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2019 World Championships: 77kg Greco-Roman Preview

Smith_Pat

photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Greco-Roman 77 kg Preview

Days of competition: Preliminaries-Semifinals: Monday, September 16th; Finals: Tuesday, September 17th

Seeds: #1 Hyeonwoo Kim (South Korea), #2 Viktor Nemes (Serbia), #3 Tamas Lorincz (Hungary), #4 Pavel Liakh (Belarus)

US Entry: Pat Smith

One of the brightest young American stars on the Greco front at 77 kg in Kamal Bey. After making the world team in 2018, it looked like it may be the beginning of the Bey-era at the weight. Not so fast said veteran Pat Smith. Pat is not flashy and high-flying like Bey, but he is experienced, hard-nosed, and technically sound. The pair met in the US Open finals and it was Bey who got his hand raised after a semi-controversial bout. Losing at the Open meant that Smith had to travel to Raleigh, North Carolina for the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament three weeks later. At the Trials, Smith took a pair of matches in the best-of-three series against past-world team member Mason Manville, 3-0, 3-2. That win set up a rematch with Bey at Final X Rutgers. Bey started the series with an 11-2 win, which put Smith on the brink of elimination. With his back against the wall, Pat dominated the ties and shut down Bey in two straight matches, 2-1 and 6-3, to earn his trip to Nur-Sultan. This will mark Pat’s second time competing at the World Championships, after making the team back in 2017. At that tournament, Smith had to settle for 15th place. Pat has been very busy in 2019. In addition to his competitions that led to his world team berth, Pat was a champion at both the Dave Schultz Memorial Invitational and the Pan-American Games. He also was fifth at Thor Masters and had to settle for 19th place at the Grand Prix of Hungary. The 77 kg weight class is another one with a whole bevy of talented entrants. Smith will be tested early and often in his quest for a first world medal. 

Favorites:

Kim – 2019 City of Sassari Champion, Five-time Asian Champion, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 2011 World bronze medalist

Nemes – 2019 European bronze medalist, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2018 European silver medalist, 2017 World Champion, 2016 Olympian

Lorincz – 2019 European Games bronze medalist, 2018 World silver medalist, Two-time European bronze medalist, 2017 World silver medalist, 2014 World bronze medalist, 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Three-time Olympian, 2006 European Champion

Liakh – 2019 Oleg Karavaev Memorial Champion, 2016 World University Champion

#8 Roman Vlasov (Russia) – Four-time European Champion, 2019 Dan Kolov silver medalist, 2016 Olympic Champion, 2015 World Champion, 2013 World silver medalist, 2012 Olympic Champion, 2011 World Champion, 2010 Junior World Champion

Medal Contenders:

#15 Elvin Mursaliyev (Azerbaijan) – 2018 European bronze medalist, 2017 World bronze medalist, 2016 Olympian, 2015 World fifth-place, 2014 World bronze medalist, 2008 Junior World Champion, 2007 Junior World silver medalist

NR Daniel Aleksandrov (Bulgaria) – 2019 European fifth-place, Two-time European bronze medalist, 2017 World fifth-place, 2017 Dan Kolov Champion, 2016 Olympian, 2015 European Games bronze medalist

NR Bin Yang (China) – Three-time Asian Games bronze medalist, 2018 Asian Champion, 2017 Asian bronze medalist, 2016 Olympian

#17 Bozo Starcevic (Croatia) – 2016 Olympic fifth-place, 2014 World fifth-place

NR Gela Bolkvadze (Georgia) – 2018 U23 World Champion, 2017 U23 World silver medalist, 2015 Junior World Champion, 2014 Junior World bronze medalist, 2012 Cadet World silver medalist

#11 Roland Schwarz (Germany) – 2019 European silver medalist, 2019 Thor Master Champion

#12 Singh Gurpreet (India) – 2019 City of Sassari Champion, 2019 Asian silver medalist

NR Mohammadali Geraei (Iran) – 2019 Asian bronze medalist, 2018 Asian Games Champion, 2018 Asian silver medalist, 2017 World bronze medalist, 2015 Asian silver medalist

#19 Tamerlan Shadukayev (Kazakhstan) – 2019 Asian bronze medalist, 2019 Dan Kolov bronze medalist, 2016 Junior World Champion, 2013 Cadet World bronze medalist

NR Daniel Cataraga (Moldova) – 2018 U23 World Champion, 2018 European bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World Champion, 2017 World fifth-place, 2016 World silver medalist

#9 Alex Bjurberg (Sweden) – 2019 European Games bronze medalist, 2018 World fifth-place, 2017 U23 World fifth-place

#16 Fatih Cengiz (Turkey) – 2019 Pytlasinski Cup Champion, 2019 European fifth-place, 2018 U23 World bronze medalist, 2018 World University Champion, 2017 U23 World Champion, 2017 World bronze medalist

2018 Medalists

Gold: Aleksander Chekhirkin (Russia)

Silver: Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)

Bronze: Viktor Nemes (Serbia)

Bronze: Hyeonwoo Kim (South Korea)

2019 Medal Predictions:

Gold: Roman Vlasov (Russia)

Silver: Hyeonwoo Kim (South Korea)

Bronze: Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)

Bronze: Gela Bolkvadze (Georgia)

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