USA Wrestling World Championships ...

World Championships preview in freestyle wrestling at 97 kg

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Sept. 01, 2014, 4:50 p.m. (ET)

VIDEO: Jake Varner vs. Valeri Andriitsev (Ukraine) in 2012 Olympic gold-medal finals

Jake Varner is looking for his third World-level medal after winning the 2012 Olympics and capturing a bronze medal at the 2011 Worlds. USAW file photo.

Date of competition:
Tuesday, Sept. 9

American Jake Varner realized a lifelong dream when he captured a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

Varner was expected to make a run at a World title in 2013, but he instead elected to take most of the season off.

Varner is back now, and he’s looking as strong and as motivated as ever. He’s qualified for his third World Championships and is looking for gold after winning a bronze medal in his most recent trip to Worlds in 2011.

Varner won the U.S. Open and U.S. World Team Trials at the new freestyle weight class of 97 kg/213 lbs. before placing third at July’s Golden Grand Prix in Azerbaijan.

The World Championships are set for Sept. 8-14 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

2011 and 2013 World champion Reza Yazdani of Iran is ranked No. 1 in the World and is the favorite to win this division again this year. Yazdani looked very strong at March’s World Cup in Los Angeles.

2010 World champion Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan has come on recently and is ranked No. 3 in the World. He beat Varner in the first round of the Golden Grand Prix. He was second in the World last year.

2012 Olympic silver medalist Valeri Andriitsev of Ukraine beat 2013 World bronze medal winner and compatriot Pavlo Oleynik in Golden Grand Prix. Andriitsev then fell to Gazyumov 9-4 in the finals.

Veteran Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia, a 2012 Olympian, is ranked No. 2 in the World. Gadisov beat Gazyumov in the finals of the European Championships. He also won the Russian Nationals and the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix this year.

The powerful Gadisov beat 2013 World bronze medalist Anzor Boltukaev in the finals of the Russian Nationals this year. Gadisov placed fifth in the World at 84 kg/185 lbs. in 2009.

Ivan Yankouski of Belarus is ranked fourth in the World. He was second to Gadisov at the Yarygin event and third behind Gadisov and Gazyumov at the Europeans this year.

This is one of the strongest weight classes at the Worlds with an Olympic gold medalist (Varner), two World champions (Yazdani and Gazyumov) and numerous World medalists in the field.

With Varner coming back strong, it will be an entertaining battle to see who earns the gold in this power-packed weight class.

FILA WORLD RANKINGS

97 kg/213 lbs. – 1. Reza Yazdani (Iran); 2. Abdusalam Gadisov (Russia); 3. Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan); 4. Ivan Yankouski (Belarus); 5. Yuri Belonovski (Russia); 6. Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan); 7. Valeri Andriitsev (Ukraine); 8. Pavlo Oleynik (Ukraine); 9. Jake Varner (USA); 10. Khuderbulga Dorjkhand (Mongolia); 11. William Harth (Germany); 12. Magomed Musaev (Kyrgyzstan); 13. Satyavart Kadian (India); 14. Attila Szmik (Hungary); 15. Radoslaw Baran (Poland); 16. Nicolae Ceban (Moldova); 17. Javier Cortina (Cuba); 18. Imants Lagodskis (Latvia); 19. Edgar Yenokyan (Armenia); 20. Arjun Singh Gill (Canada).

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2013 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Reza Yazdani (Iran); Silver – Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Anzor Boltukaev (Russia); Bronze – Pavlo Oliinyk (Ukraine); 5th – Aleksey Krupnyakov (Kyrgyzstan); 5th – Dato Kerashvili (Georgia); 7th – Kamil Skaskiewicz (Poland); 8th – Takeshi Yamaguchi (Japan); 9th – Nicolai Ceban (Moldova); 10th – Egzon Shala (Albania)

2012 Olympic Games
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Jake Varner (USA); Silver – Valeri Andriitsev (Ukraine); Bronze – George Gogeshelidze (Georgia); Bronze – Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan); 5th – Kurban Kurbanov (Kazakhstan); 5th – Reza Yazdani (Iran); 7th – Magomed Musaev (Kyrgyzstan); 8th – Rustam Isokawa (Japan); 9th – Abdusalam Gadisov (Russia); 10th – Khetag Pliev (Canada)

2011 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Reza Yazdani (Iran); Silver – Serhat Balci (Turkey); Bronze – Ruslan Sheikhau (Belarus); Bronze – Jake Varner (USA); 5th – Sinivie Boltic (Nigeria); 5th – Taimuraz Tigiyev (Kazakhstan); 7th – Rustam Iskandari (Tajikistan); 8th – Gergely Sandor Kiss (Hungary); 9th – Jozef Jaloviar (Slovakia); 10th – Kurban Kurbanov (Uzbekistan)

2010 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan); Silver – Khadshimourad Gatsalov (Russia); Bronze – Alexey Krupnyakov (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze – George Gogshelidze (Georgia); 5th – Ruslan Sheikhau (Belarus); 5th – Arfan Amiri (Iran); 7th – Khetag Pliev (Canada); 8th – Michel Batista (Cuba); 9th – Serhat Balci (Turkey); 10th – J.D. Bergman (USA)

2009 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Khadshimourad Gatsalov (Russia); Silver – Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Serhat Balci (Turkey); Bronze – George Gogchelidze (Georgia); 5th – Ruslan Sheikhau (Belarus); 5th – Saeed Abrahimi (Iran); 7th – Oldrick Wagner (Germany); 8th – Saleh Moustafa Emara (Egypt); 9th – Jake Varner (USA); 10th – Edgar Yenokyan (Armenia)