#WrestleUfa Begins with 23 Age-Group World Medalists in Action
Sunday, August 15, 2021 - 17:48 By Vinay Siwach
UFA, Russia (August 15) -- When the first whistles blow Monday at the Ufa Arena, it will mark the beginning a junior World Championships after gap of 729 days owing to the pandemic. But more than 500 wrestlers are ready to lay their claim for 120 medals that will be on offer during the August 16-22 tournament.
Situated in western Russia and almost 1500 kilometers from Moscow, Ufa will see freestyle wrestling kickoff things on day one of the Junior World Championships. Women's wrestling and Greco-Roman will be the next two styles of wrestling.
A host of former age-group world medalists will be in action at the Ufa Arena which will see spectators for the first time since the 2020 Asian Championships in Delhi. Spectators who wish to enter the arena need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or or need to provide a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result.
Russia will look to win the the team title at home under the guidance of head coach, former world champion Abdulsalam GADISOV. But a number former world medalists will in their way.
In freestyle, Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) will be one of the biggest names to look forward to. The two-time age-group world champion is returning from the Tokyo Olympics just a week ago and will wrestle at the 74kg weight class. He will be looking to add to his four medals from age-group Worlds.
But he will face challenge from Taner GARIP (TUR). The two can set up a rematch of the 2021 European Championships final which Bayramov won in Dortmund.
One of the toughest weight class in the freestyle will be 79kg as three former world medalists including a world champion from 2018 in Bagrati GAGNIDZE (GEO) are entered. He won a junior World Championships silver as well and an exciting match-up can be seen if Gourav BALIYAN (IND) wrestles him. The two wrestled each other in the 2018 cadet Worlds final and Gagnidze scored a final second takedown to defeat the Indian.
Mohammad Ashghar NOKHODILARIMI (IRI) will also be a big threat to the title as he is coming after winning the U23 World Championships silver medal in 2019.
Another category which will see three world medalists is 125kg. Giorgi CHIKHRADZE (GEO), Lyova GEVORGYAN (ARM) and Anirudh KUMAR (IND) are medalist from the 2019 Cadet World Championships. Chikhradze was the silver medalist while the other two won bronze. From the same tournament, Bekzat TAZHI (KAZ) won a bronze at 92kg and making his move up to 125kg.
Wrestlers at 61kg will in a stacked field with two-time world champion Rahman Mousa AMOUZADKHALILI (IRI) eyeing his third title at the age-group level. But he will be challenged by another world champion Fedor BALTUEV (RUS) who won the title in 2017. Abulfaz NASIROV (AZE) and RAVINDER (IND) will also be in the same field. The two are bronze medalists from the Cadet World Championships.
Another former world champion entered is Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) and he will be wrestling at 70kg. He won the cadet world title at 65kg in 2019. Recently, he did a double by winning the 2021 European Junior and U23 Championships. Erfan Mohammad ELAHI (IRI) will try to win his first world title after falling short and collecting a silver at 60kg back in 2019. Another cadet world medalist, JAIDEEP (IND) will try to improve. He won a bronze medalist at the 2021 Worlds in Budapest last month.
Amirhossein Biglar FIROUZPOURBANDPEI (IRI) will try to capture his second world title as he is entered at 86kg. He won a gold medal at 80kg at the 2019 World Championships at the cadet level.
57kg, 65kg, 70kg, 79kg and 97kg wrestlers will be in action Monday and freestyle action will continue Tuesday with the remaining five weight classes.