USA Wrestling

Many World Olympic Champions expected at GR Olympic Qualifier in Colorado

By Gary Abbott | March 01, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
NUMEROUS WORLD AND OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS EXPECTED AT THE GRECO-ROMAN OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT SET FOR THE U.S. OLYMPIC COMPLEX IN COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO., MARCH 4-5

Numerous World and Olympic Champions are expected to participate in the Greco-Roman Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs, Colo., March 4-5.

This event is the fourth of five Greco-Roman Olympic qualifying events held across the world from January-March 2000. These athletes will be battling for the opportunity to compete in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

According to the preliminary entries, at least three Olympic gold medalists are expected to compete in the tournament. These include Ryzard Wolny of Poland at 152 pounds, Hamza Yerlikaya of Turkey at 187.25 pounds and Maik Bullman of Germany at 213.75 pounds.

Wolny won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga.

Yerlikaya also won a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He also boasts World gold medals in 1993 and 1995.

Bullman was an Olympic champion at the 1992 Barcelona Games. He also won three World titles (1989, 1990, 1991).

The field will also feature World Champions Ercan Yildiz of Turkey at 119 pounds, Rifat Yildiz of Germany at 127.75 pounds, Dennis Hall of the United States at 127.75 pounds, Islam Duguchiev of Azerbaijan at 152 pounds and Marko Yli-Hannuksela of Finland at 167.5 pounds

Ercan Yildiz was a World Champion in 1997. Rifat Yildiz won World titles in 1990 and 1991. Hall claimed his World gold medal in 1995. Duguchiev won World titles in 1990 and 1994. Yli-Hannuksela was a World Champion in 1997.

The competition will be held at Sports Center I on the U.S. Olympic Complex. Admission is free. This offers an outstanding opportunity for fans to witness Olympic-calibre competition prior to the Games.

As of February 23, a total of 42 nations have confirmed participation in this important event.

Nations are only able to enter athletes in weight classes which they did not qualify for the Olympics during the 1999 Greco-Roman World Championships last fall. The athletes do not qualify themselves for the Olympic Games; rather, they are qualifying their nation to participate in that weight class.

After all five of the Olympic Greco-Roman Qualifing events are held, the points for each nation at each weight class are added up. The top three scores for each nation at each weight class are counted toward the final total. The top seven nations at each weight class from the qualifying events will qualify for the Olympic Games.

The host United States will enter athletes at five weight classes (119 pounds, 127.75 pounds, 138.75 pounds, 152 pounds and 167.5 pounds). The USA has already earned Olympic qualification berths at three weight classes (187.25 pounds, 213.75 pounds and 286 pounds).

There are two competition sessions each day. On Saturday, March 4, sessions are scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. On Sunday, March 5, sessions are set for 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

GRECO-ROMAN OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT at Colorado Springs, Colo., March 4-5

Updated Schedule

Saturday, March 4

9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Session I

3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Session II

Sunday, March 5

9:00 a.m. - 1:00 noon - Session III

2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Session IV to include medal matches and finals

PAST WORLD AND OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS ENTERED

54 kg/119 lbs. - Ercan Yildiz, Turkey - 1997 World Champion

58 kg/127.75 lbs. - Dennis Hall, United States - 1995 World Champion

58 kg/127.75 lbs. - Rifat Yildiz, Germany - 1990 and 1991 World Champion

69 kg/152 lbs. - Ryzard Wolny, Poland - 1996 Olympic Champion

69 kg/152 lbs. - Islam Duguchiev, Azerbaijan - 1990 and 1994 World Champion

76 kg/167.5 lbs. - Marko Yli-Hannuksela, Finland - 1997 World Champion

85 kg/187.25 lbs. - Hamza Yerlikaya, Turkey - 1996 Olympic Champion, 1993 and 1995 World Champion

97 kg/213.75 lbs. - Maik Bullman, Germany - 1992 Olympic Champion, 1989, 1990, 1991 World Champion

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