photos courtesy of Robbert Witjman
Sometimes the “biggest match ever” lives up to the hype; see Kyle Snyder vs Abdulrashid Sadulaev in 2017, others don’t, and then there are a select few that don’t fit into either category. That is how you can classify “Snyderlaev II,” a world finals match that would end in a fall after only 68 seconds in favor of the Russian Sadulaev. Just because it didn’t go the way that American fans hoped, was it a dud? Maybe you could call it a flop because we didn’t get to see the back and forth action that their match last year provided. However we label the match, Snyder was stunned while trying to defending a single leg attack from Sadulaev and was caught on his back and the Russian had a tight grip on both of his elbows. It was the first loss in a Senior world final by Kyle in four attempts.
Snyder’s loss closed the books on the Men’s Freestyle tournament for the United States. When the smoke cleared, the Americans finished with seven medals in ten weight classes and three individual gold medalists. The US team finished in second place, 28 points behind Russia, and 45 points ahead of Georgia. The Men’s Freestyle team will return a squad that features all ten wrestlers that have captured at least one world level medal, at one point or another in their careers.
The first medals in the Women’s Freestyle tournament were handed out, and the United States came up just short. After a potential winning takedown was reversed in her semifinal bout, Jacarra Winchester then fell to a bronze medal match against Lianna De Montero Herrera (Cuba). Once again, Winchester as one point short of earning a medal, after she fell 5-4 to the Cuban. This was Jacarra’s first world championship appearance, and she has shown that there is plenty to be excited about going forward.
Four more US women started their tournaments this morning Forrest Molinari (65 kg), Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kg), Erin Clogdo (72 kg), and Adeline Gray (76 kg). Three of the four have advanced to compete for medals on Wednesday. Only Clodgo was eliminated. She won a match in the Round of 32 before dropping a 6-4 decision to Tatiana Kolesnikova (Russia). When the Russian was teched by Juan Wang (China) in the quarterfinals, Clodgo was knocked out of consideration for the repechage. Molinari beat up and pummelled her first opponent Leidy Izquierdo Mendez (Colombia) 4-0, then was shut down by Danielle Lappage (Canada) 6-2. Lappage would go on to advance to the gold medal match, which kept Forrest’s medal changes alive. She will need to win two bouts tomorrow to secure the bronze medal. Mensah-Stock looked excellent in her first two matches, both 10-0 tech’s. Her second win was over two-time World Champion Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia). The semis saw Mensah-Stock paired up with returning bronze medalist Koumba Larroque (France). The only points scored in the 2-1 Larroque win came on shot clock violations. The second time Mensah-Stock was on the shot clock was an “interesting” decision at best. She took a few steps backward eluding Larroque’s only real attack in six minutes to get her balance. The majority of the match consisted of Tamyra’s hands being tied up by Larroque. She’ll drop into the third-place match and is awaiting an opponent to emerge from repechage.
After missing the 2017 season, three-time world champion Adeline Gray is back and already earned a berth in tomorrow gold medal match. Gray went through a “who’s who” list of top wrestlers in the world just to make the finals. In her three matches, Adeline defeated a world bronze medalist, an Olympic bronze medalist, and an Olympic gold medalist. To ascend all the way to the top of the podium, as she is accustomed to, Gray will need to unseat the defending world champion Yasemin Adar (Turkey). Though Gray did not wrestle in 2017, she is undefeated in her career against Adar.
The remainder of the women’s team will start their tournament in the morning, followed by the three medal matches, involving US wrestlers.