World Championships preview in freestyle wrestling at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Aug. 22, 2013, 2:20 p.m. (ET)
Date of competition: Monday, Sept. 16

The year after the Olympic Games typically means a wide-open race for the title at the World Championships with numerous athletes retiring or taking a break from competition.

And this year is no exception.

There will be a number of top young studs gunning for gold medals at the 2013 World Championships on Sept. 16-22 in Budapest, Hungary.

The lightest freestyle weight class - 55 kg/121 lbs. - has a number of talented wrestlers expected to battle for the title.

Young Russian star Dzhamel Otarsulatnov captured the 2012 Olympic gold medal in this weight class, but did not wrestle in the Russian Nationals in June. He has not posted any international results since winning the Olympics.

Russia's Nariman Israpilov won the Russian Nationals this year and may be the entry at the Worlds. Israpilov won the World University Games this year and is a past European and Junior World champion. He is ranked No. 3 in the World by FILA.

Russia's Viktor Lebedev won the last two World titles in 2010 and 2011, but has not posted any international results since falling to Otarsultanov in the finals of the 2012 Russian Nationals.

Georgia's Vladimer Khinchagashvili won Olympic silver last year with Kyong-Il Yang of North Korea and Shinichi Yumoto of Japan earning the bronze medals in London. Yang won Worlds in 2009 and is ranked No. 2 in the World.

Georgia's Giorgi Edisherashvili is ranked No. 1 in the World after winning the European Championships this year.

India's Amit Kumar is ranked fourth in the World after winning the Asian Championships this year. Kumar was 10th in the 2012 Olympics.

Romania's Andrei Dukov is ranked sixth after winning the Ion Corneanu Memorial.

The U.S. has traditionally enjoyed great success in this weight class at the Olympics, but has not won a medal at the World or Olympic level in this division since Henry Cejudo struck gold at the 2008 Olympics.

American Obe Blanc has qualified for his second U.S. World Team. Blanc reached the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Championships before placing ninth.

Blanc is a slick and talented wrestler on his feet who is capable of landing a spot on the World podium.

55 kg/121 lbs. - 1. Giorgi Edisherashvili (Georgia); 2. Kyong-Il Yang (North Korea); 3. Nariman Israpilov (Russia); 4. Amit Kumar (India); 5. Ismail Musukaev (Russia); 6. Andrei Dukov (Romania); 7. Vladislav Andreev (Belarus); 8. Behkbayar Erdenbat (Mongolia); 9. Fumitaka Morishita (Japan); 10. Nomin Batbold (Mongolia); 11. Rasul Kaliev (Kazakhstan); 12. Samat Nadrybek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan); 13. Zoheir El Ourraqe (France); 14. Sergey Ratushny (Ukraine); 15. Ghenadi Tulbea (Monaco)


2012 Olympic Games
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Dzhamel Otarsulatnov (Russia); Silver - Vladimer Khinchagashvili (Georgia); Bronze - Kyong-Il Yang (North Korea); Bronze - Shinichi Yumoto (Japan); 5th - Daulet Niyazbekov (Kazakhstan); 5th - Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria); 7th - Mihran Jaburyan (Armenia); 8th - Hassan Rahimi (Iran); 9th - Ahmet Peker (Turkey); 10th - Amit Kumar (India)

2011 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Viktor Lebedev (Russia); Silver - Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Daulet Niyabekov (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Hassan Rahimi (Iran); 5th - Mihran Jaburyan (Armenia); 5th - Nick Simmons (USA); 7th - Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia); 8th - Shinichi Yumoto (Japan); 9th - Nurlan Makenaliev (Kyrgyzstan); 10th - Bayaraa Naranbaatar (Mongolia)

2010 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Viktor Lebedev (Russia); Silver - Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan); Bronze - Frank Chamizo (Cuba); Bronze - Yasuhiro Inaba (Japan); 5th - Hyo-Sub Kim (Korea); 5th - Naranbaatar Bayaraa (Mongolia); 7th - Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria); 8th - Rizvan Gadzhiev (Belarus); 9th - Obe Blanc (USA); 10th - Hassan Rahimi (Iran)

2009 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Kyong-Il Yang (North Korea); Silver - Sezar Akgul (Turkey); Bronze - Victor Lebedev (Russia); Bronze - Rizvan Gadzhiev (Belarus); 5th - Krasimir Krastanov (Great Britain); 5th - Namig Sevdimov (Azerbaijan); 7th - Mykola Aivazian (Ukraine); 8th - Mihan Jaburyan (Armenia); 9th - Hyo-Sub Kim (Korea); 10th - Hassan Rahimi (Iran)

2008 Olympic Games
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Henry Cejudo (USA); Silver - Tomohiro Matsunaga (Japan); Bronze - Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Besik Kudukhov (Russia); 5th - Namig Sevdimov (Azerbaijan); 5th - Dilshod Mansurov (Uzbekistan); 7th - Rizvan Gadzhiev (Belarus); 8th - Besarion Gochishvili (Georgia); 9th - Kim Hyo-Sub (Korea); 10th - Abbas Dabbaghi (Iran)

2007 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Besik Kudukhov (Russia); Silver - Naranbaatar Bayaraa (Mongolia); Bronze - Andy Moreno (Cuba); Bronze - Rizvan Gadshiev (Belarus); 5th - Sezer Akguel (Turkey); 5th - Dilshod Mansurov (Uzbekistan); 7th - Freddy Serrano (Colombia); 8th - Zhassulan Mukhtabekuly (Kazakhstan); 9th - Anil Kumar (India); 10th - Firas Alrifaei (Syria)

2006 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria); Silver - Besik Kudukhov (Russia); Bronze - Namig Abdullayev (Azerbaijan); Bronze - Sammie Henson (USA); 5th - Sub Kim-Hyo (Korea); 5th - Adkham Achilov (Uzbekistan); 7th - Vinod Kumar (India); 7th - Vinod Kumar (India); 8th - Taghi Dadashi (Iran); 9th - O Son Nam (North Korea); 10th - Amiran Kartanov (Greece)

2005 World Championships
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Dilshod Mansurov (Uzbekistan); Silver - Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Hyon Guk Jon (North Korea); Bronze - Bayaraa Naranbaatar (Mongolia); 5th - Namig Abdullayev (Azerbaijan); 5th - Tomohiro Matsunaga (Japan); 7th - Jae-Hoon Jan (Korea); 8th - Gevork Markaryan (Ukraine); 9th - Zalimkhan Kutseev (Russia); 10th - Ghenadie Tulbea (Moldova)

2004 Olympic Games
55 kg/121 lbs. - Gold - Mavlet Batirov (Russia); Silver - Stephen Abas (USA); Bronze - Chikara Tanabe (Japan); 4th - Amiran Karntanov (Greece); 5th - Li Zhengu (China); 6th - Kim Hyo Sub (Korea); 7th - Oleksandr Zakharuk (Ukraine); 8th - O Song Nam (P.R. of Korea); 9th - Velikov Radislav (Bulgaria); 10th - Dilshod Mansurov (Uzbekistan)