Below are preview for the first discipline of the championships, Men’s Freestyle: Defending champions Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) and Mehdi
TAGHAVI KERMANI (IRI) lead an elite group of medalists into Papp Laszlo Budapest Sports Arena as men’s freestyle kicks off the Wrestling World Championships on September 16 in the sport’s pinnacle event of the year, eight short days after wrestling was welcomed back into the Olympic Program.
The IOC voted to add the sport to the 2020 and 2024 Games on September 8 in Buenos, Aires, after an Executive Board decision on February 12, had recommended dropping the sport from the Games after 2016.
TAGHAVI KERMANI, world champion in 2009 and 2011, will lead off the weeklong tourney on the first day of the championships battling a host of challengers at 66kg.
BURROUGHS, the only London 2012 gold medalist in men’s freestyle, will close out the men’s freestyle competition at 74kg on September 18, when the women’s freestyle events also get under way.
Meanwhile, another Olympic Games gold medalist Khadshimourad GATSALOV (RUS), who won at 96kg in 2004, will be trying on a new weight category – 120kg, which is scheduled for the second day of matches.
In addition to his gold medal from Athens, GATSALOV is also a four-time world champion at 96kg. Other world champions, in addition to TAGHAVI KERMANI and BURROUGHS, in Budapest are: YANG Kyong Il (PRK, 55kg), Sushil KUMAR (IND, 66kg) and Khetag GAZUMOV (AZE, 96kg).
The 84kg weight category, to be contested September 17, boasts three former world champions among its entries: Zaurbek SOKHIEV (UZB) in 2009, Ibragim ALDATOV (UKR) in 2007 and Nicolai PASLAR (BUL), who won his world title in 2001 at 69kg.
In addition to the returning Olympic and world medalists, a number of promising new faces – like junior world finalists Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO, FS 120kg), Yu MIYAHARA (JPN, FW 51kg) and Daniel GASTL (AUT, GR 96kg) — will also be appearing in the senior world championships for the first time.
The championships will feature the three Olympic styles of wrestling – men’s freestyle (September 16-18), women’s freestyle (September 18-20) and Greco-Roman (September 20-22).
-Report from AIPS.