OL i London - 96 kg

Sidst vægklasse i rækken er 96 kg klassen, der en af de mest åbne vægtklasser. Er det nu svenske Jimmy Lidberg skal få "kronen på værket", efter mange år flotte resultater, dog uden en fuldtræffer, i form af en guldmedalje til et internationalt mesterskab. Der er flere om buddet, men undertegnede håber på Jimmy. Her er Garys præsentation (der er lidt gal mht. Jimmys placering ved VM 2009):

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Date of competition: Tuesday, August 7

If there is any weight class which would be considered wide open at an Olympic Games, it might be 96 kg in Greco-Roman. There has been a different World or Olympic champion every year at this weight going back 12 years. It is not surprising for a new wrestler to win this weight class, but being able to repeat at 96 kg has been out of grasp for a long time, going back to Russian star Gogi Koguachvili in the late 1990’s.

That said, even though some of the recent gold medalists may not be on the mat, you can expect 2011 World champion Elis Guri of Bulgaria to seek to end this tradition of turnover. Guri started his career with Albania, placing eighth at the 2008 Olympics and seventh at the 2007 World Championships. He has blossomed since joining Bulgaria’s team in 2011, starting off with a gold at the Dave Schultz Memorial in the USA then not looking back.

The 2010 World champion was Amir Ali Akbari of Iran, but it is possible he may not even be on the team representative in London. Qualifying Iran for the Olympics was Ghasem Rezaei, the Asian Olympic Qualifier champion. Ali Akbari was a 2009 World bronze medalist, but has only had one major international event since his World title. Rezaei, who was the 2008 Olympian, won the Olympic Games Test Event in London in December.

The 2009 World champion, Balazs Kiss of Hungary, did not qualify for the Olympics.

The reigning Olympic champion is Aslanbek Khushtov of Russia, who was most recently a 2010 World bronze medalist. Qualifying Russia for the Olympics was Rustam Totrov, who won a 2011 World bronze medal. Totrov has competed often this year, including a title at the respected Podubbny Tournament in Russia this winter. Expect that whoever Russia brings will be ready.

Perhaps the biggest favorite who has not yet won a World or Olympic gold medal is Sweden’s Jimmy Lidberg, who has won a World medal the last three years. Lidberg was second at the 2011 Worlds behind Guri, and won bronze medals in 2009 and 2010. He has been mostly inactive this year, falling short of a medal at the European Championships in his only major event.

Winning the other bronze medal at the 2011 Worlds was Cenk Ildem of Turkey, who captured a bronze medal at the 2012 World Cup.

A past World champion in the field is Mohammad Abdel Fatah of Egypt, who trains and coaches with Team USA in Colorado Springs, Colo. Abdel Fatah was a World champion at 84 kg in 2006 and qualified for the Olympics by taking fifth at the 2011 World Championships at 96 kg, a weight where he has been superb. The United States did not qualify for the Olympics at this weight class in Greco-Roman, but will be pulling for Abdel Fatah, who has helped train many Americans over the years.

Also fifth at the 2011 World Championships was Timofej Dzeynichenko of Belarus, who was also a 2010 World silver medalist and a 2011 European champion.

The European Olympic Qualifier champion was Artur Aleksanyan of Armenia, who has been hot this season. He also won the gold medal at the European Championships, an event that was not an Olympic qualifier but has great prestige in wrestling. He was also a 2011 European silver medalist, and a former Junior World champion.

The Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion was Yunior Estrada Falcon of Cuba, who knocked off American Justin Ruiz in the semifinals at that event. Estrada was 10th at the 2008 Olympics and won the 2011 Pan American Games.

Winning gold medals at the Final Olympic Qualifiers were Shalva Gadabedze of Azerbaijan (in China) and Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu of Romania (in Finland). Gadabedze, who started his career with Georgia but has been with Azerbaijan since 2008, was a World Cup champion this year and has won bronze medals at the European Championships the last two years. Alexuc-Ciurariu was a bit of a surprise winner, beating out many more credentialed opponents in the last-chance event. Alexuc-Ciurariu was also a 2010 Junior World silver medalist.

Among those to watch are Hassine Ayari of Tunisia, the Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier champion, and Diagori Timonici of Italy, who was 10th at the 2008 Olympic Games and boasts a University World silver medal.

The final qualifier for the field was a true veteran, David Vala of the Czech Republic, who was second at the Finland qualifier. Vala competed many years at 120 kg, placing ninth in the 2000 Olympics and competing at the 2004 Olympics at that weight. He moved down to 96 kg in 2009, for perhaps his last shot at an Olympic medal at age 34.

So, go ahead and pick a winner at this weight class. Based on a dozen years of history, odds are the 2012 Olympic champion will be somebody without a gold medal at the World and Olympic level before. Reigning World champion Elis Guri of Bulgaria wants to break that streak but so did all those before him.

Expected Olympic entries at 96 kg. - Greco-Roman
1st at 2011 World Championships – Elis Guri (Bulgaria)
2nd at 2011 World Championships – Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Rustam Totrov (Russia)
3rd at 2011 World Championships – Cenk Ildem (Turkey)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Mohammad Abd El Fatah (Egypt)
5th at 2011 World Championships – Timofej Dzeynichenko (Belarus)
2012 European Olympic qualifier champion – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia)
2012 European Olympic qualifier runner-up – Ardo Arusaar (Estonia)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier champion – Ghasem Rezaei or Amir Aliakbari (Iran)
2012 Asian Olympic qualifier runner-up – Norikatsu Sailawa (Japan)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier champion – Yunior Estrada Falcon (Cuba)
2012 Pan American Olympic qualifier runner-up – Erwin Jose Caraballo Cabrera (Venezuela)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier champion – Hassine Ayari (Tunisia)
2012 Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier runner-up – Ataf Choukri (Morocco)
Olympic Qualifier #1 champion – Shalva Gadabedze (Azerbaijan)
Olympic Qualifier #1 runner-up – Daigoro Timoncini (Italy)
Olympic Qualifier #1 bronze medalist – Soso Jabidze (Georgia)
Olympic Qualifier #2 champion – Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania)
Olympic Qualifier #2 runner-up – David Vala (Czech Republic)

96 KG

2011 World Championships
96 kg. - Gold - Elis Guri (Bulgaria); Silver - Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); Bronze - Rustam Totrov (Russia); Bronze - Cenk Idem (Turkey); 5th - Mohammed Abdelfatah (Egypt); 5th - Tsimafei Dzeinicheka (Belarus); 7th - Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); 8th - Mirko Englich (Germany); 9th - Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania); 10th - Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan)

2010 World Championships
96 kg. – Gold – Amir Ali Akbari (Iran); Silver – Timofej Dzeynichenko (Belarus); Bronze – Aslanbek Khushtov (Russia); Bronze – Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); 5th – Justin Ruiz (United States); 5th – David Saldadze (Uzbekistan); 7th – Yunior Falcon Estrada (Cuba); 8th – Daigoro Timoncini (Italy); 9th – Robert Papp (Romania); 10th – Kaloyan Dinchev (Bulgaria)

2009 World Championships
96 kg. - Gold - Balazs Kiss (Hungary); Silver - Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); Bronze - Amir Ali Akbari (Iran); Bronze - Aslanbek Khushtov (Russia); 5th - David Saldadze (Uzbekistan); 5th - Sergiy Yeroshkin (Ukraine); 7th - Serkan Ozden (Turkey); 8th - Chang-Gun An (Korea) ; 9th - Alin Alexuc (Romania); 10th - Oliver Hassler (Germany)

2008 Olympic Games
96 kg. - Gold - Aslanbek Khushtov (Russia); Silver - Mirko Englich (Germany); Bronze - Adam Wheeler (USA); Bronze - Asset Mambetov (Kazakhstan); 5th - Han Tae-Young (Korea); 5th - Marek Svec (Czech Republic); 7th - Mindaugus Ezerskis (Lithuania); 8th - Elis Guri (Albania); 9th - Jiang Huachen (China); 10th - Mehmet Ozal (Turkey)

2007 World Championships
96 kg.- Gold – Ramaz Nozadze (Georgia); Silver – Mindaugas Ezerskis (Lithuania); Bronze – Marek Svec (Czech Republic); Bronze – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); 5th – Kenzo Kato (Japan); 5th – Diagoro Timoncini (Italy); 7th - Elis Guri (Albania); 8th - Serkan Ozden (Turkey); 9th - Aset Membetov (Kazakhstan); 10th - Rami Hietaniemi (Finland)

2006 World Championships
96 kg. – Gold - Heiki Nabi (Estonia); Silver - Marek Svec (Czech Republic); Bronze - Kaloyan Dinchev (Bulgaria); Bronze - Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); 5th - Andrei Batura (Belarus); 5th - Ramaz Nozadze (Georgia); 7th - Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); 8th - Lajos Virag (Hungary); 9th - Theodoros Tounoysidis (Greece); 10th - Young Han-Tae (Korea)

2005 World Championships
96 kg. - Gold - Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey); Silver - Lajos Virag (Hungary); Bronze - Vasilliy Tepoulkhov (Russia); Bronze - Justin Ruiz (USA); 5th - Mirko Englich (Germany); 5th - Margulan Assembekov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Mikhaylo Nikolaev (Ukraine); 8th - Vladislav Metodiev (Bulgaria); 9th - Shata Narmaniya (Belarus); 10th - Marek Svec (Czech Republic)

2004 Olympic Games
96 kg. - Gold - Karam Ibrahim Gaber (Egypt); Silver - Ramaz Nozadze (Georgia); Bronze - Mehmet Ozal (Turkey); 4th - Ernesto Pena (Cuba); 5th - Genadi Chhaidze (Kyrgyzstan); 6th - Gogi Koguachvili (Russia); 7th - Georgios Koutsioumpas (Greece); 8th - Kaloyan Dinchev (Bulgaria); 9h - Lajos Virag (Hungary); 10th - Marek Sitnik (Poland)

af Erik Nyblom - 16.07.2012