Ascent of Uguyev and Rashidov

The World Cup Wrestling in Nur Sultan has reached the home stretch. Masters of freestyle wrestling began to play medals, who, like the "classics" with women, had to play Olympic licenses at the same time in six weight categories. The first preliminary wrestling fights took place the day before and immediately pleased the Russian fans.

In the lightest weight category up to 57 kg Zaur Uguyev defended the world title. The draw determined him to start the tournament with a difficult opponent - Azerbaijani Mahir Amiraslanov, whom the Khasavyurt native had recently lost at the European Games. The attempt to take revenge almost failed - by the last minute the Russian was losing with a score of 0: 3. But when the situation became critical, Uguyev was able to quickly go into the corps, and then earn two more necessary points. Amiraslanov did not accept defeat and arranged a skirmish with an opponent, hit his fist on the carpet and refused to give a hand to the judge.

The following fights were calmer for Uguyev. Having passed successively the bronze medalist of the World Cup from Mongolia Erdenebatyn Behbayar, the Iranian Asian champion Reza Atri and the Indian Ravi Kumar, the Russian went to the final. The next day he was to meet with the Turkish Suleiman Atly, who took third place a year ago.

At the same time, Gadzhimurad Rashidov was eager for his third career battle for gold. Twice he became a silver medalist in weight up to 61 kg, but before the Olympics he decided to move to the next category up to 65 kg and try his luck in it. In the 1/32 finals, Rashidov had the chance to take revenge for the defeat of 2017 from Azerbaijani Hadji Aliyev, who also gained weight and began to dominate in the new category, winning the European Championship and European Games this season. But the Russian beautifully pulled out a victory in the last seconds, dropping Aliyev onto the carpet, climbing onto his back.

Having lost just four points in the next three matches, Rashidov met in the semifinals with ex-compatriot Ismail Musukaev, who has been representing Hungary since this year. The fight turned out to be tense and nervous, even despite the fact that the Russian was leading 3-0. But in the end, he unsuccessfully left his leg and was punished by pushing him out of the carpet. Rashidov did not defend himself after that, but Musukaev did not develop success. In the final, a native of Kaspiysk was supposed to meet with experienced Kazakhstani Daulet Niyazbekov.

Two more Russian finals

On Friday before the clashes between Uguyev and Rashidov for gold, preliminary tournaments were held in four more categories, and two Russians also secured at least silver. The most stressful journey was made by Zaurbek Sidakov in weight up to 74 kg. Although this season, as in the past, he did not suffer a single defeat, reaching the final was in question due to a meeting with American Jordan Burroughs in the semifinals. The fight really turned out to be difficult - thanks to a counterattack, the four-time world champion from the USA led in the long run until the last seconds. Sidakov still managed to get to his feet and push the opponent off the carpet, thanks to which he could compete with Frank Chamiso from Italy for his second gold.

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For the 21-year-old David Baev, competitions in weight up to 70 kg became the first participation in the World Cup. The debut was a success - he won the first two matches with a total score of 17: 0, knocking out the 2017 world champion Zurabi Yakobishvili from Georgia. After that, Baev did not hesitate in a duel with the bronze medalist of the Olympics Ikhtiyor Navruzov and the representative of Poland Magomedmurad Hajiyev, whom Yakobishvili just beat in the finals two years ago. On Saturday, Baev will have to fight for gold by Nurkozha Kaipanov from Kazakhstan.

A representative of the Zhabrailov wrestling dynasty Alikhan, who also came to his first world championship, will compete for a bronze medal. He reached the semi-finals in the non-Olympic category up to 92 kg, but lost ahead of schedule to the Iranian Alirese Karimi, going to the consolation finale. Heavyweight Alan Khugaev in weight up to 125 kg was left without a medal, who lost to the Ukrainian Alexander Khotsyanovsky in the quarterfinals.

Two golden exclamation marks

Finally, when the participants in the Saturday fights for medals were determined, the heroes of yesterday returned to the carpet. The first of the duel for gold was held by Gadzhimurad Rashidov. Against Kazakhstani Daulet Niyazbekov, he came out with a clear intention to win an early victory. Rashidov did not intend to lose the third time in a row and so actively began to fight with the host of the competition, that after the first period it became clear that he would still receive a gold medal. As a result, Rashidov scored 11 points without giving a single opponent, and brought the national team the fifth victory in Nur-Sultan.

“Of course, I am very happy to finally win the gold medal. But so far I don’t feel any special emotions. Maybe in a couple of days I’ll come to my senses and feel like a world champion. This year is special, pre-Olympic, and victory at the World Cup means a lot to me and to Russia. I went to the final fight with a special attitude and was ready to fight for all six minutes. All my rivals were worthy, thanks to everyone. Yesterday, in a fight with Aliyev, I received a rib injury, after which I had severe pain. Then I hardly got up, but after ice and injections I came to my senses, packed myself up and put it all the way to the end. And I didn’t even have any thoughts that I would get silver again, ”Rashidov told RIA Novosti.

Uguyev had to perform an even more difficult task - to re-win gold. In the final against the Turkish Suleiman Atla, the Russian at first failed. He finished the first period with a single point for the opponent’s passivity. After a respite from Atla, he immediately went on the attack and almost organized a “mill”, but Uguyev was able to prevent a catastrophe and lost only two points. Immediately he rebuilt and almost won on the carcass, but also did not finish the job.

When an equal score was established, Uguyev captured the opponent so powerfully and did with him that he wanted the judge to add only two points every few seconds. As a result, for the second time this day, he played the Russian anthem at the award ceremony, now in honor of the champion in the lightest weight category.

“The final fight is always difficult. Two years ago, I lost to my opponent, and today I took revenge. I have been preparing for this world championship for a long time. Thanks to our team, coaches and doctors. The next stop is Tokyo. I have never been there, it would be interesting. I know one thing - we will go for a gold medal. But our team has strong competition. During the break of the fight, the head coach of the team Dzamoblat Tedeev told me that we need to work more actively, do receptions and not stop. I have now become a two-time world champion and I feel that this is a completely different level. The opponents are preparing for you in a completely different way, everyone wants to win, and therefore I have to train twice as much, ”summed up Uguyev.

According to the results of seven days, the Russian team won six gold, four silver and two bronze medals, continuing to lead in the overall standings both in the number of victories and in the amount of awards. In the last two days, eight more sets of freestyle wrestling awards will be played.