USA Wrestling Postponed Olympics D...

Postponed Olympics Day 2: Gold medals scheduled at 76 kg women, plus 60 kg and 130 kg Greco-Roman

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 03, 2020, 10:45 a.m. (ET)

Five-time World champion Adeline Gray of the United States, who qualified the USA for the 2020 Olympic Games, shown in the 2019 World Championships finals. The gold-medal finals at her weight class, 76 kg, would have been held today if the 2020 Games had not been postponed. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers are Warriors.

August 3 was scheduled to be the first day of medal competition in wrestling at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, had the event not been postponed and rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will take a closer look at the three weight classes that would have been featured in the medal rounds today, 76 kg in women’s freestyle, plus two Greco-Roman weight classes, 60 kg and 130 kg.

There is one women’s weight class being showcased each day during the six days of finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. This decision was for a lot of good reasons, but mainly because Japan is the power in Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling and will be one of the hottest tickets among all sports in Tokyo.

At this point, half of the field has been determined in every weight class for the 2021 Olympic wrestling competition. We will look at the nations qualified (and the athletes expected to wrestle), as well as those who might be favored to qualify for the Olympics in the Olympic Qualifiers to come in 2021. The United States team will not be determined until April 2021.

Women’s 76 kg review

The top favorite at the first women’s weight class is an American, five-time World champion Adeline Gray. A 2016 Olympian, should Gray make the U.S. team as most expect, she brings the best resume in what is a loaded weight class. Gray won the most recent World Championships in 2019, beating Japan’s Hiroe Suzuki in the finals. She boasts seven World medals, with a pair of bronzes to go with her five golds. Gray is talented, strong and motivated to add an Olympic gold to her Hall of Fame legacy.

The seven other women already qualified are extremely talented and experienced. This group includes the 2016 Olympic champion Erica Wiebe of Canada and 2014 World champion and three-time World medalist Aline Focken of Germany. Add in 2016 Olympic silver medalist Elmira Syzdykova of Kazakhstan. Japan’s Suzuki is a three-time World medalist, while Epp Mae of Estonia and Qian Zhou of China are two-time World medalists. 2014 World silver medalist Aline da Silva of Brazil rounds out those already qualified.

Among the big stars not yet qualified is 2017 World champion and 2018 World silver medalist Yasemin Adar of Turkey, who missed out of the top six at the 2019 Worlds. Another big name still seeking a berth is four-time World medalist Vasilisa Marzaliuk. Russia has two big stars still on the outside, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Ekaterina Bukina and 2012 Olympic champion Natalia Vorobeva. Others who are expected to battle for a trip to Tokyo are three-time World medalist Burmaa Ochirbat of Mongolia, 2018 World fifth-place finisher Zsanett Nemeth of Hungary and 2005 World medalist Svetlana Saenko of Moldova, with many others very capable of reaching the Games.

Women’s 76 kg/167.5 lbs. Olympic Games qualifiers
2019 World champion – United States (Adeline Gray)
2019 World silver medalist – Japan (Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki)
2019 World bronze medalist – Germany (Aline Rotter Focken)
2019 World bronze medalist – Estonia (Epp Maee)
2019 World fifth place – China (Qian Zhou)
2019 World fifth place – Kazakhstan (Elmira Syzdykova)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – Canada (Erica Wiebe)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Brazil (Aline da Silva Ferreira)
Remaining eight Olympic Games berths: European Olympic Qualifier champion, European Olympic Qualifier runner-up, Asian Olympic Qualifier champion, Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up, African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion, African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up, Last Chance World Olympic Qualifier champion, Last Chance World Olympic Qualifier runner-up

Greco-Roman 60 kg review

The USA qualified at this weight class when Ildar Hafizov reached the finals at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Canada. Hafizov is a past Olympian, competing for Uzbekistan in the 2008 Olympic Games, and has made two U.S. World Teams. Hafizov is a veteran who is still searching his first World or Olympic medal. He has a strong field domestically to beat if he wants a second shot at an Olympic medal.

Leading the field already qualified are 2017 and 2019 World champion Kenchiro Fumita of host Japan, who will have the home-field advantage to his benefit. 2018 World champion and 2019 World silver medalist Sergey Emelin of Russia is also a gold-medal favorite. The 2019 World bronze medalists Mirambek Ainagulov of Kazakhstan and Ali Reza Ayat Ollah Nejati of Iran are top challenges. Ainagulov was also a 2017 World silver medalist. 2018 World bronze medalist Lenur Temirov of Ukraine and 2018 World silver medalist Elmurat Tasmuradov of Uzbekistan punched their Tokyo tickets by placing fifth at the 2019 Worlds. Tasmuradov was a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist. Cuba’s 2020 Pan American Qualifier champion Luis Orta Sanchez rounds out the current qualifiers.

Still yet to qualify for the Olympics are 2013 World champion Ivo Angelov of Bulgaria, 2018 World silver medalist Victor Ciobanu of Moldova, 2018 World bronze medalist Sailike Walihan of China, 2017 World bronze medalist Seung Hak Kim of Korea and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Stig Andre Berg of Norway. Others capable of making the field include Kristian Fris of Serbia, Haithem Fahmy Mahmoud of Egypt, Taleh Mammadov of Azerbaijan and Se-Ung Ri of North Korea.

Greco-Roman 60 kg/132 lbs. Olympic Games qualifiers
2019 World champion - Japan (Kenchiro Fumita)
2019 World silver medalist - Russia (Sergey Emelin)
2019 World bronze medalist - Kazakhstan (Mirambek Ainagulov)
2019 World bronze medalist - Iran (Ali Reza Ayat Ollah Nejati)
2019 World fifth place - Ukraine (Lenur Temirov)
2019 World fifth place - Uzbekistan (Elmurat Tasmuradov)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – Cuba (Luis Orta Sanchez)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – United States (Ildar Hafizov)
Remaining eight Olympic Games berths: European Olympic Qualifier champion, European Olympic Qualifier runner-up, Asian Olympic Qualifier champion, Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up, African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion, African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up, Last Chance World Olympic Qualifier champion, Last Chance World Olympic Qualifier runner-up

Greco-Roman 130 kg review

The USA has not yet qualified for this weight class for the Tokyo Games. 2018 World silver medalist Adam Coon competed for Team USA at both the 2019 Worlds and the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier. There will be one final chance for the USA at the 2021 Last Chance Olympic Qualifier in Bulgaria in late April, where a top-2 finish is required to make the Olympic field.

The big question in this weight class is whether or not three-time Olympic champion Mijian Lopez of Cuba decides to make a run at a fourth Olympic gold. Lopez has only wrestled twice since his 2016 Olympic gold, but he has travelled to other events and continues training. His teammate Oscar Pino Hinds qualified Cuba when he was second to three-time World champion and two-time Olympic medalist Riza Kayaalp at the 2019 Senior Worlds. Kayaalp is a heavy favorite if Lopez does not compete, and has a few wins over Lopez over the years.

Others who are qualified include two-time World champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Heiki Nabi of Estonia and 2019 World bronze medalist Iokabi Kajaia of Georgia. Getting in with fifth place finishes at the 2019 Worlds were 2019 Asian champion Amir Mohammadali Ghasemimonjezi of Iran and Eduard Popp of Germany, who was fifth in the 2016 Olympics. The two Pan American heavyweights who got in ahead of Coon are Yasmani Acosta of Chile (who is from Cuba) and Eduard Soghomonyan of Brazil (who hails from Armenia).

Those still needing to qualify include 2018 World champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sergey Semenov of Russia and 2018 World bronze medalist Min-Seok Kim of Korea. Other talented heavyweights include Murat Ramonov of Kyrgyzstan, Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu of Romania, Lingzhe Meng of China, Nikolai Kuchmiy of Ukraine, Mohamed Abdellatif of Egypt and Muminjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan.

Greco-Roman 130 kg/286 lbs. Olympic Games qualifiers
2019 World champion - Turkey (Riza Kayaalp)
2019 World silver medalist - Cuba (Oscar Pino Hinds)
2019 World bronze medalist - Estonia (Heiki Nabi)
2019 World bronze medalist - Georgia (Iakobi Kajaia)
2019 World fifth place - Iran (Amir Mohammadali Ghasemimonjezi)
2019 World fifth place - Germany (Eduard Popp)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – Chile (Yasmani Acosta Fernandez)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Brazil (Eduard Soghomonyan)
Remaining eight Olympic Games berths: European Olympic Qualifier champion, European Olympic Qualifier runner-up, Asian Olympic Qualifier champion, Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up, African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion, African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up, Last Chance World Olympic Qualifier champion, Last Chance World Olympic Qualifier runner-up