As we near the 2017 world championships, it's getting to be about time to start looking ahead to it. In what will likely be its last year of existence, the 57kg field is more wide open than ever.
If the Olympics taught us anything, it's that this weight bears a lot of similarities to America, where the top 10 or so guys aren't separated by very much. Which could mean that new world team member Thomas Gilman may be able to make a run, though he will come in unseeded.
Remember, separation points could only be earned at the Olympics, at the world championships in December, and at the various continental championships this year. They do not carry up or down in weight. Only four wrestlers will be seeded.
Below are the current top eight with most points accrued for the lightest weight class, based on who could actually go to Paris. Complete seeding points can be found here.
Commentary: With Vladimer Khinchegashvili, Haji Aliyev and Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez all heading up to 61kg, Hassan Rahimi (IRI) should be the top seed. Rahimi is one of the most consistent wrestlers in the world. He's got five senior level medals and is No. 1 in both our senior level rankings and UWW's rankings.
The 2013 world champ from missed the Iranian trials. However, he could still be selected as the country's representative over trials champ Reza Atri. If Rahimi goes, he will be the top seed.
At the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland, Vladimir Dubov (POL) went 57kg. Dubov, the 2013 world silver at 60kg and a 2015 world bronze medalist at 61kg, was expected to go back up to 61 after wrestling 57kg in Rio. He would be as high as the one seed in Atri went over Rahimi, but will likely be the two seed.
There is a tie for the third seed between Giorgi Edisherashvili (AZE) and Asadulla Lachinau (BLR), neither of whom could be sent to Paris. At this time we do not know how ties will be broken, but that information is supposed to be released this week.
Edisherashvili competed for Georgia up until last year. The Golden Grand Prix and European champ has only twice competed at the world championships, and did not win a medal either time.
It is possible Azerbaijan could instead send Makhir Amiraslanov, the 2015 junior world champ, who beat Edisherashvili 4-2 at their Nationals in January. Amiraslanov also beat Edisherashvili 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the Ali Aliev in July. They sent Amiraslanov to the Islamic Solidarity Games in May, which he won. Azerbaijan hosted the event and appeared to have sent their starters.
Lachinau hasn't won an international tournament since the 2013 Ramzan Kadyrov Cup, but will end up seeded if Belarus sends him. With the Medved happening in September this year, and both going 0-1 at the Ziolkowski, it will be much harder to get a read on the team Belarus is sending to Paris.
However, there are some clues pointing to Belarus sending Dimchik Rinchinov. He won their Nationals back in October, and went to six international tournaments after that, including the European championships. Lachinau has only been to one, Takhti Cup. The Belarusian representative at Euros has also been their lightweight rep at worlds every year since 2011.
Yuki Takahashi (JPN) is only the second guy I am 100% confident we will see in Paris, barring injury. He won the Meiji Cup and has finished as high as fifth in the world. He'll be anywhere between the two and four seed.
It's always fun to call a two-time world champ a wildcard to show up, but that's exactly what Yang Kyong-Il (PRK) is. He is 29 now and there were rumors he was going to retire in 2015, but who really knows when you wrestle for North Korea. Below is his 2014 world finals match with Khinchegashvili.
Tied with Yang with 26 separation points is Romanian Andrei Dukov. The 28-year-old has yet to medal in five world championship appearances, but could very well end up getting a seed. His notable wins this year include 7-6 over world No. 3 Suleyman Atli (TUR) in the Euro semis, and 9-5 over Amiraslanov in the Kolov semis. Dukov would finish as the runner-up in both events. Another option for Romania is Ivan Guidea.
Titles at the Yasar Dogu and U23 Euro championships should just about lock Atli into the spot for Turkey. Atli is tied with Russian champ Zaur Uguev at 24 separation points, meaning one or both could be left unseeded. Atli beat Uguev 7-5 in the first round at Dogu; both were bronze at senior Euros this year. No one has been more active at 57kg this year than Uguev, competing in at least seven tournaments since the Olympics.
All this ink spilled, and we haven't even mentioned some of the notable guys who will be thrown into the random draw: Erdenebat Bekhbayar (MGL), Beka Lomtadze (GEO), Nurislam Sanayev (KAZ), Sandeep Tomar (IND), and Andrey Yatsenko (UKR).
Projected 57kg Seeds
- Hassan Rahimi (IRI), 35 points
- Vladimir Dubov (BUL), 30 points
- Yuki Takahashi (JPN), 27 points
- Suleyman Atli (TUR), 24 points