2024 Olympic Games Watch Party

The Top International Stars Who Fell Short Of Olympic Qualifying Spots

The Top International Stars Who Fell Short Of Olympic Qualifying Spots

A collection of top international stars came up short during the past year in three opportunities to qualify for Paris. Check out who missed the cut.

Jun 18, 2024 by Andy Hamilton
The Top International Stars Who Fell Short Of Olympic Qualifying Spots

The field is set for Paris — pending the outcome of the IOC’s ruling on the eligibility of Russian and Belarusian wrestlers — with 288 wrestlers staking Olympic qualifying spots through the 2023 World Championships, continental qualifiers and the last chance World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

With 18 weight classes across three styles and 16-wrestler brackets, it’s a far more exclusive field than the World Championships, which had 941 participants last year. With that, one of the Olympic storylines this year is who missed the cut for Paris. 

Here’s a look at the top stars whose countries fell short of qualification standards at their respective weight classes: 

Men’s Freestyle 

57 kilograms 

Alireza Sarlak (Iran) — The 2021 World silver medalist — Sarlak lost in the title bout against Thomas Gilman — took the third crack at qualifying Iran for Paris after two of his fellow countrymen came up short in two previous attempts. Sarlak dropped a 7-2 quarterfinal decision at the World Olympic Games Qualifier against Kazakhstan’s Rakhat Kalzhan, who then lost to Spencer Lee, eliminating Iran from Olympic contention. 

Vladimir Egorov (North Macedonia) — A Russian transfer who won the 2022 European title, Egorov suffered a one-point loss in the European OG Qualifier semifinals and then got bounced in the repechage of the World Olympic Games Qualifier after losing to Lee. 

Suleyman Atli (Turkey) — A two-time World medalist and six-time European medalist, Atli came up short in his first two shots at qualifying Turkey for Paris and then his country used 21-year-old Muhammet Karavus at the World OG Qualifier. 

Andrii Yatsenko (Ukraine) — Yatsenko won a World bronze as a 19-year-old in 2017 in Paris, but he came up one win short of making a return trip to France when he lost the third-place bout at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

Horst Lehr (Germany) — The 2021 World bronze medalist had his Olympic hopes dashed in the quarterfinals of the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

74 kilograms 

Frank Chamizo (Italy) — One of the most decorated and recognizable wrestlers of the last decade. Chamizo reached the World finals four times, won titles in 2015 and 2017, claimed an Olympic bronze in 2016 and captured nine European medals, including four golds. His pursuit of a spot in Paris was embroiled in controversy. 

Ramazan Ramazonov (Bulgaria) — A World bronze medalist last year at 70 kilograms, where he’s captured three European medals. Ramazonov got bounced in the opening round of the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

Avtandil Kentchadze (Georgia) — A 2018 World silver medalist and four-time European medalist. Kentchadze led four-time World and Olympic champ Zaurbek Sidakov in the final minute during their opening-round bout at last year’s World Championships before the Russian rallied back to win. 

Soner Demirtas (Turkey) — A winner of three European titles and three World and Olympic bronze medals. During the Olympic qualifying process, Demirtas dropped four matches by a combined seven points to wrestlers who are in the field in Paris, the last of which came in the third-place bout in Istanbul. 

86 kilograms 

Deepak Punia (India) — Punia reached the World finals in 2019 when he capitalized on an advantageous draw. He forfeited his first match of the Asian Olympic Qualifier this year and then got teched in the opening round of the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

Boris Makoev (Slovakia) — Makoev lost to Hassan Yazdanicharati in the 2017 World finals after beating J’den Cox in the semis. He also claimed a bronze medal at the 2022 World Championships. He fell at least two wins shy of qualifying for Paris in all three attempts 

97 kilograms 

Magomed Ibragimov (Uzbekistan) — The 39-year-old Russian transfer has been a fixture on the Senior circuit for Uzbekistan since 2016 when he grabbed an Olympic bronze in Rio. He got bounced from last year’s World Championships after losing to eventual champ Akhmed Tazhudinov and Kyle Snyder in the repechage. He won four matches at the World Olympic Games Qualifier but lost in the third-place bout. 

Vladislav Baitcaev (Hungary) — Another Russian transfer, Baitcaev won the Yarygin three times and capture six medals at the Russian Nationals before making the move to compete for Hungary. He dropped a 4-2 decision to Abdulrashid Sadulaev at last year’s World Championships and subsequently got eliminated when Sadulaev lost his first match in six years on the World stage. He went 1-1 at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

125 kilograms 

Khasanboy Rakhimov (Uzbekistan) — Rakhimov owns a pair of wins over Gable Steveson. He claimed a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships but was later disqualified after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He fell two wins short of qualifying for Paris at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

Women's Freestyle

53 kilograms 

Maria Prevolaraki (Greece) — Though she’s never stood atop a World or European podium, Prevolaraki has been a consistent contender for more than a decade. She’s piled up eight European medals and three World bronzes. She lost in the Olympic wrestle-off at last year’s World Championships, lost at the European Olympic Games Qualifier in a match that would’ve secured a spot in Paris and fell two wins short of a qualification spot at the World Olympic Games Qualifier.  

Sztalvira Orsos (Hungary) — Won three European titles for Russia before transferring to Hungary. Orsos placed seventh at last year’s World Championships, lost in the quarterfinals of the European Olympic Games Qualifier and fell one victory short of qualifying for Paris at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

57 kilograms 

Alina Hrushyna-Akobiia (Ukraine) — A U23 World champ who’s been a consistent high-level performer on the Senior level throughout the past five years. Won four European medals, including two titles, and a World bronze during that stretch. Fell one win short of qualifying for Paris at the European Olympic Games Qualifier and then lost twice in bouts that would’ve sent her to the Olympics at the World Olympic Games Qualifier — the first of which came on criteria. 

Evelina Nikolova (Bulgaria) — Captured an Olympic bronze in Tokyo and won a World bronze in 2015 as a 22-year-old. Placed eighth last year at the World Championships, lost in the quarterfinals of the European Olympic Games Qualifier and got knocked off in the opening round of the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

62 kilograms 

Jia Long (China) — Cut down to 62 kg after claiming a World silver in 2022 at 65 kilos. Lost in the opening-round of last year’s World Championships and the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier before falling two wins short of Paris at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

76 kilograms

Epp Mae (Estonia) — A four-time World medalist who claimed a silver in 2021, Mae got bounced by multi-time World champs — Adeline Gray and Yasemin Adar — during the first two legs of the Olympic qualifying process and then 1-1 at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

Samar Hamza (Egypt) — A six-time African champion who won a pair of World medals during this Olympic cycle. Hamza got knocked off in the semis of the African & Oceania Olympic Games Qualifier and dropped her first bout at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

Greco-Roman

60 kilograms 

Gevorg Gharibyan (Armenia) — A 2020 European champ, Gharibyan had three chances last year to claim an Olympic spot and dropped them all, losing in the World semis last year, the bronze medal match and then in the Olympic wrestle-off.  

67 kilograms 

Hansu Ryu (Korea) — Reached the World finals three times and won a pair of golds during his brilliant run from 2013 through 2017. Also collected four golds at the Asian Championships and two more at the Asian Games. Ryu went 0-1 at both the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier and the World Olympic Games Qualifier. 

77 kilograms 

Viktor Nemes (Serbia) — His resume includes a 2017 World title, a 2018 World bronze, four European medals and a trip to the Olympics in 2016, but Nemes will be absent from the field in Paris. Nemes lost in the 2023 World quarterfinals and didn’t get pulled back into the repechage. He dropped his first match at the European Olympic Games Qualifier and fell two wins shy of Paris at the World Olympic Games Qualifier.  

87 kilograms 

Lasha Gobadze (Georgia) — A three-time World medalist and 2019 World champ who’s also medaled twice at the European Championships. Gobadze lost in the semis of the World Olympic Games Qualifier and then lost again in the third-place bout that would’ve secured a spot in Paris. 

130 kilograms 

Heiki Nabi (Estonia) — The 39-year-old Estonian’s resume includes five World medals, including golds from 2006 and 2013, and an Olympic silver from 2012. His last World podium finish came in 2019 when he took bronze. Nabi lost in the third-place match at the World Olympic Games Qualifier.