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Henson wins first match; Kolat loses re-wrestled bout, then pins his second opponent in first sessio



Only two U.S. wrestlers were in competition during the first session of Olympic freestyle wrestling on September 28 at the Sydney Exhibition Center in Darling Harbour. Sammie Henson (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids), opened with an impressive 10-0 victory over Moon Myung Seok of Korea, with a 10-0 technical fall in just 1:01. Henson scored a single leg takedown in just nine seconds, then turned Moon three times with a high gut tilt, with bonus points, for the quick technical fall win. Henson was a 1998 World Champion, and is competing in his first Olympics. Cary Kolat (Morgantown, W.Va./Dave Schultz WC), whose career has been laced with controversy at the World level, was forced to rewrestle a victory, due to protest, and ended up competing three times during the session. When the dust cleared, Kolat ended with a 1-1 record in his pool competition. One bout did not count. Kolat opened the Olympics for the United States with a big win, defeating 1997 World Champion Mohammed Talaei of Iran, 3-1 in overtime. Kolat scored two points on a scramble, which he initiated, as time ran out in the first period. Talaei scored a takedown at 5:38, closing to 2-1. In overtime, Kolat defended a single leg with his patented "rubber knee" counter, won the scramble and score the takedown for the win at 8:37. However, Iran protested Kolat's victory, and the protest was accepted. That means that Kolat's win is nullified, as if it never happened. The international wrestling federation releases no information on the grounds for protests. The match was re-wrestled less than an hour later. Kolat dropped the re-wrestled match with Talaei, 5-4. There was no score in the first period, and they went into the clinch. Kolat intentionally released his grip, giving up the one point and caution. Talaei scored two quick exposures for a 5-0 lead at 3:28. Kolat began a furious comeback. He scored a single leg takedown for one point at 4:42, then received a caution and one point for Talaie refusing to wrestle after a break, making it 5-2. At 5:40, Kolat scored another two points on a takedown exchange at 5:40 and ended up losing, 5-4. Kolat returned to the mats for his scheduled second match, against 1999 World bronze medalist Ramil Islamov of Uzbekistan, the athlete who beat Kolat in the 1999 World bronze-medal match. The bout was close throughout, with no points in the first period. Kolat released his hands immediately in the clinch, giving up the point and caution. He tied things up at 1-1 on a takedown at 3:35. Kolat took the lead at 4:17 with his patented counter from a single leg, 2-1, but Islamov scored a reversal to tie at 2-2 shortly after. Kolat led 3-2 after a single leg takedown at 5:27. He received another point at 5:37 when the Uzbek refused to wrestle after the break, making it 4-2. Kolat executed a two-point tilt and held down Islamov for the pin at 5:52. Kolat's pool action is now complete - one win and one loss. His fate will be determined when Talaei faces Islamov in the evening session. Only one athlete from each pool progresses into the championship bracket. For Kolat to advance, Islamov must defeat Talaei and then Kolat must win the tiebreaking procedures. Kolat has a history of having bouts overturned at the World level events. In 1998, he had an early victory over Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria reversed, with the match given to to Barzakov. In 1999, Kolat had a victory over Elbrus Tedeev of Ukraine protested, and the match was re-wrestled, with Tedeev winning the second bout. In both cases, the opponents went on to win the World title. Kolat was second in the 1997 World Championships, third in the 1998 World Championships and fourth in the 1999 World Championships. Two U.S. wrestlers received byes in the morning session, and will wrestle twice in the 5:00 p.m. evening session: Brandon Slay (Amarillo, Texas/Dave Schultz WC) at 76 kg/167.5 pounds and Melvin Douglas (Mesa, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) at 97 kg/213.75 pounds. Freestyle Wrestling, September 28, 9:30 a.m. 54 kg - Sammie Henson, Norman, Okla. (Sunkist Kids) won by tech. fall over Moon Myung Seok (Korea), 10-0, 1:01 63 kg - Cary Kolat, Morgantown, W.Va. (Dave Schultz WC) lost dec. to Mohammed Talaie (Iran), 5-4 pin Ramil Islamov (Uzbekistan), 5:52 76 kg - Brandon Slay, Amarillo, Texas (Dave Schultz WC) No bouts this session 97 kg - Melvin Douglas, Mesa, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids) No bouts this session
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