World Champs Showcase Opening Day of Asian Games Wrestling
Saturday, September 27, 2014 - 03:00 By William May
INCHEON, Korea (September 27) – World champions Eri TOSAKA (JPN) and SUN Yanan (CHN) appear headed for a showdown at 48kg on the opening day of wrestling competition at the Asian Games on Saturday.
Meanwhile, 2013 world champion Hassan RAHIMI (IRI) looks forward to a likely replay of last year’s championship final with Amit KUMAR (IND) at 57kg at Dowon Gymnasium in central Incheon, Korea.
Also featured in Saturday’s world champion showcase will be SUKHEE Tserenchimed (MGL), who won the 60kg crown in female wrestling at the world championships in Tashkent earlier in the month.
The only weight category without a world champion to be contested on the first day is 70kg in men’s freestyle, where world bronze medalist Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (UZB) could face a rematch with Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI) in the semifinals.
48kg – Tosaka repeated as 48kg world champion in Tashkent, while 2013 world champ at 51kg Sun was largely inactive this year – except for a World Cup appearance in which she was edged 6-4 by Tosaka.
Yun opens in the top half of the bracket with Asia champion Tatyana AMANZHOL (KAZ), while Tosaka faces a potential quarterfinal pairing with Asian runner-up ERDENESUKH Narangerel (MGL) and a semifinal showdown with 2013 Asia champion PAK Yong-Mi (PRK).
63kg – Sukhee’s biggest obstacle to reaching the finals could well be Rio WATARI (JPN), who will try to show she is better than her one-and-done showing in Tashkent against former world champion SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg (MGL).
From the lower half of the bracket, 2013 Asia champion XILUO Zhuoma (CHN) and 2013 world bronze medalist Ekaterina LARIONOVA (KAZ) could meet in the semifinals for a chance to meet Sukhee.
57kg – Former world champion Hassan RAHIMI (IRI) slipped to a bronze medal in Tashkent after a criteria loss to 2009 world champ YANG Kyong-Il (PRK). He opens his bid for an Asian Games gold medal with Asian championship bronze medal winner Samat NADYRBEK UULU (KGZ).
Rahimi could face Asian champion Rasul KALIEV (KAZ) in the semifinals for a chance to face the survivor of the crowded upper-half of the bracket.
Amit KUMAR, 2013 world runner-up, leads off with Asian bronze medalist Fumitaka MORISHITA (JPN), while Yasar Dogu winner BATBOLD Nomin (MGL) would square off with JONG Hak-Jin (PRK).
Jong won the Takhti Cup tourney in February ahead of Kaliev, world champ teammate Yang and Batbold.
70kg – After a bronze medal in Tashkent, Abdurakhmanov looks forward to his first win at a major international event but will likely have to get by Asian champion Hosseinkhani in the semifinals. Abdurakhmanov won by criteria over Hosseinkhani on a late takedown in Tashkent.
Abdurakhmanov, however, cannot look past Asian runner-up Somirsho VOKHIDOV (TJK).