Asian Games

Geraei Grabs Greco Gold Among Stacked Field, Cho Pulls Stunner

By United World Wrestling Press

The winner of the big showdown between three current Asian champions all entered in the Greco-Roman 77kg class at the Asian Games on Wednesday was...none of the above. 

Instead, it was Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) who emerged from the pack to land on the top of the podium.

Geraei, one of two Iranian champions on the fourth and final day of the wrestling competition, scored an impressive 7-3 victory in the final over Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ), who had thrilled the home crowd when he won the 72kg title at the Asian Championships in Bishkek in February-March.

Hossain NOURI (IRI) followed with a victory at 87kg, giving Iran three of the six Greco-Roman golds at stake in the tournament using only the Olympic weight classes. Iran, however, missed chances for medals at 97kg and 130kg when both of its wrestlers lost bronze-medal matches.

Geraei, a bronze medalist at the 2017 World Championships in Paris at 71kg, had started the day by avenging a loss  to YANG Bin (CHN) in the 77kg final in Bishkek, putting the Chinese away with an 8-0 technical fall in 2:17 that he capped with a 5-point throw. 

The other Bishkek gold medalist in the field, 82kg winner Ashkat DILMUKHAMEDOV (KAZ), never made it past the quarterfinals, where was dealt a 3-3 defeat on last point by Shohei YABIKU (JPN). 

In the final, Geraei gained the first point for passivity, but on his spectacular lift-and-throw from the par terre position, he failed to expose Makhumodov's back to the mat and only gained 2 points. 

Geraei padded his lead with two more 2-point moves, but on a third attempt, Makhmudov stopped him in mid-throw for a 2-point counter, making it 7-2 after the first period.

Neither wrestler could put together an attack in the second period. Makhmudov got one last chance in the final minute when Geraei was called for passivity, making it 7-3. But Geraei firmly resisted the Kyrgyz teen's gut wrench attempts to secure the victory.

Yang came away with a bronze medal with a close 4-3 victory over Yabiku. The other bronze went to KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR), who chalked up an 8-0 technical fall over Bishkek 2018 bronze medalist Shermet PERMANOV (TKM).

In the 87kg final, Nouri continued his reign over the continent by taking full advantage of a clearly fatigued Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB), scoring five unanswered and largely uncontested points in the second period for a 6-1 victory. 

Nouri, a Paris 2017 bronze medalist, added the Asian Games gold to the Asian titles he won in 2017 and 2018. Assakalov, who won the 2014 Asian Games title in Incheon, took the silver at Bishkek 2018 at 97kg.

Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ) captured one of the bronze medals, with some inadvertent help from opponent Harpreet SINGH (IND). Trailing 5-0 in the second period, Singh scored a takedown, then forced a passivity penalty to cut the lead to 5-3. 

But Indian failed to properly take the par terre position, giving his opponent a penalty point and depriving himself of a chance to tie the score. Kustubayev then defended his 6-3 lead to the end. 

Shyhazberdi OVELEKOV (TKM) gave Turkmenistan its lone wrestling medal, needing just 39 seconds to put away Mohammed ALQUHALI (YEM) with an 8-0 technical fall.

Prior to the tournament, the 97kg class was deemed to be the most open and unpredictable, but even that couldn't detract from the surprise of CHO Hyochul (KOR)---10 days short of his 33rd birthday and 6 1/2 years after his last major tournament---walking away with the gold.

The stocky Cho ripped off a lightening-quick headlock throw for 4 points early in the second period, giving him a 5-4 lead that he made stick to defeat XIAO Di (CHN) in the final. 

Cho prepped for Jakarta by posting ninth-places finishes in Tbilisi and Sofia this year, marking his return to international mat after a six-year absence. It was 10 years ago that he won a bronze medal at 84kg at the Asian Championships, before adding a silver in 2011. 

Yerulan ISKAKOV (KAZ), the 2014 Asian Games champion ahead of Xiao, captured a bronze medal with a somewhat bizarre victory over Ali Akbar HEIDARI (IRI). 

Iskakov needed a long timeout to bandage a bleeding eyebrow, but still built up a 7-0 lead. In the second period, Heidari himself had to receive treatment and a bandage for a cut, before the bout suddenly ended when the Iranian was assessed a 2-point penalty for a head butt. An unsuccessful challenge made it officially a 10-0 technical fall at 4:25.

Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) scored a first-period takedown, and that was enought to beat Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB), 2-0, for the second bronze. 

Bishkek 2018 silver medalist Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) capped the competition with an 8-0 technical fall in the 130kg final over defending Asian Games champion Nurmakhan TINALIYEV (KAZ).

Abdullaev built up a 7-0 lead in the first period with a passivity point, a 4-point throw and a 2-point roll. He ended the bout by forcing Tinaliyev out for his eighth point at 4:16. 

In the bronze-medal matches, Arata SONODA (JPN) denied the host country an improbable medal with a fall in 52 seconds over Papang RAMADHANI (INA), while KIM Minseok (KOR) eked out a 1-1 victory over two-time Asian champion and favorite Behnam MAHDIZADEH (IRI), by virtue of his passivity point coming in the second period.

In the end, eight countries came away with medals in the six Greco weight classes, with Iran and South Korea each winning two golds. Kazahstan had the most medalists with five, although none were gold. 


77kg (16 entries)

Gold - Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) df. Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ), 7-3
Bronze - KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) df. Shermet PERMANOV (TKM) by TF, 9-0, 1:48
Bronze - YANG Bin (CHN) df. Shohei YABIKU (JPN), 4-3

SF - Geraei df. Yabiku, 8-1
SF - Makhmudov df. Permanov by TF, 8-0, 1:32

87kg (12 entries)

Gold - Hossein NOURI (IRI) df. Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB), 6-1
Bronze - Shyhazberdi OVELEKOV (TKM) df. Mohammed ALQUHALI (YEM) by TF, 8-0, :39
Bronze - Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ) df.  Harpreet SINGH (IND), 6-3

SF - Assakalov df. Singh by TF, 10-0, :38
SF - Nouri df. Alquhali by TF, 8-0, 1:07

97kg (9 entries)

Gold - CHO Hyochul (KOR) df. XIAO Di (CHN), 5-4
Bronze - Yerulan ISKAKOV (KAZ) df. Ali Akbar HEIDARI (IRI) by TF, 10-0, 4:25
Bronze - Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) df. Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB), 2-0

SF - Xiao df. Dzhuzupbekov by Fall, 1:27 (8-1)
SF - Cho df. Heidari, 4-3

130kg (11 entries)

Gold - Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) df. Nurmakhan TINALIYEV (KAZ) by TF, 8-0, 4:16 
Bronze - Arata SONODA (JPN) df. Papang RAMADHANI (INA) by Fall, :52 (2-0)
Bronze - KIM Minseok (KOR) df. Behnam MAHDIZADEH (IRI), 1-1

SF - Abdullaev df. Mahdizadeh, 2-2
SF - Tinaliyev df. Sonoda, 6-0


Asian Games

China's Zhou Tandem Takes Final 2 Women's Asian Games Golds; Ryu, Ota Prevail in Greco

By United World Wrestling Press

China got a double helping of golden Zhou at the Asian Games when its two wrestlers sharing that same family name took the final two women's gold medals on Tuesday in Jakarta.

ZHOU Feng (CHN) defeated Tumentsetseg SHARKHUU (MGL) 4-1 in the final at 68kg, and namesake ZHOU Qian (CHN) followed by continuing her dominance of Hiroe MINAGAWA (JPN) and taking the 72kg title with an 8-0 rout. 

Both finals were repeats of the gold medal matches at the Asian Championships six months ago in Bishkek, as the heavyweights came through as expected after the Chinese women ended the previous day with just a single silver medal in four weight classes. 

Zhou Feng, who won the 2014 Asian Games gold in Incheon at 75kg and a world silver in 2015, scored with a pair of takedowns in the first period, and that was all she needed to defeat Sharkhuu. 

Any chance of a comeback in the second period by the Mongolian all but ended when she seemed to reinjure her heavily taped right shoulder after Zhou squirmed out of an attempted high body lock. Still, she gave a better accounting of herself than in Bishkek, when she lost by technical fall.

Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ) prevented Japan from taking home a medal in all six weight classes when she defeated Ayana GEMPEI (JPN), 7-3, in a bronze medal match. 

Gempei, the 2017 Asian silver medalist at 63kg and U-23 world champion, had moved up to 68kg to fill the spot left open by Sara DOSHO (JPN). The world and Olympic champion withdrew due to a shoulder injury suffered at the Women's World Cup in March, and Gempei had to win a three-women playoff to earn the spot.

The other 68kg bronze medal went to Divya KAKRAN (IND), who scored a comprehensive 10-0 technical fall victory over CHEN Wenling (TPE).

At 76kg, Minagawa represented Japan's final chance to avoid being completely shut out of the women's gold medals for the first time since women's wrestling was added to the Asian Games program in 2002 (and there were only three or four weight classes prior to Jakarta). But Zhou Qian remained a Great Wall of China that Minagawa, who won a bronze medal at the Paris 2017 world championships under her maiden name of Suzuki, still can't get over. 

Zhou, the 2015 world silver medalist, scored with a double leg takedown-roll combination for four points in the first period, then added two takedowns in the second to defeat Minagawa for the third time in six months and fourth time in four career meetings. 

In a twist of fate, the two bronze medalists from Bishkek clashed for one of the bronzes in Jakarta, with Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) taking home the hardware with a 5-2 decision over HWANG Eunju (KOR). Syzdykova had also won a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) took the other bronze with a 4-2 win over Nasanburumaa ORCHIRBAT (MGL), the Bishek 2018 silver medalist at 72kg.

The start of the Greco-Roman competition produced some tense moments but otherwise no surprises for the two favorites, as world champion RYU Sansu (KOR) captured a second straight Asian Games crown with a victory at 67kg, and Rio 2016 silver medalist and Bishkek 2018 champion Shinobu OTA (JPN) stormed to gold at 60kg. 

Ryu scored with a 4-point move in the first period, and rode that to a 5-4 victory over Bishkek 2018 champion Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ) in the final. 

In a quicksilver sequence in the first period, Kebispayev scored with a front headlock roll, but he ended on top of Ryu's back. The Korean then rose up, twisted Kebispayev around and slammed him to the mat for four points and a 4-3 lead. Kebispayev added another point when the two went out of bounds to make it 4-4 at the end of period, but Ryu leading on big point criteria. Ryu then successfully fought off Kabispayev in the second period while adding a point to secure the victory.

After starting out with an 8-0 technical fall over Pongsit DEEMARK (THA), Ryu had two close calls en route to the final, edging Amantur ISMAILOV (KGZ) 1-1 and ZHANG Gaoquan (CHN) 2-0.

In the bronze medal matches, Ismailov prevailed over Zhang, 6-1, while Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) overwhelmed HUNG Yinghua (TPE) with an 11-0 technical fall in :56.

In Bishkek, Ryu suffered a loss by injury default in the quarterfinals to Tsuchika SHIMOYAMADA (JPN), who went on to lose to Kebispayev in the final. In Jakarta, Shimoyamada's day ended with a first-round loss to Manish MANISH (IND). 

Another early casualty was Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB), the Bishkek 2018 champion at 63kg who moved up because only the six Olympic weights are on the Asian Games program. He blew a 5-1 lead in his quarterfinal match with Geraei,  losing by fall with :18 left after the Iranian went ahead 9-8.

At 60kg, Ota managed to save Japanese pride after both the freestyle and women's teams failed to reach the top of the podium by posting a slick victory by fall in the final over Kanybek ZHOLCHUBEKOV (KGZ).

Ota, whose spectacular throws has earned him the nickname "Ninja wrestler," scored with a 4-point move to take a 4-3 lead after the first period. His second 4-pointer, however, also led to the end of the match as he finished it off with a fall at 4:05. 

"I felt pressure because I knew if I didn't win, (Japan wrestling) would end without any gold medals," Ota told the Japanese press. "I'm glad I was able to finish it off with my specialty body tackle."

Mirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ), the 2017 Asian silver medalist, took home a bronze with a victory by fall over RI Se Ung (PRK), while Mehrdad MARDANI (IRI) earned the other bronze by beating Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) by 8-0 technical fall. 

Ota has been on a mission of redemption that he is determined will lead to gold at the world championships in Budapest in October and eventually the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

After winning the silver in Rio, he suddenly found himself with a new rival in younger Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN), who is also a training partner. Fumita gained the upper hand and pipped Ota for places on the Japan national team, going on to win both the Asian and world titles in 2017.

But Ota turned the tables at the national championships last December, earning spots on the teams to both Bishkek and Jakarta. When Fumita skipped the final qualifying tournament for the world championships in May due to injury, Ota's ticket to Budapest was secured. 

The wrestling at the Asian Games concludes Wednesday with the final four weight classes in Greco-Roman, 77kg, 87kg, 97kg and 130kg. 

Women's Wrestling

68kg (12 entries)

Gold - ZHOU Feng (CHN) df. Tumentsetseg SHARKHUU (MGL), 4-1
Bronze - Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ) df. Ayana GEMPEI (JPN), 7-3
Bronze - Divya KAKRAN (IND) df. CHEN Wenling (TPE) by TF, 10-0, 1:29

SF - Zhou df. Zhumanazarova by Fall, 4:10 (9-2)
SF - Sharkhuu df. Chen by TF, 10-0, :45

76kg (9 entries)

Gold - ZHOU Qian (CHN) df. Hiroe MINAGAWA (JPN), 8-0
Bronze - Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) df. Nasanburumaa ORCHIRBAT (MGL), 4-2 
Bronze - Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) df. HWANG Eunju (KOR), 5-2

SF - Minagawa df. Medet Kyzy, 2-1
SF - Zhou df. Hwang by TF, 10-0, 3:26


60kg (14 entries)

Gold - Shinobu OTA (JPN) df. Kanybek ZHOLCHUBEKOV (KGZ) by Fall, 4:35 (8-3)
Bronze - Mehrdad MARDANI (IRI) df. Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) by TF, 8-0, 3:24
Bronze - Mirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ) df. RI Se Ung (PRK) by TF, 13-5, 4:34

SF - Ota df. Bakhramov, 6-0
SF - Zholochubekov df. Ainagulov by TF, 9-0, :53

67kg (16 entries)

Gold - RYU Hansu (KOR) df. Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ), 5-4
Bronze - Mohammedreza GERAEI (IRI) df. HUNG Yinghua (TPE) by TF, 11-0, :56
Bronze - Amantur ISMAILOV (KGZ) df.  ZHANG Gaoquan (CHN), 6-1

SF - Kebispayev df. Geraei by TF, 10-0, 1:45
SF - Ryu df. Zhang, 2-0