2021 - Olympic Qualifiers - Men's Freestyle
57KG - Zaur Uguev
57kg at the Olympics has one heavy favorite and about 10 others with medal potential. Zaur Uguev has been the best guy at the weight for the past three years. He’s a two-time defending world champion and has only lost two matches since 2018. His last loss came in June 2019 to Makhir Amiraslanov (AZE)-who will not be at the Olympics. Expect Abdullaev, Kumar, and Takahashi to be Uguev's main challengers and the competitors ranked all the way down to #13 to challenge for a medal.
Gulumjon Abdullaev defeated both Nurislam Sanayev and Ravi Kumar on his way to gold at The Poland Open at 61kg. The gold in Poland marked the third straight international tournament Abdullaev has won and he is quickly proving to be a legitimate medal threat in Tokyo. Unlike Abdullaev, Reza Atri stumbled in Poland and suffered losses to both Nurislam Sanayev and Ravi Kumar.
While Abdullaev, Kumar, and Atri were all competing up a weight at the Poland Open, Stevan Micic won gold at 57kg in Poland. His finish there also earned him the #1 seed for the Olympics and moved Zaur Uguev down to the #2 spot. On paper, Micic now has an “easier” road to the finals while Atli and Uguev will be on the same side of the bracket in Tokyo. Should Atli and Uguev meet in the semi-finals in Tokyo, it would be a rematch of the 2019 World Championship finals where Uguev won, 13-3.
It’s also worth noting that Yuki Takahashi earned the Olympic spot at 57kg for Japan by defeating 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Rei Higuchi - 4-2. Takahashi had qualified the weight for Japan at the final Olympic qualifier in May 2021, but had previously lost to Higuchi at Japan’s Olympic Trials in December 2019. Higuchi, however, failed to make weight at the Asian Olympic qualifier in April 2021 and Japan’s Wrestling federation forced Higuchi to wrestle Takahashi again for the Olympic spot.
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