2010 World Championships preview at 74 kg 163 lbs in Greco Roman wrestling

By Gary Abbott | Aug. 30, 2010, 10:56 p.m. (ET)
This should be a difficult weight class to predict, as many of the top performers from last season have not competed very much this year and others have had less than stellar seasons.

The reigning World champion, Selcuk Cebi of Turkey, has not made much impact this year, placing fifth at the World Cup and seventh at the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals. Representing Turkey at the 2010 European Championships was Seref Tuefenk, who placed seventh. Tuefenk has competed in two Olympic Games for Turkey.

Four-time World medalist Mark Madsen of Denmark seeks his first World gold. Madsen was second in 2005, 2007 and 2009 and third in 2006. He also has not been very active this year, wrestling at the World Cup but none of the other major events.

However, 2009 World bronze medalist Aliaksandr Kikinov of Belarus has had a strong season, winning the European Championships and placing third in the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals. He was also third in the Hungarian Golden Grand Prix, another major international event.

The other 2009 World bronze medalist, Farshad Alizadeh of Iran, has not been in any major competitions. Mehdi Mohammadi won a bronze at the 2010 Asian Championships and also competed at the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals for Iran.

Peter Bacsi of Hungary has had a good season, taking a bronze at the European Championships and winning the gold at the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals. He was fifth at the 2008 Olympics and is a past European champion.

2008 Olympic champion Manuchar Kvirkelia of Georgia continues to compete, placing fifth in the 2010 FILA Golden Grand Prix finals. Krirkvelia was a World champion in 2003 and World bronze medalist in 2006, and brings a wealth of experience to this division. Another possible entry from Georgia is Giorgi Tsirekidze, who was second in the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals.

Both Olympic bronze medalists Christophe Guenot of France and Yavor Yanakiev of Bulgaria continue to compete. Guenot was eighth at the 2009 World Championships, and Yanakiev did not place there. In 2007, Yanakiev was the World champion and Guenot claimed a World bronze medal. Guenot won a bronze medal at the 2010 Pytlasinski International in Poland, a major pre-Worlds tuneup event.

Konstantin Schneider of Germany, who was a 2003 World silver medal and 2005 World bronze medalist, remains a strong threat. He was fifth at the World Championships last year. At the Pylasinski International in Poland, Schneider placed fifth.

Rafiq Huseynov of Azerbaijan placed fifth in the World last year, but has competed in only one major event this year, the Golden Grand Prix finals, where he did not place. He was a two-time Junior World medalist. We could see Elvin Mursaliyev instead, who won the silver medal at the 2010 European Championships or Samarai Mustafaev, who was third at the FILA Golden Grand Prix finals.

Listed on the Russian website as their 74 kg competitor is Imil Sharafetdinov, who did not place at the FILA Golden Grand Prix this year and has little other experience. A possibility is Evgeny Popov, who placed 10th in the World last year, or Ruslan Belkhoroev, who was fifth in the European Championships this year.

Winning continental titles this year were Pan American champion Mayli Consuegra of Cuba and Asian champion Park Jin-Sun of Korea. Consuegra placed second at the World Cup this year. Park's last major event was the 2008 World Cup, where he won a gold medal. He is a former Junior World champion.

The United States will be represented by Jake Fisher, competing in his first World Championships. Fisher placed second at the Pan American Championships this year. He has been friend and training partner for two-time World medalist Harry Lester, who did not compete at all in 2010.

Arsen Jufalakyan of Armenia won a gold at the World Cup this year. He was 10th in the 2008 Olympic Games, and was a 2009 European Champion.

Armen Vardanyan, who was a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 66 kg, competed for Ukraine at the last World Championships but did not place. Ukraine may be represented by 2010 European bronze medalist Dmitri Pyshkov.

Others to watch include Ilyon Georgiev of Bulgaria, Sa Renmadula of China, Henri Valimaki of Finland, and Jakhongir Muminov of Uzbekistan.


2009 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Silver - Mark O. Madsen (Denmark); Bronze - Aliaksandr Kikiniov (Belarus); Bronze - Farshad Alizadeh Kelehkeshi (Iran); 5th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 5th - Rafiq Huseynov (Azerbaijan); 7th - Henri Valimaki (Finland); 8th - Christophe Guenot (France); 9th - Jakhongir Muminov (Uzbekistan); 10th - Evgeny Popov (Russia)

2008 Olympics
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Manuchar Kvirkelia (Georgia); Silver - Yongxiang Chang (China); Bronze - Yavor Yanakiev (Bulgaria); Bronze - Christophe Guenot (France); 5th - Aleh Mikhalovich (Belarus); 5th - Peter Basci (Hungary); 7th - Varteres Samourgashev (Russia); 8th - Roman Melyoshin (Kazakhstan); 9th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 10th - Arsen Jufalakyan (Armenia)

2007 World Championships results
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Yavor Yanakiev (Bulgaria); Silver - Mark Madsen (Denmark); Bronze - Christophe Guenot (France); Bronze - Valdemaras Venckaitis (Lithuania); 5th - Roman Melyoshin (Kazakhstan); 5th - Julian Kwit (Poland); 7th - Peter Bacsi (Hungary); 8th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 9th - Odelis Herrero (Cuba); 10th - Tae-Kyun Jung (Korea)

2006 World Championships results
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Volodym Shatskym (Ukraine); Silver - Marko Yli-Hannuksela (Finland); Bronze - Manuchar Krirkvelia (Georgia); Bronze - Mark Madsen (Denmark); 5th - T.C. Dantzler (United States); 5th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 7th - Ilya Shafran (Israel); 8th - Neven Zugaj (Croatia); 9th - Daniar Kobonov (Krygyzstan); 10th - Davod Abedinzadeh (Iran)

2005 World Championships results
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Varteres Samurgachev (Russia); Silver - Mark Madsen (Denmark); Bronze - Marko Yli-Hannuksela (Finland); Bronze - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 5th - Reto Bucher (Switzerland); 5th - Mohammad Babulfath (Sweden); 7th - Aleksandr Dokturishvili (Uzbekistan); 8th - Ilgar Abdulov (Azerbaijan); 9th - Mahmut Altaly (Turkey); 10th - Manuchar Kvirkvelia (Georgia)