Vitali Arujau claims Junior World silver medal in men’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 13, 2019, 2:06 p.m. (ET)
Vitaly Arujau of the USA (right) and Toshiya Abe of Japan had a fierce battle at 57 kg in the Junior World finals. Photo by Daniel Mitchell.

TALLINN, Estonia – Vitali Arujau (Syosset, N.Y./Finger Lakes WC) came home with the silver medal at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. at the 2019 Junior World Championships on Tuesday night.

He dropped a very close 3-2 decision to Toshiya Abe of Japan in the finals, a match which was not determined until the final few seconds.

Neither athlete was able to get much offense going throughout the match. Arujau was put on the shot clock in the first period and could not score in the required 30 seconds, giving a point to Abe for a 1-0 lead at the break. In the second period, Abe was placed on the shot clock and Arujau was given a point when Abe could not score, tying it up at 1-1. Arujau held the tie-breaker.

With 15 seconds to go, Abe was able to score on a leg attack for a takedown for a 3-1 lead. Abe was penalized with a caution and one point penalty for fleeing the hold in the final few seconds to make it 3-2. Arujau was unable to get to Abe as time ran out.

Arujau won his second career age-group World medal, after securing a 2016 Cadet World silver medal. He also secured the first medal for USA Wrestling at the 2019 Junior World Championships.

He had a powerful run to the finals on Monday, winning three straight matches against talented opponents, including an 8-1 win over 2018 World champion Akhmed Idrisov of Russia in the semifinals.

Arujau was fourth at the 2019 NCAA Championships for Cornell as a freshman. He was also fourth at the 2019 U.S. Senior Open in freestyle.

He was the only U.S. athlete from the first group of five U.S. athletes to reach a medal match on Tuesday night. However, the other five U.S. wrestlers who started competing on Tuesday morning are all competing in a medal match on Wednesday night, three going for gold and two going for bronze.

At Tallinn, Estonia, August 13

Men’s freestyle medalists

57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Gold - Toshiya Abe (Japan)
Silver - Vitali Arujau (USA)
Bronze - Akhmed Idrisov (Russia)
Bronze - Adlan Askarov (Kazakhstan)

65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold - Amirhossein Azim Maghsoudi (Iran)
Silver - Kurban Shiraev (Russia)
Bronze - Syrbaz Talgat (Kazakhstan)
Bronze - Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan)

70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold - Erik Arushanian (Ukraine)
Silver - Vasile Diacon (Moldova)
Bronze - Alan Kudzoev (Russia)
Bronze - Mohmmadsadegh Biglar Firouzpourbandpe (Iran)

79 kg/174 lbs.
Gold - Amkhad Tashukhadziev (Russia)
Silver - Bagrati Gagnidze (Georgia)
Bronze - Milan Mester (Hungary)
Bronze - Abubakr Abakarov (Azerbaijan)

97 kg/213 lbs.
Gold - Abbas Ali Foroutanrami (Iran)
Silver - Yonger Pauli Bastida Pomares (Cuba)
Bronze - Feyzullah Akturk (Turkey)
Bronze - Makhsud Veysalov (Uzbekistan)

U.S. men’s freestyle performances (group 1)

57 kg/125.5 lbs.: Vitali Arujau, Syosset, N.Y. (Finger Lakes WC), silver medal
WIN Giorgi Gegelashvili (Georgia), 5-4
WIN Vijay Patil (India), 10-9
WIN Akhmed Idrisov (Russia), 8-1
LOSS Toshiya Abe (Japan), 3-2

65 kg/143 lbs.: Yahya Thomas, Chicago, Ill. (Wildcat WC/Chicago RTC), dnp/12th
WIN Adilet Zhaparkulov (Kyrgyzstan), 5-0
LOSS Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 9-1

70 kg/154 lbs.: Brayton Lee, Brownsburg, Ind. (Minnesota RTC), dnp/15th
LOSS Ashraf Ashirov (Azerbaijan), 3-2

79 kg/174 lbs.: Aaron Brooks, Hagerstown, Md. (Titan Mercury WC/EAP), dnp/17th
LOSS Abubakr Abakarov (Azerbaijan), 5-3

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