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World Championships preview in Greco-Roman wrestling at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.



Date of Competition: Sunday, September 22

If history is any indicator the 66 kg/145.5 lbs. weight class at the 2013 Greco-Roman World Championships will be exciting and unpredictable.

There has not been an athlete able to win consecutive World or Olympic championships since the 66 kg/145.5 lbs. weight class was established for the 2002 World Championships.

Farid Mansurov of Azerbaijan is the only wrestler to come out with a World or Olympic gold medal more than once in this weight class winning the World Championship in 2007 and 2009 in addition to an Olympic Championship in 2004.

On top of the list of contenders for the 2013 gold medal is Hungary’s Tamas Lorincz. Currently ranked No. 1 in the world by FILA, Lorincz has not posted an international loss since he was defeated in the gold medal match of the 2012 Olympics. Since London, Lorincz has secured gold at the Golden Grand Prix, European Championships, Jacob Curby Cup and Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup.

Defending Olympic Champion at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Hyeon-Woo Kim of Korea has competed at 74 kg/163 lbs. since London, earning the gold at the 2013 Asian Championships.

Ranked No. 2 in the world is Russian Adam Kurak who would be competing in his first World Championship should he be the Russian representative. Kurak recently finished with bronze at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup and the silver at the European Championships.

Another tough Russian who could be in the mix is World No. 7 and World University Games silver medalist Islambek Albiev.

Kurak defeated Albiev in the finals of the Ivan Poddubny Tournament early this year. Either Russian will threaten for a place on the medal stand.

Atakan Yukel of Turkey is ranked No. 3 in the world, but will need to show improvement over recent results to wind up on the medal stand in Budapest. Yukel most recently finished in seventh at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup and fifth at the European Championships.

Yukel was able to capture the gold at the Mediterranean Games scoring a victory over World No. 6 Aleksandar Maksimovic of Serbia in the finals.

Azerbaijan will have a tough decision to make for its World Championship representative at this weight, boasting both the No. 4 and No. 5 ranked wrestlers in the world.

Fourth ranked Hasan Aliyev won a bronze medal at the European Championships and a gold at the Grand Prix of Spain while fifth ranked Rasul Chunayev won the gold at the World University Games. Both Azerbaijani delegates have strong cases to represent their country in Budapest and will be tough to handle for any opponent they might face.

Germany’s Frank Staebler will also be a favorite for medal contention. Staebler finished fifth at the 2012 Olympics and is coming off a silver medal at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup with his only loss coming at the hands of World No. 1 Tama Lorincz in the finals. He is currently ranked No. 9 in the world by FILA.

American Justin Lester will be no stranger to the field at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Lester will enter his seventh World or Olympic Championship having previously earned two World bronze medals in 2006 and 2007.

The 2012 Olympian Lester had to earn his spot on the World Team by battling through what many consider the toughest Greco-Roman weight class in the United States. He defeated fellow Olympic teammate Ellis Coleman in the finals of the World Team Trials.

Expect Lester to utilize his vast international experience to get himself into position for another medal opportunity.

FILA WORLD RANKINGS
1. Tamas Lorincz (Hungary) 2. Adam Kurak (Russia) 3. Atakan Yuksel (Turkey) 4. Hasan Aliyev (Azerbaijan) 5. Rasul Chunayev(Azerbaijan) 6. Aleksandar Maksimovic (Serbia) 7. Islambek Albiev (Russia) 8. Kim Ji-Hun (Korea) 9. Frank Staebler (Germany) 10. Dominik Etlinger (Croatia) 11. Artak Margaryan (France) 12. Yerbol Konyratov (Kazakhstan) 13. Davor Stefanek (Serbia) 14. Sasun Ghambaryan (Armenia) 15. Alexander Casal Hinojosa (Cuba)

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2012 Olympic Games
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold - Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea); Silver - Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); Bronze - Manuchar Tskhaidia (Georgia); Bronze - Steeve Guenot (France); 5th - Frank Staebler (Germany); 5th - Pedro Mulens (Cuba); 7th - Edgaras Venckaitis (Lithuania); 8th - Justin Lester (USA); 9th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 10th - Amm El Garably (Egypt)

2011 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold - Saeid Morad Abdvali (Iran); Silver - Manuchar Tskhadaia (Georgia); Bronze - Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea); Bronze - Pedro Isaac Mulens (Cuba); 5th - Frank Stabler (Germany); 5th - Justin Lester (USA); 7th - Tamás Lorincz (Hungary); 8th - Kanatbek Begaliev (Kyrgyzstan); 9th - Yuji Okamoto (Japan); 10th - Pan Zheng (China)

2010 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Ambako Vachadze (Russia); Silver – Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); Bronze – Vitaly Rahimov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Vasif Arzimanov (Turkey); 5th – Steeve Guenot (France); 5th – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); 7th- Pascal Strebel (Switzerland); 8th – Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea); 9th – Danijel Janecic (Croatia); 10th – Emilian Todorov (Bulgaria).

2009 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Manuchar Tskhadaia (Georgia); Bronze - Ambako Vachadze (Russia); Bronze - Pedro Isaac Mulen (Cuba); 5th - Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); 5th - Sasun Ghambaryan (Armenia); 7th - Afshin Byabangard (Iran); 8th - Tsutomu Fujimura (Japan); 9th - Emil Milev (Bulgaria); 10th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan)

2008 Olympic Games
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Steeve Guenot (France); Silver - Kanatbek Begaliev (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); Bronze - Mikhali Siamionau (Belarus); 5th - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); 5th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Sergey Kovalenko (Russia); 8th - Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); 9th - Alain Milian (Cuba); 10th - Li Yanyan (China)

2007 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Steeve Guenot (France); Bronze - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Harry Lester (United States); 5th - Arman Adikyan (Armenia); 5th - Tamás Lorincz (Hungary); 7th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 8th - Olexander Khvoshch (Ukraine); 9th - Ionel Puscasu (Romania); 10th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden)

2006 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Li Yanyan (China); Silver – Kamatbek Begaliev (Kirghizstan); Bronze – Sergey Kovalenko (Russia); Bronze – Harry Lester (USA); 5th – Oleksey Khvosch (Ukraine); 5th – Seref Eroglu (Turkey); 7th – Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); 8th – A. Kazakeviv (Lithuania); 9th – Ion Painit (Romania); 10th – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)

2005 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); Silver - Kim Min-Chul (Korea); Bronze - Alain Milan (Cuba); Bronze - Kim Kum-Chol (North Korea ); 5th - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); 7th - Li Yanyan (China); 8th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden); 9th - Mukhran Matchutadze (Georgia); 10th - Levente Furedy (Hungary)
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