Ellis Coleman at the 2018 World Championships. Photo by Jim Thrall.
Another weight class, another returning World champion for Russia. Artem Surkov is back. Although he has looked less dominant than he did in 2018, where he won all four tournaments he participated in leading up to his World Championship run. This year he has not won a tournament he has entered, finishing runner-up at the Nikola Petrov Tournament in Bulgaria and the Grand Prix of Germany and third at the European Championships.
Surkov is a 2015 and 2017 World bronze medalist at 66 kg and should be expected to medal again this year, potentially contending for another World title.
A big reason Surkov is not the favorite this year is Germany’s Frank Staebler dropping down to 67 kg after winning a World title last year at 72 kg. In 2019, Staebler has placed third at the Grand Prix of Spain at 72 kg and more recently defeated Surkov in the finals of the Grand Prix of Germany at 67 kg. Staebler is looking to win his fourth World championship at his fourth different weight class. In addition to his 2018 title, Staebler brought home gold in 2017 at 71 kg and 2015 at 66 kg. Staebler also took bronze at the 2013 World Championships and the 2009 Junior World Championships at 66 kg. He has represented Germany at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics at 66 kg, finishing in fifth and seventh place.
2018 World runner-up and 2016 Olympic champion Davor Stefanek of Serbia is not listed as one of their entrees. He has not competed in any tournaments this year. Instead they will be sending Mate Nemes, an 11th place finisher at the 2017 World Championships at 66 kg. Nemes has been very active this year, wrestling in five different tournaments. He finished runner-up at the Ljubomir Ivanoivc Gedza International in Serbia, took third at the European Games and the Grand Prix of Hungary, fifth at the European Championships and the Grand Prix of Zagreb in Croatia and ninth at the Tbilisi International in Georgia.
Last year’s bronze medalist, Gevorg Sahakyan of Poland (formerly Armenia) has put together another solid season of wrestling. While his results up a weight class at 72 kg have not been stellar, 11th at the Grand Prix of Zagreb and fifth at the Grand Prix of Spain, he has looked great at 67 kg. He placed first at the Nikola Petrov, defeating Surkov in the finals, He also finished runner-up at the European Championships and the Wladyslaw Pytalasinski Cup in Poland.
Meiirzhan Shermakhanbet of Kazakhstan, the other 2018 bronze medalist, has competed in three tournaments this year. Shermakhanbet placed second at the Asian Championships and third at the Nikola Petrov Tournament. He also finished third at 72 kg at the Oleg Karavaev Memorial in Belarus. Having the World Championships in his home country should give Shermakhanbet added incentive to earn another medal.
One of the best wrestlers in the tournament is two-time World champion Hansu Ryu of South Korea. After a disappointing 26th place performance at the 2018 World Championships, Ryu has returned to form, winning the Asian Championships and the Grand Prix of Hungary, finishing runner-up at the Oleg Karavaev Memorial and taking third at the City of Sassari Tournament in Italy. Ryu won World titles at 66 kg in 2013 and 2017, while finishing runner-up in 2015. He also placed fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games and third at the 2006 and 2007 Junior World Championships at 60 kg.
2017 World bronze medalist at 66 kg, Atakan Yueksel, has been enigmatic to say the least. Last year, he finished in 33rd place at the World Championships. He started off 2019 with a sixth place finish at the Nikola Petrov Tournament before, winning a loaded bracket at the European Championships. However, most recently he placed 11th at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup. While Yueksel’s results are all over the spectrum, he is not a wrestler you would want to see in the early rounds.
Another dangerous wrestler with up-and-down results is Egypt’s Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed. Two months after placing fifth at the 2018 Junior World Championships, Elsayed won the U23 World Championships. He opened 2019 with a 14th place performance at the Nikola Petrov Tournament, but then rattled off back-to-back titles at the African Championships and the Oleg Karavaev Memorial. Elsayed is just starting his Senior level career and will almost certainly be a force in years to come.
Ellis Coleman will represent the U.S. at his fourth Senior level World Championship. The veteran Coleman has not brought home a Senior level medal but does have two Junior bronze medals from the 2010 and 2011 World Championships at 66 kg. Internationally in 2019, Coleman has placed runner-up at the Pan-American Championships and third at the Pan-American Games. Domestically, he has dominated, winning the U.S. Open and his Final X series in two matches.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2018 World Championships
67 kg/147.75 lbs.
Gold – Artem Surkov (Russia); Silver – Davor Stefanek (Serbia); Bronze – Meiirzhan Shermakhanbet (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Gevorg Sahakyan (Poland); 5th - Mamadassa Sylla (France); 5th – Danijel Janecic (Croatia); 7th – Fredrik Holmquist Bjerrehuus (Denmark); 8th – Mohammadreza Abdolhamid Geraei (Iran); 9th – Tsuchika Shimoyamada (Japan); 10th – Kamran Mammadov (Azerbaijan)
2017 World Championships
66 kg/145 lbs.
Gold – Han-Soo Ryu (Korea); Silver - Mateusz Bernatek (Poland); Bronze – Artem Surkov (Russia) ; Bronze –Atakan Yuksel (Turkey) ; 5th - Karen Aslanyan (Armenia); 5th - Mohammad Elyasi (Iran); 7th - Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan); 8th - Danijel Janecic (Croatia); 9th - Denys Demyankov (Ukraine); 10th - Flavio Freuler (Switzerland)
2016 Olympic Games
66 kg/145 lbs. – Gold – Davor Stefanek (Serbia); Silver - Migran Arutnyan (Armenia); Bronze – Rasul Chunayev (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Shmagi Bolkvadze (Georgia); Fifth – Ryu Hansu (South Korea); Fifth – Tomohiro Inoue (Japan); Seventh – Frank Staebler (Germany); Eighth – Tarek Aziz Benaissa (Algeria); Ninth – Islam-Beka Albiev (Russia); Tenth – Omid Haji Noroozi (Iran)
2015 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Frank Staebler (Germany); Silver – Han-Soo Ryu (Korea); Bronze – Davor Stefanek (Serbia); Bronze – Artem Surkov (Russia); 5th – Tarek Aziz Benaissa (Algeria); 5th – Migran Arutyunyan (Armenia); 7th – Shmagi Bolkvadze (Georgia); 8th – Dominik Etlinger (Croatia); 9th – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); 10th – Mateusz Lucjan Bernatek (Poland)
2014 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Davor Stefanek (Serbia); Silver – Omid Noroozi (Iran); Bronze – Edgardas Venckaitis (Lithuania); Bronze – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); 5th – Hasan Aliyev (Azerbaijan); 5th – Frank Staebler (Germany); 7th – Revaz Lashkhi (Georgia); 8th – Hideyuki Otoizumi (Japan); 9th – Mihran Hartyunyan (Armenia); 10th – Konstantin Stas (Bulgaria)
2013 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Han-Soo Ryu (Korea); Silver – Islambek Albiev (Russia); Bronze – Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (India); Bronze –Frank Staebler (Germany); 5th – Aleksandar Maksimovic (Serbia); 5th – Hasan Aliyev (Azerbaijan); 7th - Vladimiros Matias (Greece); 8th – A. Byabangard (Iran); 9th – Yuksel Atakan (Turkey); 10th – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)
2012 Olympic Games
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Gold – Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea); Silver – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); Bronze – Manuchar Tskhaidia (Georgia); Bronze – Steeve Guenot (France); 5th – Frank Staebler (Germany); 5th – Pedro Mulens (Cuba); 7th – Edgaras Venckaitis (Lithuania); 8th – Justin Lester (USA); 9th – Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 10th – Amm El Garably (Egypt)
Current UWW Ranking Series Standings (for seeding)
1 Artem Surkov (Russia)
2 Hansu Ryu (South Korea)
3 Gevog Sahakyan (Poland)
4 Meiirzhan Shermakhanbet (Kazakhstan)
5 Davor Stefanek (Serbia)
6 Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed (Egypt)
7 Daniel Janecic (Croatia)
8 Mate Nemes (Serbia)
9 Mammadassa Sylla (France)
10 Tsuchika Shimoyamada (Japan)