Here is my coverage of the 2015 World Wrestling Championships for the St. Louis American.
The 2015 World Wrestling Championships are in the books and they have been great to cover. There is no better place for these championships to gave occurred than Las Vegas. Six days in the entertainment capitol of the world. American fans brought their enthusiasm, international fans brought their flavor, and the wrestlers brought the action. Six days of wrestling at the highest level.
The last match of the tournament featured America’s best Jordan Burroughs winning by technical superiority and capturing his third world championship with a victory over Unurbat Purevjav of Mongolia. Burroughs fired on all cylinders the entire tournament and his only real test was world number two Aniuar Geduev of Russia in the semifinals. Last year Burroughs came to the world championships banged up taking third. This year saw a healthy Burroughs dominate.
Fellow South Jersey native and Nebraska graduate James Green powered his way to a 3rd place finish in his first world championships. Green started the tournament on fire with explosive takedowns before losing to Iranian Hassan Yazdanicharati in the semifinals. In his third place match Green regained his explosiveness and pinned Miroslav Kirov of Bulgaria.
American Tony Ramos at 57kg failed to medal even though he won his first two matches. Zach Rey at 125kg was bounced out after losing his first match.
Other world championships tonight we’re won by Vladimer Khinchegashvili of Georgia at 57kg, Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov of Russia at 70kg, and Taha Akgul of Turkey at 125kg. In another impressive feat Dagestani-Russian Bilyal Makhov became the first wrestler in 42 years to place in both the Greco-Roman and freestlye world championships (he finished third in both).
These six days have been great for me. Seeing great wrestling, meeting wrestlers from all over the world, and spending time with friends. Outside of a teabagger sitting behind me spewing right-wing rhetoric Las Vegas has been perfect. More great wrestling soon. Pan-American in Frisco, TX and Olympic Trials in Iowa. See you then.
Videos from tonight can be found at my Umar Lee YouTube channel and live coverage at my Twitter @STLAbuBadu photos can be found at Instagram @stlublee
Today things got a lot better for the American men’s wrestling team. 19 year old Kyle Snyder, just last year a high school student in Maryland, captured a world freestyle championship with an upset win over Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia (Dagestan). It was an exciting hard fight contest in which Snyder was the aggressor and Gadisov appeared to be gassed early. I have a feeling these two will meet again. Perhaps next year in Rio.
The other American men didn’t fare so well. The “Double Leg Ninja” Jake Herbert was bounced out after losing his first match. He’d looked very impressive leading up to the world championships; but failed to get his offense going. Reese Humphrey won his first match and then list his next two failing to medal.
On the women’s side 35 year old Leigh Jaynes-Provisor took a third-place bronze medal with a solid performance for the United States. In one of the most touching moments of the championships she was able to celebrate with her daughter after her victory.
Oksana Herhel of Ukraine captured a gold medal at 60kg in the only women’s weight class of the night. Haji Aliyev took home gold for Azerbaijan at 61kg. Abdulrashid Sadulaev of the Dagestan region of Russia captured gold at 86kg by defeating Selim Yasar of Turkey.
Videos can be found at the Umar Lee YouTube Channel and live coverage at my Twitter @STLAbuBadu photos can be found at my Instagram @stlublee
Day 4 and Team USA finally gets some good news. Two golds stayed at home as both Helen Maroulis and Adeline Gray won world championships thrilling the pro-American crowd.
On the men’s side Brent Metcalf wasn’t so lucky as he fell to Sayed Mohammadi of Iran. When Mohammadi was pinned by his Italian opponent and eventual gold medal winner he was eliminated from competition. Alli Ragan and Erin Clodgo on the women’s side also failed to make the medal rounds.
Karoi Icho of Japan and Battsetseg and Soronzonbold of Mongolia took home the other women’s world championships of the night.
The last match of the night may have been the most exciting of all. Frank Chamizo, an Italian of Cuban origin, defeated Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan. Those who stuck around were treated to a hard-fought contest.
Videos from tonight can be found at the Umar Lee YouTube Channel. Live coverage can be found on my twitter account @STLAbuBadu
Today was another disappointing day for Team USA with no wrestlers making the medal round. However, the day really delivered for wrestling fans with a plethora of action-packed matches.
The women wrestlers really brought the heat fueled by the dominance of the Japanese women. Saori Yoshida captures her 13th World Championship and Eri Tosaka came home with the gold for Japan. At 69kg Natalia Vorobeva brought home the gold for Russia with a victory by pin over Feng Zhou of China.
Perhaps the biggest star of the day for the women wasn’t a gold medal winner but a Nigerian woman who serenaded the crowd with her singing and dancing all the way to a bronze medal victory. Odunayo Adekuoroye came in unseeded; but stole the hearts of wrestling fans and brought down the house.
On the men’s side Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine captured the gold at 85kg by defeating Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan.
Video coverage available at the Umar Lee YouTube Channel. Coverage also available at Twitter @STLAbuBadu
Team America didn’t do so well in Greco-Roman wrestling today. St. Louis native Spenser Mango failed to make the medal round and the sole moral victory for Team America today was the big man Robbie Smith losing a hard fought bronze match to the Russian Bilyal Makhov (Makhov later walked up to me and randomly gave me Salaams).
Smith-Makhov was a clash of body types. Makhov a chubby American built like a cabbie and Makhov a mean looking Russian built like Ivan Drago. In the end the Russian prevailed 10-8 in an exciting match. Smith excited the crowd and as they chanted USA for him I couldn’t help but to think of the late great Dusty Rhodes.
Cuban Ismael Borrero Molina won gold at 59kg and Azerbaijani
Rasul Chunayev won at 71kg. Turkey finished strong with Selcuk Cebi winning gold at 80kg and Riza Kaylaap at 130kg. I tried to interview Cebi impressed by his prostration on the Turkish Flag after his victory: but was unable to do so. However, I was able to talk to some Turkish wrestling staff who warmly greeted me with Salaams.
A beautiful moment of the day for me was watching Won Chol Yun of North Korea wrestle his Iranian opponent in Las Vegas. That’s the beauty of international sports. It tears down borders.
Several videos are available at the Umar Lee YouTube Channel, photos at Instagram and live tweets.