The Russian national team was not very successful in several wrestling categories, winning only three top spots in the first World Wrestling Championships to take place since the Olympic Games in London.
Three wrestlers on the Russian team won gold medals at the recent World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary: Bekhan Goygereyev (130-pound weight category) and Khadzhimurat Gatsalov (heavyweight category), and Greco-Roman wrestler Nikita Melnikov (210-pound category).
Overall, the results achieved at the Championships were not too good for the Russian athletes. Before the start of the tournament, Mikhail Mamiashvili, Olympic champion and president of the Russian Wrestling Federation, told R-Sport Agency that Russian athletes had the potential of “winning five gold medals.”
The composition of the national team has changed by more than 50 percent since the Olympics. In particular, two champions of the Olympic Games were not present in Budapest: Dzhamal Otarsultanov (122-pound category) and Alan Khugayev (185-pound category).
Performing superbly in Budapest was the award-winning wrestling team captain Khadzhimurat Gatsalov. This Athens Olympic Champion met the expectations of the team’s coaching staff, winning five matches in a row (the last four before the final bell). At one point, the doctors wanted to prevent Gatsalov from fighting in the final match, because of a serious eye hematoma; yet the athlete was able to go in and, for the fifth time, become the champion of the world.
“With this victory, I tried to achieve what I failed to do since 2010, when I performed poorly at the World Championships in Moscow,” Gatsalov told R-Sport Agency. “All this time, I really wanted to become a five-time world champion, and now my dream has finally come true.”
Bekhan Goygereyev showed excellent control during his first appearance at the World Championships. This athlete, after winning the 2013 Russian Championship and the Universiade Games, achieved a unique hat-trick in the capital city of Hungary. Characteristically, all six bouts—including the final one—Goygereyev won before the final bell.
Greco-Roman wrestlers had won the right to participate in the final four of the seven tournament fights, but hardly pleased their fans with the results. Only one of the Russians succeeded and rose to the highest step of the podium. The only winner was Nikita Melnikov, who, in the final match, defeated the award-winning Armenian Artur Aleksanyan.
Mamiashvili highly appreciates the potential of this athlete: “At the Universiade in Kazan, Nikita already acted like a fighter, and now, at the World Cup, he confirmed his masculinity. With such a strong inner core, it is possible to achieve anything one wants.”
First published in Russian in RIA Novosti.
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