Evloev Gives Host Country 74kg Freestyle Gold

By Ken Marantz

On the night the curtain came down on the Asian Championships in Bishkek, Muslim EVLOEV (KGZ) provided the perfect final act.

Evloev gave the host country a gold medal in 74kg freestyle as the tournament wrapped up its well-supported six-day run at the Kozhomkul Sports Palace with finals in five weight divisions.

Evloev, riding an early 5-point lead, never let up in defeating Mandakhnaran GANZORIG (MGL) by 11-1 technical fall with :24 remaining to give Kyrgyzstan its first Asian freestyle gold since 2015 and fourth in its history.

"It's a great feeling," Evloev said of winning at home to improve on his silver medal he won last year in New Delhi. "The crowd was really supporting me as much as they could and I couldn't fail them, so I did my best."

Iran finished up by capturing two golds, as reigning world and Olympic champion Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (IRI) cruised to his first Asian title with a victory at 86kg, and Mohammadjavad EBRAHIMIZIVLAEI (IRI) followed by winning the 92kg crown.

In a duel between Georgian-born wrestlers for the 125kg title, Davit MODZMANASHVILI (UZB) defeated Giorgi SAKANDELIDZE (QAT), 5-0, in a tepid match that capped the tournament.

Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ), 61kg champion looking for a gut wrench. Photo Max Rose-Fyne. 

The other gold at stake went to Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ), a New Delhi 2017 bronze medalist who scored two takedowns in the second period of the 61kg final to top Kazuya KOYANAGI (JPN), 6-2.

Uzbekistan, which had won five medals, including two golds, on Saturday, added two bronzes to Modzmanashvili's gold to clinch the team title with 178 points. Iran finished second with 157 and Kazakhstan third with 146.

Evloev acknowledged he was heartened by the Greco victory of compatriot Akzhol MAKHMUDOV on the second day, one of the tournament's iconic moments for the thunderous ovation it elicited from the delirious crowd.

"Of course he did inspire me," Evloev said. "And I also want to say congratulations to Makhmudov because I haven't seen him yet."

In the final, Evloev used a single-leg lift to dump Ganzorig, a two-time world bronze medalist, backwards to the mat for a 4-point move, which became 5 when the Mongolian side's challenge was unsuccessful.

"It made me feel more confident, but I was going to wrestle until the last second," Evloev said of being staked to a big early lead. "That's why I won."

Photo of Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (IRI) by Max Rose-Fyne. 

Outside of the Kyrgyz wrestlers, the spotlight was squarely on superstar Yazdani Charati.

And he lived up to expectations by overwhelming Uitumen ORGODOL (MGL) in the 86kg final, scoring with a takedown and roll combination right away, and then reeling off three takedowns for a 10-0 technical fall with 36 seconds still left in the first period.

Orgodol added the Asian silver to the one he won in 2016 and his bronze from 2013.

So popular is the Iranian that he had a phalanx of Kyrygz security guards whereever he went, and was whisked pass waiting media and fans without comment after his medal ceremony and completing doping procedures.

In the 92kg final, Ebrahimizivlaei built up a 5-1 lead through the first period against Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ), then gave up a passivity point and nothing else to take the gold with a 5-2 victory.

The plodding end to the final bout of the tournament, the 125kg final, belied the historical significance of it.

Modzmanashvili, a London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist for Georgia, took a 4-0 lead with an early takedown to a roll, then gained a point when Sakandelidze was on the activity clock in the second period, when the two giants seemed to have little desire to expend further energy.  

By winning the silver medal, Sakandelidze became Qatar's first-ever medalist at the Asian Championships. The Gulf nation's best previous showing had been fifth place.

Although it took an import to gain a spot on the medal podium, Qatari officials were ecstatic with the result.

"After a long period, this is a big success for Qatar wrestling federation, for Qatar," said team leader Vardan Ghazaryan. "For the first time in senior championships, after more than 50 years, we take such success. Qatar is very proud and it will advertise wrestling to include more young schoolboys for developing wrestling in Qatar."

Ghazaryan said the federation has high expectations for Sakandelidze, who he said has lived in Qatar for two years.

"This is, of course, his first match for Qatar, but you will see his success and medals, gold medals, in the future."

Among the bronze-medal matches, Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ) overcame an 8-3 deficit with 45 seconds remaining, scoring the winning takedown in the final seconds to defeat KIM Daisung (KOR), 11-8, at 74kg.

Kim, who clearly ran out of gas down the stretch, is a 40-something high school wrestling coach who came out of retirement to make the national team, according to a South Korean federation official.

Azizbek SOLIEV (UZB) also notched a last-second takedown to upend Turtogtokh LUVSANDORJ (MGL), 4-3, in their 92kg third-place match.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran and China all came away with two bronze medals on the night, while host Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia had one each.

61kg (12 entries)
Gold - Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ) df. Kazuya KOYANAGI (JPN), 6-2

Bronze - Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB) df. Sharvan SHARVAN (IND), 6x-6

74kg (12 entries)
Gold - Muslim EVLOEV (KGZ) df. Mandakhnaran GANZORIG (MGL) by TF, 11-1, 0:24

Bronze - Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ) df. KIM Daisung (KOR), 11-8
Bronze - Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI) df. Dovletmyrat ORAZGYLYJOV (TKM) by TF, 10-0, 4:12

86kg (12 entries)
Gold - Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (IRI) df. Uitumen ORGODOL (MGL) by TF, 10-0, 3:24

Bronze - Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) df. Javrail SHAPIEV (UZB), 4-0
Bronze - BI Shengfeng (CHN) df. Deepak PUNIA (IND) by TF, 10-0, 3:41

92kg (10 entries)
Gold - Mohammadjavad EBRAHIMIZIVLAEI (IRI) df. Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ), 5-2

Bronze - LIN Zushen (CHN) df. SUE Changjae (KOR), 2-1
Bronze - Azizbek SOLIEV (UZB) df. Turtogtokh LUVSANDORJ (MGL), 4-3

125kg (13 entries)

Bronze - Zolboo NATSAGSUREN (MGL) df. NAM Koungjin (KOR) by TF, 10-0, 4:43
Bronze - Amin TAHERI (IRI) df. Sohbet BELLIYEV (TKM) by TF, 14-4, 3:02


Yazdani Charati Storms into 86kg Freestyle Final

By Ken Marantz

Reigning world and Olympic champion Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (IRI) was one of two Iranians to make the five freestyle finals on the final day of the Asian Championships, surprisingly the same number for Mongolia---and they very nearly had double that.

Kazakhstan also has two finalists in the evening session at Kozhomkul Sports Palace, while Uzbekistan, which put four wrestlers into the finals on the previous day and came away with two golds, couldn't keep the momentum going and was among four countries with one finalist.

Yazdani Charati, making his debut at the continental championships, will face two-time Asian medalist Uitumen ORGODOL (MGL) in the 86kg final.

In the 92kg final, Mohammadjavad EBRAHIMIZIVLAEI (IRI) will clash with Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ). They will know each other from the 2016 World University Championships, where the Iranian won the gold and the Kazakh took a bronze at 86kg.

The match for the gold at 125kg will be a clash between native Georgians now wrestling for other countries.

Giorgi SAKANDELIDZE (QAT), who won world bronze medals in 2009 and 2010 for Georgia, is already assured of becoming the first Asian medalist from the Gulf nation. He will try to make it gold when he faces Davit MODZMANASHVILI (UZB), a London 2012 Olympic silver medalist for Georgia.

Muslim EVLOEV (KGZ), 74kg finalist working on a gut-wrench. Photo by Max Rose-Fyne.

Muslim EVLOEV (KGZ) will aim to emulate Greco-Roman champion Akzhol MAKHMUDOV and win a gold for the host country when he takes on veteran Mandakhnaran GANZORIG (MGL) in the 74kg final.

The 31-year-old Mongolian is chasing his first Asian gold after taking home silvers in 2009 and 2013 and a bronze in 2015. His collection also includes world bronze medals from 2013 and 2014.

Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ) working on getting to a single leg. Photo by Max Rose-Fyne.

At 61kg, Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ), a bronze medalist a year ago in New Delhi, advanced to the final along with newcomer Kazuya KOYANAGI (JPN).

Two Mongolians relegated to bronze-medal matches will rue letting a place in the finals slip through their fingers.

In the 92kg semifinals, Turtogtokh LUVSANDORJ (MGL) had an 8-4 lead with a minute left against Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ), only to allow the Kazakh to storm back and clinch a 10-9 win with two step-outs in the final 10 seconds.

Sakandelidze was taken to the limit before forging out a 2-1 win in his 125kg semifinal with Zolboo NATSAGSUREN (MGL), who will now have to be content going for a second straight bronze medal.

"All four had a chance to make the finals, but two of them made mistakes," Mongolia head coach Byambujuv BATTALUGA said. "I did think all of them would make the finals. But I'm very happy."

Yazdani Charati caused a stir when he was roughly slammed to the mat for a takedown just seconds into his opening quarterfinal match with Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ).

But the Iranian shook off the shock and calmly reeled off five straight takedowns to end the first period up 10-2. He then finished the match 34 seconds into the second period with another takedown.

In the semifinals, Yazdani Charati overwhelmed Javrail SHAPIEV (UZB) with a pair of 4-point moves to win by 13-0 technical fall within the first period.

That was one of three head-to-head clashes between wrestlers from Iran and Uzbekistan (Iran won two). In another of note, Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI) ousted New Delhi 2017 champion Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV, 3-2, in their 74kg quarterfinal match.

Uzbekistan coach Olimdjan Khikmatov said Abdurakhmonov was nursing an injured knee and was not in top condition.

As for having just one finalist a day after advancing four, Khikmatov shrugged and said, "Yesterday was good, today not so good."

61kg (12 entries)
Gold - Kazuya KOYANAGI (JPN) v Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ)

Bronze - Sharvan SHARVAN (IND) v Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB)

Semifinal - Kazuya KOYANAGI (JPN) df. Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB), 7-2
Semifinal - Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ) df. Iman SADEGHIKOUKANDEH (IRI), 5-4

74kg (12 entries)
Gold - Mandakhnaran GANZORIG (MGL) v Muslim EVLOEV (KGZ)

Bronze - KIM Daisung (KOR) v Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ)
Bronze - Dovletmyrat ORAZGYLYJOV (TKM) v Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI)

Semifinal - Mandakhnaran GANZORIG (MGL) df. Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ), 8-6
Semifinal - Muslim EVLOEV (KGZ) df. Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI), 8-4

86kg (12 entries)

Bronze - Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) v Javrail SHAPIEV (UZB)
Bronze - Deepak PUNIA (IND) v BI Shengfeng (CHN)

Semifinal - Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (IRI) df. Javrail SHAPIEV (UZB) by TF, 13-0, 3:47
Semifinal - Uitumen ORGODOL (MGL) df. BI Shengfeng (CHN) by TF, 12-1, 2:42

92kg (10 entries)

Bronze - SUE Changjae (KOR) v LIN Zushen (CHN)
Bronze - Azizbek SOLIEV (UZB) v Turtogtokh LUVSANDORJ (MGL)

Semifinal - Mohammadjavad EBRAHIMIZIVLAEI (IRI) df. LIN Zushen (CHN), 7-2
Semifinal - Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ) df. Turtogtokh LUVSANDORJ (MGL), 10-9

125kg (13 entries)

Bronze - NAM Koungjin (KOR) v Zolboo NATSAGSUREN (MGL)
Bronze - Sohbet BELLIYEV (TKM) v Amin TAHERI (IRI)

Semifinal - Davit MODZMANASHVILI (UZB) df. Amin TAHERI (IRI), 3-0
Semifinal - Giorgi SAKANDELIDZE (QAT) df. Zolboo NATSAGSUREN (MGL), 2-1