COMPETITION DATE: Sept. 21-22, 2019
The 79 kg field for the 2019 World Championships in men’s freestyle features a heavy favorite in returning World champion Kyle Dake from the USA. En route to his 2018 World gold, Dake did not give up a single point against the field.
Kazakhstan will mark Dake’s second international competition since he won the World title last October in Budapest, Hungary. Earlier this summer, he competed at the Grand Prix of Spain, which he won decisively.
To make the U.S. World Team, Dake had to defeat World No. 4 Alex Dieringer in a best-of-three series at Final X in Austin, Texas.
There are two Olympic medalists in the field, including Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijan and Murad Gaidarov of Belarus.
Hasanov has an impressive resume including 2018 World silver, 2016 Olympic bronze and two World bronze medals from 2010 and 2011.
Last year, Hasanov advanced to the World finals but fell to Dake in a 2-0 battle.
So far this season, Hasanov won gold at the 2019 European Championships and claimed silver at the Takhti Cup.
Gaidarov last medaled at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he produced a silver medal. Prior to that, the Belarussian was a 2003 World silver medalist.
There are four 2018 U23 World medalists expected to compete in Nur-Sultan, including two champions in Taimuraz Salkazanov of Slovakia and Nika Kentchadze of Georgia.
Salkazanov won the U23 World title at 70 kg, while Kentchadze nabbed the gold at 79 kg.
Others who medaled last year were silver medalist Gadzhi Nabiev of Russia and bronze medalist Omaraskhab Nazhmudinov from Romania.
Salkazanov and Nazhmudinov were former Russian competitors.
Other names to watch out for in Kazakhstan are two-time World medalist Pavel Olejnyik of Hungary and 2019 Asian champion Bahmna Mohammad Teymouri of Iran.
Current UWW Ranking Series standings (used for seeding)
1. Kyle DAKE (USA)
2. Jabrayil HASANOV (Azerbaijan)
3. Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (Russia)
4. Alex DIERINGER (USA)
5. Muhammet KOTANOGLU (Turkey)
6. Bahman TEYMOURI (Iran)
7. Galymzhan USSERBAYEV (Kazakhstan)
8. Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (Algeria)
9. Parveen RANA (India)
10. Nika KENTCHADZE (Georgia)