Adeline Gray (USA) secures the fall over Zaineb Sghaier (TUN) in the opening round of Women’s Freestyle (76 kg) at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo courtesy of Larry Slater.
Five-time World champion Adeline Gray, one of the most credentialed wrestlers in the women’s field at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, started things off with a bang for Team USA in the first wrestling match of the Games at Makuhari Messe Event Hall in Japan.
Gray made quick work of her 18-year-old opponent Zaineb Sghaier of Tunisia, who was a 2020 African Championships gold medalist. Gray used two takedown to gut wrench sequences to build an early 8-0 lead before securing the fall with 3:49 left in the match.
In her second match of the night, the two-time Olympian Gray built a 6-0 lead over Turkey’s Yasemin Adar, a 2017 World champion and four-time European champion. Adar battled back, securing a takedown and turn late in the match to cut the deficit to 6-4. However, Gray fended a lace attempt in the final 10 seconds near the edge to preserve the win and advance to the semifinals later today.
Gray will face two-time Asian Championships silver medalist Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan) in the semifinals. Kyzy recorded a 12-0 technical fall over 2012 Olympic champion Natalia Vorobieva (ROC) in her quarterfinal at 76 kg to advance.
On the Men’s Greco side of things, Team USA’s Ildar Hafizov fell to Cuba’s Luis Orta Sanchez 5-0 in his opening match of Tokyo 2020. Orta Sanchez scored a passive point and a takedown in the first. In the second frame, Orta Sanchez extended his lead via a 2-pt technical violation on Ildar in the second to win it.
However, Orta Sanchez went on to take out the No. 2 Sergey Emelin at 60 kg Greco in a big upset, keeping Hafizov’s hope for repechage alive.
The semifinals are set for 6:15 p.m. local time in Japan, which is 13 hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time (which is 5:15 a.m.)
Here is the official USA Wrestling release.