Julfalakyan Elected Athletes’ Commission Chairman

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY (October 19) -- United World Wrestling has announced that Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM) was elected Chairman of the Athletes’ Commission.

Julfalakayan was selected as the Commission’s Chairman by the six other Athletes’ Commission members -- Tamas LORINCZ, (HUN), Yui SUSAKI (JPN), Hassan YAZDANICHARATI (IRI), Maxwell LACEY GARITA, (CRC), Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) and Jessica LAVERS-MCBAIN (AUS) – who were voted into office by their fellow athletes through voting that took place at the ‘21 Senior World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway.

“I wanted to express my gratitude to my peers in the Athletes' Commission for their trust and support during the elections. It’s a great honor for me to become the Chairman of the Commission,” said the London Olympic silver medalist.

Julfalakayan has served as an active member of the Athletes' Commission since ’17 but will now be a voting member of the United World Wrestling Bureau. He replaces ‘12 London Olympic champion and five-time world gold medalist Jordan BURROUGHS (USA), who has served in the role since September 2017.

In addition to sitting on the Bureau as the Athletes’ representative, Julfalakayan will also represent wrestlers/wrestling in the IOC Athletes Forum, WADA and in other organizations.

“I’ll make sure to use all my knowledge, experience and energy to bring the Commission to even a higher level. Of course, that will be possible only with tightest cooperation with all the members of Commission and UWW,”

Julfalakayan’s first responsibility as the Chairman of the Athletes’ Commission will come later this month in Belgrade, Serbia, at the UWW Bureau and Congress meeting.

The Athletes' Commission was established in 2013 with the role of protecting the rights and interests of all United World Wrestling Olympic style athletes. The Athletes' Commission members reach out and communicate with active athletes as peers to collect feedback.

United World Wrestling is the international governing body of wrestling and is headquartered in Corsier--Sur-¬Vevey, Switzerland. To learn more about United World Wrestling and the activities of its 179 national federations, please visit: www.uww.org, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


FS World Cup: 5 match-ups to watch

By Vinay Siwach

CORALVILLE, Iowa (November 22) -- The World Cup in Coralville will offer spectacular match-ups with a few being repeats from the Belgrade World Championships while others being first timers.

There will be no dearth of action for the fans who will assemble at the Xtreme Arena for the tournament on December 10 and 11.

The freestyle competition will see stars from hosts USA, Iran, Japan, Mongolia, Georgia and the All-Star team in action with plenty to look forward to. But here are the top five potential match-ups.

The six teams are divided into two groups with the USA paired alongside Japan and Mongolia while Iran is pooled with Georgia and the All-World Team.

65kg - Rahman AMOUZAD (IRI) vs John DIAKOMIHALIS (USA)

The 65kg final in Belgrade saw two of the most exciting young talents right now in the world. Amouzad and Diakomihalis put on a show in a 21-point gold-medal bout in Belgrade. It began with both going for attacks from the start and in one sequence, the two managed to score 14 points with Diakomihalis leading 8-6. However, Amouzad ran away in the second period, adding seven points to win the gold. A rematch only promises to be better with Diakomihalis turning up with the support of the home crowd and in familiar territory. Having wrestled Amouzad will help him change his tactics, if any, for the rematch. The fans can expect a flurry of attacks from both wrestlers to get the early advantage.

For Amouzad, it will be a chance to set himself as the 65kg favorite with Olympic champion Takuto OTOGURO (JPN) being away from the mat. Like Otoguro in 2018 when he beat Bajrang PUNIA (IND) 15-9 to win the world gold, Amouzad showed his caliber against Diakomihalis. From here, it can get better for Amouzad or Diakomihalis can emerge as the challenger.

70kg - Amirmohammad YAZDANI (IRI) vs Ernazar AKMATALIEV (UWW)

Another rematch that promises to be a thriller. Yazdani and Akmataliev met in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Almaty last year and managed to let it fly from the first whistle. Yazdani built a 12-8 lead at the break but Akmataliev used the front chest wrap to score two exposure in the second period and managed to win against Yazdani who failed to keep the pace. That was at 65kg.

Both wrestlers have now moved up to 70kg. In Oslo, Yazdani won silver at 65kg while Akmataliev won the same medal at 70kg. Akmataliev added bronze at Belgrade and will now be a crucial member of the All-World Team at the World Cup. Yazdani will be burning to get on the mat after missing out in Belgrade and finishing second at the U23 World Championships.

The two bring high-quality wrestling to the mat with Akmataliev depending on big throws while Yazdani counters most attacks of his opponents. If the two meet at the World Cup, it is sure going to be another humdinger.

Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK)Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (UWW) is a two-time world silver medalist. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

74kg - Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (UWW) vs. Jason NOLF (USA)

Salkazanov has been in two World Championships finals but failed to cross the final barrier -- Kyle DAKE (USA). But with world champion Dake deciding to sit out of the World Cup, Salkazanov will get a chance to square up against another American wrestler at 74kg in Jason NOLF (USA).

Nolf has been an exciting prospect for the USA but Salkazanov has the experience of beating world-class wrestlers. He will be bringing all that experience to Coralville and Nolf will be waiting for him. Nolf won silver at the prestigious Ivan Yarguin Grand Prix at the start of the year. However, it will be a test for him if he can break the defense of Salkazanov.

The match can turn out to be a fierce battle if Nolf can build an early lead that will put Salkazanov in a spot of bother. He will then try to cover up the lead, making the match exciting.

86kg - Alireza KARIMI (IRI) vs Azamat DAULETBEKOV (UWW)

Three-time world medalist Karimi will be on the Iran team in the absence of superstar Hassan YAZDANI (IRI). Karimi has been playing second fiddle to Yazdani for a long time and this trip can help him gain experience if he wants to beat Yazdani in Iran. A match-up against Azamat DAULETBEKOV (UWW) will be a perfect start.

While Karimi has beaten Dauletbekov in their previous three meetings, Dauletbekov will have the confidence to pull one back. He won the bronze medal at the World Championships, apart from being the Asian champion this year. He brings a style of wrestling that is full of attacks and counters. Unlike others, Daletbekov doesn't suffer from conditioning issues and can battle Karimi who last competed internationally at the Islamic Solidarity Games in August. He won the gold medal over Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) at 86kg. But he will be tested against Dauletbekov who has constantly improved since making his World Championships debut in 2017.

Kyle SNYDER (USA)Kyle SNYDER (USA) won his third world title in Belgrade. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

97kg - Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) vs Kyle SNYDER (USA)

It's a bout that no one asked for, but every wrestling fan needed. World and Olympic champion Snyder can potentially wrestle two-time world champion Ghasempour. Snyder is a regular at 97kg while Ghasempour is jumping up from 92kg for the World Cup. Ghasempour won his second world title in Belgrade after a scintillating final against J'Den COX (USA).

Snyder also won the gold in Belgrade, five years since his last world title in Paris. Over the years, Snyder has ended up being the second best at 97kg and a bout against Ghasempour will throw up a new challenge for Snyder who won the gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. No one has really managed to match his level since he won the first world title in 2015 apart from Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF).

Ghamespour produces some of the most controlled attacks in wrestling and has a solid defense as well. With some quick movements on the mat, Ghamespour appears to be an ideal wrestler but it will be a challenge for him to show up at 97kg against Snyder, a complete wrestler in his own form.