europe No.2, Poddubny No.2)
4. Istvan LEVAI, Slovakia (Europe No.3)
5. Lenur TEMIROV, Ukraine (Europe No.5)
6. Kamran MAMMADOV, Azerbaijan (Europe No.3)
7. Abdol Mohamed PAPI, Iran (Asia No.2)
8. Revaz LASHKHI, Georgia (Hungary No. 2/66kg)
9. Ismael BARRERA MOLINA, Cuba (Pan America No.1)
10. WANG Lumin, China (Asia No. 3)
66kg - Olympic Games silver medalist Tamas LORINCZ (Hungary) went all the way to China one year ago to qualify for London 2012 and has since never looked back. LORINCZ won his second European title in March with a semifinal win over fellow Olympian Atakan YUKSEL (Turkey) and a 2-0 (1-0, 3-1) triumph over Adam KURAK (Russia) in the championship match.
KURAK, winner of the prestigious Poddubny tourney in January, came from behind to defeat 2010 world champion at 60kg Hassan ALIYEV (AZE) in the European semifinals 2-1 (0-6,3-0, 1-0) in Tbilisi, Georgia.
1. Tamas LORINCZ, Hungary (Europe No.1)
2. Adam KURAK, Russia (Europe No.2, World Cup No.1)
3. Hasan ALIYEV, Azerbaijan (Europe No.3)
4. KIM Ji-Hun, Korea (Asia No.1)
5. Alexander CASAL HINOJOSA, Cuba (Pan America No.1)
6. Rasul CHUNAYEV, Azerbaijan (Vehbi Emre No.1, World Cup No.3)
7. Mehdi ZEIDVAND, Iran (Asia No.2)
8. Manukhar TSKHADAIA, Georgia (Hungary No.3)
9. Atakan YUKSEL, Turkey (Vehbi Emre No.2)
10. Yerbol KONYRATOV (KAZ), Asia No.3
74kg - Olympic and world champion Roman VLASOV (Russia), at 22 years, is in a world of his own, winning his second European championship title with wins over 2007 world champion Yavor YANAKIEV (Bulgaria) and fellow London Olympian Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (Georgia).
KIM, the Olympic champion at 66kg in London, defeated defending champion Hadi ALIZADEH POURNIA (IRI) for the Asia crown.
1. Roman VLASOV, Russia (Europe No.1, Poddubny No.1)
2. KIM Hyeon-Woo, Korea (Asia No.1)
3. Hadi ALIZEDAH POURNIA, Iran (Asia No.2)
4. Yavor YANAKIEV, Bulgaria (Europe No.3)
5. Zurabi DATUNASHIVILI, Georgia (Europe No.2)
6. Bozo STARCEVIC, Croatia (Europe, No.3, Hungary No.3)
7. Alexi BELL CABALLERO, Cuba (Pan America No.1)
8. Seref TUFENK, Turkey (Vehbi Emre No.1, World Cup No.1)
9. Mark MADSEN, Denmark (Hungary No.1)
10. Pascal EISELE, Germany (Europe No.5)
84kg - Athens 2004 Olympic Games champion Alexej MISHIN (Russia), at 34, won his sixth European title and third Poddubny crown to take the top spot in the 84kg rankings ahead of two-time former world champion at 74kg Selcuk CEBI (Turkey).
Revai NADAREISHVILI (Georgia), 2011 junior world champion, defeated Olympic semifinalist and countryman Vladimir GEGESHIDZE (Georgia) on his way to a pair of runner-up performances in the two Golden Grand Prix events for Greco-Roman wrestling.
Meanwhile, London Olympic champion Alan KHUGAEV (Russia) advanced to the semifinals of Vehbi Emre and then defaulted on his next two bouts to finish fifth. KHUGAEV, however, won the recent Adriatic Trophy in Croatia.
1. Alexej MISHIN, Russia (Europe No1, Poddubny No.1)
2. Selcuk CEBI, Turkey (Vehbi Emre No.1, World Cup No.1)
3. Revazi NADAREISHVILI, Georgia (Vehbi Emre No.2, Hungary No.2)
4. Vladimir GEGESHIDZE, Georgia (Europe No.2, Hungary No.3)
5. Artur SHAHINYAN, Armenia (Europe No.3)
6. Rustam ASSAKALOV, Uzbekistan (Asia No.1, Poddubny No.3)
7. PARK Jin-Sung, Korea (Asia No.2)
8. Taleb Nariman NEMATPOUR, Iran (Asia No.3)
9. Gilberto PIQUET HERRERA, Cuba (Pan America No.1)
10. Alan KHUGAEV, Russia (Vehbi Emre, No.5)
96kg - Olympic Games bronze medalist Artur ALEKSANYAN (Armenia) was steady on his way to a second European championship winning five bouts by a combined score of 27-1, including a 2-0 (2-0, 2-0) triumph over Vehbi Emre winner Cenk ILDEM (Turkey).
Olympic silver medalist Rustam TOTROV (Russia) fell to ILDEM in the finals of Vehbi Emre 0-2 (0-1, 0-1), but won at the Adriatic Trophy meet.
1. Artur ALEKSANYAN, Armenia (Europe No.1)
2. Cenk ILDEM, Turkey (Europe, No.3, Vehbi Emre No.1)
3. Rustam TOTROV, Russia (Vehbi Emre No.2)
4. Mikhail KAJAIA, Georgia (Hungary No.1, Vehbi Emre No.3)
5. Yasmany Daniel LUGO CABRERA, Cuba (Pan America No.1)
6. AN Chang-Gun, Korea (Asia No.1)
7. Vladislav METODIEV, Bulgaria (Europe No.2, Nikola Petrov No.1)
8. Yerulan ISAKOV, Kazakhstan (Asia No.2)
9. Davoud GILNAYRANG, Iran (Asia No.3)
10. Melonin NOUMONVI, France (Europe No.3)
120kg - London 2012 bronze medalist and defending world champion Riza KAYAALP (Turkey) captured the Vehbi Emre title in front of a hometown crowd in Istanbul and then stopped Hungarian GGP winner Evgeni ORLOV (Ukraine) in Tbilisi for his third European championship belt.
Two-time world bronze medal winner Nurmakhan TINALIEV (Kazakhstan) capped his stroll through the field in the Asian championships with a 2-0 (3-0, 1-0) triumph over Poddubny winner NIE Xiaoming (China).
Meanwhile, five-time world silver medalist Mihaly DEAK BARDOS (Hungary) has apparently given way to junior world champ Balint LAM (Hungary) after a stellar career including four trips to the Olympic Games.
The 38-year-old ironman, however, still has enough in the tank to take a third place in the Hungarian Golden Grand Prix.
1. Riza KAYAALP (TUR) E1,VE1, London OG bronze
2. Evgeni ORLOV (UKR) E2, hun1
3. Nurmakhan TINALIEV (KAZ), A1, WC2
4. NIE Xiaoming (CHN), A2, Pod1
5. Guram PHERSELIDZE (GEO) E3, hun2
6. Bashir Asgari BABAJANZADEH (IRI) WC3,A7, London OG
7. Ramon Antonio GARCIA (DOM), P1
8. Iosif CHUGOSHVILI (BLR) VE2, e5, London OG 5
9. Emin OZTURK (TUR) WC1 VE3
10. Mihaly DEAK BARDOS, Hungary (Hungary GGP, No. 3)