Vitali Arujau reaches semifinals at Junior Worlds in men’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 12, 2019, 7:42 a.m. (ET)
Vitali Arujau of the USA counters an attack by Vijay Patil of India in the quarterfinals at the Junior Worlds in Estonia. Photo by Daniel Mitchell.

TALLINN, Estonia – 2016 Cadet World silver medalist Vitali Arujau (Syosset, N.Y./Finger Lakes WC) won two tough matches at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. and has advanced to the semifinals at the Junior World Championships on Monday morning.

In a close first round battle, Arujau had a strong second period to defeat three-time Cadet World medalist Giorgi Gegelashvili of Georgia, 4-3. Trailing 1-0, Arujau scored a pair of takedowns, with a spin behind takedown and a counter shot takedown for a 4-1 lead. Gegelashvili got a late takedown but could not turn Arujau as time ran out.

His second battle was a wide-open battle, where Arujau took command early and held his composure to defeat 2019 Asian silver medalist Vijay Patil of India, 9-8. Arujau led 6-0 at the break, with a takedown, then a pair of defensive tilts for exposure. In the second period, an Arujau takedown was reversed for two, making his lead 8-2.

A takedown with 1:43 left made it 8-4 for Arujau. A two-and-two scramble extended it to 10-6. Patil scored a late spin behind takedown to win

Arujau, who was fourth at the 2019 NCAA Championships for Cornell as a freshman, has drawn 2018 Junior World champion Akhmed Idrisov of Russia in tonight’s semifinals.

Tonight’s semifinals are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in Tallinn, which is seven hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone. All the action is broadcast live in the USA by Trackwrestling

The other four U.S. entries suffered a loss, with only one of the wrestlers still potentially eligible for the repechage, 2019 Pan American Junior champion Tanner Sloan (Alburnett, Iowa/Jackrabbit WC) at 97 kg/213 lbs.

Sloan fell in his opening match to 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Feyzullah Akturk of Turkey, in a 12-2 technical fall. Akturk was able to get his offense going as the match progressed. Akturk won his quarterfinal match, and still must win in Monday night’s semifinals to pull Sloan back in.

The other three U.S. wrestlers were knocked out when the athlete who beat them lost in their next match.

In a highly anticipated opening match at 79 kg, 2018 Junior World silver medalist and 2016 Cadet World champion Abubakr Abakarov of Azerbaijan edged 2017 Cadet World champion and 2018 Junior World champion Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./Titan Mercury WC/EAP), 5-3.

Brooks led after the first period, 1-0, when Abakarov was hit with a shot clock violation. In the second, Abakarov got the first takedown for a 2-1 lead. During a scramble, Brooks hit a headlock for two points and Abakarov scored a reversal to knot it at 3-3. Abakarov secured a takedown with 35 seconds left to close out the win.

Brooks was eliminated when Abakarov lost in the next round to 2019 European silver medalist Amkhad Tashukhadzhiev of Russia, 5-3. Abakarov fell behind 3-0, but tied it at 3-3 and held criteria. However, Tashukhadzhiev forced a step out with three seconds left, and got another point on a failed challenge to win it.

Going 1-1 at 65 kg/143 lbs. was Northwestern wrestler Yahya Thomas (Chicago, Ill./Wildcat WC/Chicago RTC). Thomas had a nice start with a 5-2 win over Adilet Zhaparkulov of Kyrgyzstan. Thomas led 3-0 at the break after a step out point and a takedown, then added a second-period takedown to stretch his lead. Zhaparkulov did not score until the final seconds of the bout.

In his second bout, Thomas was not able to keep up with 2018 Cadet World champion and 2018 Youth Olympic Games champion Turan Bayramov of Azerbaijan, falling behind and ultimately falling by a 9-1 margin. When Bayramov was beaten in the quarterfinals, Thomas was eliminated.

Brayton Lee (Brownsburg, Ind./Minnesota RTC), who competes for the University of Minnesota, fell in the first round at 70 kg/154 lbs. to Ashraf Ashirov of Azerbaijan, 3-2 . Lee led 2-0 at the break, with a shot clock penalty on Ashirov and a stepout point. In the second, Lee gave up a point by not scoring on the shot clock. Ashirov scored with a bodylock takedown to win the match 3-2. Ashirov was beaten in his next match.

At Tallinn, Estonia

U.S. men’s freestyle performances

57 kg/125.5 lbs.: Vitali Arujau, Syosset, N.Y. (Finger Lakes WC)
WIN Giorgi Gegelashvili (Georgia), 5-4
WIN Vijay Patil (India), 10-9
Semifinals – Vs. Akhmed Idrisov (Russia)

65 kg/143 lbs.: Yahya Thomas, Chicago, Ill. (Wildcat WC/Chicago RTC)
WIN Adilet Zhaparkulov (Kyrgyzstan), 5-0
LOSS Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 9-1

70 kg/154 lbs.: Brayton Lee, Brownsburg, Ind. (Minnesota RTC)
LOSS Ashraf Ashirov (Azerbaijan), 3-2

79 kg/174 lbs.: Aaron Brooks, Hagerstown, Md. (Titan Mercury WC/EAP)
LOSS Abubakr Abakarov (Azerbaijan), 5-3

97 kg/213.75 lbs.: Tanner Sloan, Alburnett, Iowa (Jackrabbit WC)
LOSS Feyzullah Akturk (Turkey), tech. fall, 12-2