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World Championships preview in freestyle wrestling at 97 kg

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Sept. 03, 2015, 3:03 p.m. (ET)

VIDEO: Kyle Snyder vs. Jake Varner at U.S. World Team Trials

Date of competition: Friday, Sept. 11

Powerful Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia won a strong weight class at the 2014 World Championships and he is wrestling well again this year.

Gadisov is ranked second by United World Wrestling in men’s freestyle at 97 kg/213 lbs.

Gadisov won the Yasar Dogu event in Turkey before claiming a bronze medal at the European Games this year. He is an experienced wrestler who is tough to score on.

The World Championships are set for Sept. 7-12 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Azerbaijan’s entry will be one of two outstanding wrestlers with Sharif Sharifov or Khetag Gazumov listed as that country’s entry at 97 kilograms.

Sharifov won 2012 Olympic and 2011 World titles at the former weight class of 84 kg/185 lbs. He has wrestled well since bumping up to 97. Sharifov is ranked third in the World.

Gazumov is a past World champion who has placed second in the World the past two years after winning an Olympic bronze medal in 2012. Gazumov won the European Games this year. He is ranked No. 1 in the World at 97 kilos.

Cuba’s Javier Cortina and Urkraine’s Valerii Andriitsev are the returning World bronze medalists in this class.

Cortina is ranked sixth despite losing to Americans Kyle Snyder and Jake Varner this year, and not medaling at the Pan American Games.

Andriitsev, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, won a bronze medal at the 2015 European Games.

Georgia’s Elizbar Odikadze, fifth at the 2014 Worlds, collected a silver medal at the European Games this summer. He is ranked fourth.

Iran will have a strong entry here with Mohammadhossein Mohammadian expected to be the wrestler to compete in Vegas. He won a World bronze medal at 86 kg/189 lbs. last year, but he has bumped up to 97 kg this year.

Mohammadian won the Asian title this year and he is ranked ninth in the World.

Two-time World champion Reza Yazdani of Iran is ranked seventh, but he has reportedly been hampered by injuries this year. He is ranked seventh. If he does compete, Yazdani is an extremely powerful wrestler who has a lethal single-leg attack and is difficult to score on.

Poland’s Radoslaw Baran, the 2015 Ali Aliyev champion, is ranked eighth in this division.

Snyder, who is just 19 years old, has burst onto the scene at the Senior level in a big way for the United States this year.

Snyder earned three wins over 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner en route to making the U.S. World Team this year. He also has beaten returning World bronze medalist Javier Cortina of Cuba.

Snyder, a 2013 Junior World champion, has made an amazing progression since placing second at the 2015 NCAA tournament as an Ohio State freshman.

Snyder is incredibly advanced mentally and physically for his age, and he continues to make rapid improvements. He powered to the Pan American Games gold medal in his last performance.

Snyder is a teenager competing in his first Senior Worlds, but he has a realistic chance to win a medal in Vegas. He’s that good.

Snyder is ranked 15th in the World, but he should be in the top 10 on the basis of wins over Varner and Cortina.


97 kg/213 lbs.
1. Khetag Gazumov (Azerbaijan)
2. Abdusalam Gadisov (Russia)
3. Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan)
4. Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia)
5. Valeri Andriitsev (Ukraine)
6. Javier Cortina (Cuba)
7. Reza Yazdani (Iran)
8. Radoslaw Baran (Poland)
9. Mohammadhossein Mohammadian (Iran)
10. Magomed Musaev (Kyrgyzstan)
11. Pavlo Oliynik (Ukraine)
12. Yuri Belonovski (Russia)
13. Abbas Tahan (Iran)
14. Omar Gugoshivili (Georgia)
15. Kyle Snyder (USA)
16. Ibragim Saidov (Belarus)
17. Ibragim Bolukbasi (Turkey)
18. Nicolae Ceban (Moldova)
19. Stefan Kehrer (Germany)
20. Wynn Michalak (USA)


2014 World Championships
97 kg/213 lbs. – Gold – Abdulsalam Gadisov (Russia); Silver – Khetag Gazumov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Javier Cortina (Cuba); Bronze – Valerii Andriitsev (Ukraine); 5th – Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia); 7th – Egzon Shala (Albania); 8th – Khderbulga Dorjkhand (Mongolia); 10th – Zueyi Zhang (China).

2013 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Reza Yazdani (Iran); Silver – Khetag Gazumov (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 Gazumov (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 Gazumov (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 Gazumov (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)