Photo: Robby Smith throws his opponent at the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas.
Date of competition: Tuesday, Aug. 21
Two wrestlers have ruled the 130 kg/286 lbs. weight over the last several years, but with one of them not expected to compete, it looks like reigning World champion Riza Kayaalp of Turkey is the gold-medal favorite.
Entering as the No. 1 seed, Kaayalp is a two-time World champion and a four-time World finalist, who has medaled in every Senior World Championships he has competed in. He won World gold in 2011 and 2015, while finishing with silver in 2013 and 2014. In 2009 and 2010, he brought home bronze medals for Turkey.
Additionally, Kayaalp win the University World Championships in 2011 and the University World Games in 2013.
In his three Olympic appearances, the Turk has collected two medals; silver in 2016 and bronze in 2012. In last year’s Olympic finals, he fell to Cuban powerhouse Mijain Lopez Nunez, who is a three-time Olympic champion and five-time World champion.
Lopez Nunez is not expected to compete in Paris. Instead, Cuba will send Oscar Pino Hinds, who boasts four international gold medals in five attempts. Pino Hinds is the 2016 and 2017 Pan American Champion, with is other championship performances coming from the 2017 Cerro Pelado International and the 2015 Granma Cup. In late-2016, he competed at the prestigious Golden Grand Prix, where he claimed bronze.
2016 Olympic bronze medalists Sergey Semenov of Russia and Sabah Shariati of Azerbaijan are both expected to represent their countries next week.
Semenov is a two-time Junior World champion and a 2015 Junior World silver medalist. Since his Olympic bronze, the Russian has competed several times, winning gold at the Ivan Poddubny Tournament and Russian Championship as well as helping his national team to a first-place finish at the World Cup, Alrosa Cup and European Nations Cup.
Shariati was fifth at the 2015 World Championships, and since the Rio Games, he won bronze at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games. With the absence of the No. 2-seed Oleksandr Chernetskyy of Ukraine and No. 3-seed Lopez Nunez. Shariati will enter the World Championships as the No. 2-seed.
As mentioned, 215 World bronze medalist Chernetskyy of Ukraine is not expected to compete. In his place will be 2017 Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov Tournament silver medalist Mykola Kumchii.
Two-time World champion Heiki Nabi of Estonia is expected in the field. Nabi won the 2006 World Championships at 96 kg before moving up and eventually winning the 2013 World Championships at 120 kg. In 2014, he finished with a World bronze.
Additionally, Nabi is the 2015 Military World Games champion and the 2016 World Military World champion.
The American representative will be one of U.S. Greco’s best-known personalities, Robby Smith.
Smith, the 2017 Pan Am bronze medalist, holds invaluable international experience, including fifth-place finishes at the World Championships in 2013 in Budapest, Hungry, and in 2015 in Las Vegas.
Overall, Smith owns an outstanding 24 international medals with 14 earned overseas. Of those 24 medals, 10 are gold, winning tournaments like Thor Masters, Pan-American Championships, Dave Schultz Memorial International, Lakrikov Championships, Haavisto Cup, New York AC International and Sunkist Kids International.
In addition to his Senior success, Smith was also a three-time Junior World Team member, representing the U.S. from 2005-2007.
Other wrestlers to look out for include Pytlasinski Cup champion Levan Arabuli of Georgia and European Championships runner-up Balint Lam of Hungary.
AUGUST UWW GRECO-ROMAN WORLD RANKINGS
1. Mijain LOPEZ NUNEZ (CUB)
2. Riza KAYAALP (TUR)
3. Sergey SEMENOV (RUS)
4. Levan ARABULI (GEO)
5. Balint LAM (HUN)
6. Alin ALEXUC-CIURARIU (ROU)
7. Sabah SHARIATI (AZE)
8. Vitali SHCHUR (RUS)
9. Aleksander CHERNETSKI (UKR)
10. Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB)
11. Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB)
12. Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO)
13. Heiki NABI (EST)
14. Osman YILDIRIM (TUR)
15. Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU)
16. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO)
17. Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI)
18. Kiril GRISHCHENKO (BLR)
19. Tuomas LAHTI (FIN)
20. Oscar MARVIK (NOR)
2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TOP SEEDS
1. Riza Kayaalp (Turkey)
2. Oleksandr Chernetskyy (Ukraine)
3. Mijain Lopez Nunez (Cuba)
4. Sabah Shariati (Azerbaijan)
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2016 Olympic Games
130 kg/286 lbs. – Gold – Mijain Lopez Nunez (Cuba); Silver – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze – Sabah Shariati (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Sergey Semenov (Russia); Fifth – Eduard Popp (Germany); Fifth – Heiki Nabi (Estonia); Seventh – Iakobi Kajaia (Geogia); Eighth – Jahan Euren (Sweden); Ninth – Oleksandr Chernetskyy (Ukraine); Tenth – Bashir Babajanzadeh Darzi (Iran)
2015 World Championships
130 kg/286 lbs. – Gold – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Silver – Mijain Lopez (Cuba); Bronze – Oleksandr Chernetski (Ukraine); Bronze – Bilyal Makhov (Russia); 5th – Sabahi Shariati (Azerbaijan); 5th – Robby Smith (United States); 7th – Murat Ramonov (Kyrgyzstan); 8th – Heiki Nabi (Estonia); 9th – Erwin Caraballo Cabrera (Venezuela); 10th – Yongmin Kim (Korea)
2014 World Championships
130 kg/286 lbs. – Gold – Mijian Lopez (Cuba); Silver – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze – Bilyal Makhov (Russia); Bronze – Heiki Nabi (Estonia); 5th – Eduard Popp (Germany); 5th – Lyubomir Dimitrov (Bulgaria); 7th – Johan Euren (Sweden); 8th – Behram Mehdizadeh (Iran); 9th – Nurmakhan Tinaliyev (Kazakhstan); 10th – Iakovi Kajaia (Georgia)
2013 World Championships
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Gold - Heiki Nabi (Estonia); Silver - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze – Nurmakhan Tinalyev (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Johan Euren (Sweden); 5th - Mihaly Deak-Bardos (Hungary); 5th - Robby Smith (USA); 7th - Eduard Popp (Germany); 8th - Radhouane Chebbi (Tunisia); 9th – Ramon Garcia (Dominican Republic); 10th - Sergei Andrusik (Russia)
2012 Olympic Games
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Gold - Mijian Lopez (Cuba); Silver - Heiki Nabi (Estonia); Bronze - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze - Johan Euren (Sweden); 5th - Guram Pherselidze (Georgia); 5th - Iosif Chugoshvili (Belarus); 7th - Darzi Babanjanzadeh (Iran); 8th - Yuri Patrikeev (Armenia); 9th - Dremiel Byers (USA); 10th - Lukasz Banak (Poland)
2011 World Championships
120 kg/264.4 lbs. – Gold - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Silver - Mijain Lopez (Cuba); Bronze - Nurmakhan Tinaliyev (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Bashir Asgari Babanjazadeh Darzi (Iran); 5th - Mihály Deak-Bardos (Hungary); 5th - Lukasz Banak (Poland); 7th - Xenofon Koutsioumpas (Greece); 8th - Ivan Ivanov (Bulgaria); 9th - Yuri Patrikeev (Armenia); 10th - Aleksandr Anuchin (Russia)
2010 World Championships
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Gold – Mijain Lopez (Cuba); Silver – Youri Patrikeev (Armenia); Bronze – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze – Nurmakhan Tinaliev (Kazakhstan); 5th – Dremiel Byers (United States); 5th – Marek Svec (Czech Republic); 7th – Khassan Baroev (Russia); 8th – Lukasz Banak (Poland); 9th – Johan Magnus Euren (Sweden); 10th – Guram Pherselidze (Georgia)
2009 World Championships
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Gold - Mijain Lopez (Cuba); Silver - Dremiel Byers (USA); Bronze - Jalmar Sjoeberg (Sweden); Bronze - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); 5th - Nico Schmidt (Germany); 5th - Ioseb Chugoshvili (Belarus); 7th - Aleksandr Anunchin (Russia); 8th – Mihaly Deak-Bardos (Hungary); 9th - Rafael Barreno (Venezuela); 10th - Marek Svec (Czech Republic)