2010 World Championships preview at 96 kg 211 5 lbs in Greco Roman wrestlingDate of competition: Monday, September 6
The reigning World champion at this division is Balazs Kiss of Hungary, who had never medaled before at this level but had won two World University silver medals. He has not slowed down this season, adding gold medals at the World Cup and the Hungarian Golden Grand Prix to his trophy case.
2008 Olympic champion Aslanbek Khushtov of Russia won a bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships, and has been selected to compete at the World Championships again this summer. He won his third straight European title at this division, and was fifth in the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals this summer. His experience makes him a favorite in this field.
Sweden's Jimmy Lidberg had his best season ever, taking the silver medal at the 2009 World Championships. He did not place at the European Championships this year, and was out of the medals at the pre-World tuneup event, the Pytlasinski International in Poland. Lidberg has a vast wealth of experience, and is capable of a strong performance at any time.
Amir Ali Akbari of Iran won the other 2009 World bronze medal, but he may not even be Iran's choice for the event this year. Babak Ghorbani won both the Asian Championships and the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals this year and was third at the World Cup. Ghorbani was a 2009 Junior World champion. Meanwhile, Akbari won an event in Georgia this summer competing up at 120 kg.
Placing second behind Khushtov at the 2010 Europeans was Timofej Dzeynichenko of Belarus, his best performance to date on the Senior level. Dzeynichenko won a bronze medal at the Pytlasinski International in Poland, a top World tune-up event.
Both of the European bronze medalists are also relative newcomers on the Senior level, Cenk Ildem of Turkey and Soso Jabidze of Georgia. Ildem has impressive age-group achievements, with both a Junior World title and a World University title.
2008 Olympic silver medalist Mirko Englich did not compete for over a year, but returned to place fifth at the 2010 European Championships. Placing 10th in 2009 World championships for Germany was Oliver Hassler.
Mohammed Abd El Fatah of Egypt, a 2006 World champion at 84 kg, won a silver medal at 2010 FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals. Winning bronze medals at the Golden Grand Prix Finals were Dimitri Timchenko of Ukraine and Ahmet Tacyldiz of Turkey.
2005 World bronze medalist Justin Ruiz of the United States returns after taking a season off. He won the 2010 Pan American Championships, and claimed a bronze medal at the Pytlasinski International. Ruiz has the ability and experience to win another World medal, with a commitment to seek his first Olympic berth in 2012.
Winning the gold at the Pytlasinski International was Melonin Noumonvi of France, who was a 2009 World silver medalist and 2010 European bronze medalist at 84 kg. If he stays up, he could be a factor at the higher division.
Among the placewinners from the 2009 World Championships were David Saldadze of Uzbekistan, Sergiy Yeroshkin of Ukraine, Serkan Ozden of Turkey, Chang-Gun An of Korea and Alin Alexuc of Romania. Of this group, Saldadze has been the most consistent, placing fifth at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals.
Ramaz Nozadze of Georgia, a 2007 World champion and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, continues to compete, but has not been a force in recent seasons. Heiki Nabi of Estonia, a 2006 World champion at this division, also continues to compete, but has not won a medal at a major event since that World title.
Others to watch include Ningchao Zhai of China, Margulan Assembekov of Kazakhstan, Mindaugas Ezerskis of Lithuania, Marek Svec of the Czech Republic and Yasmany Lugo of Cuba.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2009 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold - Balazs Kiss (Hungary); Silver - Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); Bronze - Amir Ali Akbari (Iran); Bronze - Aslanbek Khushtov (Russia); 5th - David Saldadze (Uzbekistan); 5th - Sergiy Yeroshkin (Ukraine); 7th - Serkan Ozden (Turkey); 8th - Chang-Gun An (Korea) ; 9th - Alin Alexuc (Romania); 10th - Oliver Hassler (Germany)
2008 Olympic Games
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold - Aslanbek Khushtov (Russia); Silver - Mirko Englich (Germany); Bronze - Adam Wheeler (USA); Bronze - Asset Mambetov (Kazakhstan); 5th - Han Tae-Young (Korea); 5th - Marek Svec (Czech Republic); 7th - Mindaugus Ezerskis (Lithuania); 8th - Elis Guri (Albania); 9th - Jiang Huachen (China); 10th - Mehmet Ozal (Turkey)
2007 World Championship results
96 kg/211.5 lbs.- Gold - Ramaz Nozadze (Georgia); Silver - Mindaugas Ezerskis (Lithuania); Bronze - Marek Svec (Czech Republic); Bronze - Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); 5th - Kenzo Kato (Japan); 5th - Diagoro Timoncini (Italy); 7th - Elis Guri (Albania); 8th - Serkan Ozden (Turkey); 9th - Aset Membetov (Kazakhstan); 10th - Rami Hietaniemi (Finland)
2006 World Championships results
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold - Heiki Nabi (Estonia); Silver - Marek Svec (Czech Republic); Bronze - Kaloyan Dinchev (Bulgaria); Bronze - Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); 5th - Andrei Batura (Belarus); 5th - Ramaz Nozadze (Georgia); 7th - Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); 8th - Lajos Virag (Hungary); 9th - Theodoros Tounoysidis (Greece); 10th - Young Han-Tae (Korea)
2005 World Championships results
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Gold - Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); Silver - Lajos Virag (Hungary); Bronze - Vasilliy Tepoulkhov (Russia); Bronze - Justin Ruiz (USA); 5th - Mirko Englich (Germany); 5th - Margulan Assembekov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Mikhaylo Nikolaev (Ukraine); 8th - Vladislav Metodiev (Bulgaria); 9th - Shata Narmaniya (Belarus); 10th - Marek Svec (Czech Republic)