World Olympic Qualifier Freestyle Paris 2024 Qualification Bouts

By Ken Marantz & Vinay Siwach

ISTANBUL, Turkiye (May 11) -- Freestyle takes the stage at the World Olympic Qualifier in Istanbul. After the 18 quotas of Greco-Roman and 12 of Women's Wrestling were decided, 12 Freestyle Paris 2024 spots will be handed out on Saturday and 6 more on Sunday.


The Paris 2024 Qualification bouts will begin at 2000 hours local time in Istanbul

18:24: Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) caps the 8 1/2-hour session with a 3-0victory over  JAIDEEP (IND) at 74kg. The three-time world medalist scores a takedown in the first period and gets an activity point in the second to move one win away from his first trip to the Olympics.

18:18: For once, it was Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) coming up on the short end of a dramatic, down-to-the-wire match. Chermen VALIEV (ALB) pulled off a stunning 5-5 win on criteria at 74kg over the Italian star, who had posted nail-biting wins in his previous two matches. With Chamizo leading 3-2 in the second period, Valiev scores a stepout off a scramble, but Chamizo goes back ahead 5-3 with a stepout and fleeing point. But with time running out, Valiev lunges for an ankle and latches on, which Chamizo responds to by heading out of Dodge. That gives Valiev a stepout and fleeing point to go up 5-5 on last point. In the final seconds, Chamizo forces Valiev to the edge, but the Albanian slips out of danger to clinch the win.

18:02: Viktor RASSADIN (TJK), aiming to become Tajikstan's first Olympic wrestler since 2012, keeps the pressure on and it pays off with two activity points and a 2-0 victory over Vadym TSURKAN  (UKR) at 74kg. He will face the winner of Frank CHAMIZO  (ITA)-Chermen VALIEV (ALB), which is next up on Mat B.

17:52: The dynamo known as Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL) continues his impressive run at 65kg, shucking and spinning his way to a 9-0 victory over Abdulmazhid KUDIEV (TJK). The Asian silver medalist scores a stepout and a takedown-gut wrench combo for a 5-0 lead in the first period and adds two takedowns in the second. He will face SUJEET (IND) for the ticket to Paris.

17:45: European champion Islam DUDAEV (ALB) saved by the challenge! Kwang Jin KIM (PRK) led 2-0 with Dudaev on his legs. Dudaev tried a takedown but the referees did not score it. However, Albania challenged it and won as Kim had three points touching on the mat with Dudaev in control. Dudaev wins 2-2 and advances at 65kg

17:41: Tokyo Olympian Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), a two-time world bronze medalist at 79kg, scores the go-ahead takedown with 47 seconds left and adds a gut wrench to defeat Zushen LIN (CHN) 6-3 and advance to the qualification match at 86kg.

17:32: In a clash of the two losers of the Paris qualification matches at the Asian Qualifier, Zhiwei DENG (CHN) scores a takedown on a counter of his opponent's attack and holds on for a 3-0 victory over Shamil SHARIPOV (BRN) at 125kg. Deng, a 2019 world bronze medalist, finished fifth in Tokyo in his second Olympic appearance.

17:22: Daniel LIGETI (HUN) moved one win away from earning a third Olympic appearance with a 4-0 victory over Zyyamuhammet SAPAROV (TKM) at 125kg. A second-period takedown with Saparov on the activity clock clinched the win for the 34-year-old Ligeti.

17:12: Chongsong HAN (PRK) advances to tonight's Paris qualification match at 57kg by outclassing Horst LEHR (GER) 16-4. Han's speed and strength ruled the day as he scored a takedown and gut wrench to lead 5-0 in the first period. Han scores a takedown, then pads the lead with four points in a scramble in which Lehr finally gets on the board. A 4-point takedown, in which Lehr scores 2 in the flow, ends the match.

17:05: Spencer LEE (USA) is in the Paris qualification bout at 57kg! He needs just 54 seconds to beat former European champion Vladimir EGOROV (MKD) 12-2 using a mix of lace and gut.

AMAN (IND) follows Lee into the Paris qualification bout after he beats Andri YATSENKO (UKR) 12-2. He will wrestle Chongsong HAN (PRK) for the spot

16:58: Rio 2016 bronze medalist Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) gives the home crowd another win, holding off Mohammad MOTTAGHINIA (ESP) for a 5-2 win at 74kg. Demirtas scores a takedown, a stepout and two activity points, with only a second-period takedown by his opponent marring an otherwise perfect performance.

16:50: Two-time Asian medalist Rakhat KALZHAN (KAZ) deals Iran a serious blow in its hopes of fielding a full freestyle lineup in Paris when he notches a solid 7-2 win over Alireza SARLAK (IRI) at 57kg. Kalzhan gains a lift-and-trip takedown in the first period and a smooth duck under in the second. Sarlak manages a pair of stepouts, but Kalzhan stops a late takedown with a pancake for his final 2.

16:55: Viktor RASSADIN (TJK) led Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA) 5-3 in the last 30 seconds but Khadjiev scored exposure to make it 5-5. But he failed to get another point and dropped his 74kg bout 5-5. France challenged asking for two more points but lost which added one more point to Rassadin's score to make it 6-5. 

16:44: Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) must be relieved after that outcome. With 10 seconds left in his bout against Orozobek TOKTOMAMBETOV (KGZ), Chamizo was down 1-1 on criteria but Toktomambetov, who had been warned for fleeing, was docked a caution and one point for fleeing again with 3 seconds left, giving Chamizo a 2-1 lead. Kyrgyzstan challenges the call but the fleeing call is held. Kyrgyzstan lose the challenge and Chamizo wins 3-1 to advance at 74kg.

16:38: SUJEET (IND), a 2022 world U20 bronze medalist, keeps the pressure on from the get-go and gradually piles up points while shutting his opponent down to score a 10-0 victory over Tokyo Olympian Junsik YUN (KOR) at 65kg. Next up for the Indian is Lachlan MCNEIL (CAN).

16:30: That will be a 7-2 win for Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL). 70 world champion Zain RETHERFORD (USA) was up 2-2 on criteria with the clock down to the final minute but Tumur Ochir hit a single leg and exposure to make the score 6-2. The U.S. challenged the call but lost the challenge.

16:17: Asian Games bronze medalist Kwang Jin KIM (PRK) scores three 4-point moves and defeats two-time world U23 bronze medalist Maxim SACULTAN (MDA) 12-4 to advance at 65kg. Kim will face Islam DUDAEV (ALB) for a place in the Paris qualification match, as the DPR Korea looks to gain an Olympic freestyle spot after being shut out at the Asian Qualifier.

15:42: Veteran Jose DIAZ (VEN), looking to get back to the Olympics after appearing at London 2012 and Rio 2016, pulls a stunner by beating Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Abraham CONYEDO (ITA) 4-1 at 125kg. Diaz is trailing 1-0 in the second period with Conyedo on the activity clock when the 35-year-old pancakes Conyedo to his back for 2, then clinch the win with a stepout.

15:29: Shamil SHARIPOV (BRN), who won a bronze medal at the Asian Championships before losing in the first round of the Asian Olympic Qualifier, advances at 125kg with a 5-2 win over Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR). Khotsianivskyi was on the activity clock in the first period when Sharipov scored a takedown and lace-lock roll to account for his points.

15:27: Two-time Olympian and five-time European medalist Daniel LIGETI (HUN) proves too much for Georgi IVANOV (BUL), finishing up a 12-1 win early in the second period at 125kg. Ligeti scores four takedowns in the first period, then ends the match with a 4-point counter throw as Ivanov drove him to the edge on a tackle attempt.

14:53: Ahmed BATAEV (BUL), a 2022 European silver medalist at 92kg, gets a low takedown with nine seconds left to stun young 2023 Asian champion Arash YOSHIDA (JPN) 4-3 at 97kg. In the first period, Yoshida gets in on a single and lifts it up, but Bataev reaches down and grabs Yoshida's ankle, then drives him back for a takedown. Yoshida avoids making the same mistake in the second period, then adds an activity point for a 3-2 lead. He seems to be on the way to victory Bataev makes a stab at the shoelaces and connects, tripping Yoshida backwards for the winning 2. 

14:53: 2023 Asian champion AMAN (IND) proves too agile and too elusive for Tokyo Olympian Georgi VANGELOV (BUL), as he piles up five takedowns in a 10-6 victory at 57kg. Aman was this year's Zagreb Open champion where Vangelov took a bronze, although they did not face each other.

14:45: 2021 world silver medalist Alireza SARLAK (IRI), looking to fill the only Paris berth in freestyle missing for Iran, advances with a workmanlike 9-3 win over European bronze medalist Roberti DINGASHVILI (GEO) at 57kg. Sarlak gradually builds up a 5-0 lead in the first period with a stepout, activity point, go-behind takedown and stepout. In the second period, he adds two stepouts and a last-second gimme takedown, while giving up a stepout and takedown.

14:31: Spencer LEE (USA) appears almost unconcerned after finding himself in a 6-1 hole early in his 57kg bout with Wanhao ZOU (CHN). Lee just goes to work and, after gaining a stepout, he scores a takedown, then applies a lace lock and rolls three times, and suddenly he's up 10-6. In the second period, Zou scores a stepout and takedown within seconds of each other, but the clock runs out as he tries to turn Lee, who advances with a 10-9 win.  

14:24: Three-time world medalist Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK), who won his fourth straight European title earlier this year, gets off to a good start in his bid for an elusive first Olympics, storming past Arslan AMANMYRADOV (TKM) 11-0 at 74kg.

14:15: Chermen VALIEV (ALB), in his first outing for Albania, rallies to a 10-0 win over Hrayr ALIKHANYAN (ARM) at 74kg. Next up for him is Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO).

14:05: A week after Viktor RASSADIN (TJK) won a silver medal at the Asian Championships,  two-time Asian champion Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ) came up one win short at 74kg at the Asian Olympic Qualifier. Now, Rassadin in on the inside track to Paris after scoring a takedown in each period in a 4-1 victory over the 2019 world silver medalist at 70kg.

14:00: Former U20 world bronze medalist SUJEET (IND) with a takedown during Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB) activity clock to win 3-2 at 65kg. Jalolov was the U20 world champion when Sujeet won the bronze medal.

13:50: Rio 2016 bronze medalist and two-time former world champion Frank CHAMIZO (ITA), coming off a controversial loss at the European Qualifier as he aims to make a third Olympics, pulls off a miracle comeback to defeat 20-year-old Feng LU (CHN) 10-8 at 74kg. Lu opens the match with a takedown and two exposures before Chamizo reverses for a 6-1 lead. In the second period, Chamizo finally catches Lu for a takedown with Lu on the activity clock, then adds an exposure on a counter to make it 6-6, but he still trails on criteria. Chamizo gets a takedown, but Lu counter lifts for 2 to stay ahead 8-8. With the clock ticking down, Chamizo bulls a fatigued Lu down at the edge for a dramatic takedown with :02 on the clock.

13:41: Tokyo Olympian and two-time European silver medalist Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA) pancakes Zagreb Open bronze medalist Murad KURAMAGOMEDOV (HUN) to his back for 4, but he won't need the points as he secures the fall at 74kg.

13:31: Zain RETHERFORD (USA) breezes into the next round at 65kg, using a hard cross-face for exposure points to finish off an 11-0 win over Ibrahim GUZAN (YEM) in 2:26.

13:29: Asian Games bronze medalist Orozobek TOKTOMAMBETOV (KGZ), who came up one win short at the Asian Qualifier on home soil, caps a second-period rally from three points down by scoring a takedown with 1:10 left to defeat 2021 European silver medalist Ramazan RAMAZANOV (BUL) 5-3 at 74kg.

13:17: Tokyo Olympian Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL), a 2021 world bronze medalist coming off a silver-medal performance at the Asian Championships, opens with a slick 4-point arm throw against Alibeg ALIBEGOV (BRN) at 65kg. He adds two takedowns in the second period, getting an exposure after the second to finish a 10-0 victory with 5 seconds to spare.

13:07: Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO), a 2023 world bronze medalist at 79kg, notches three takedowns in the first period en route to a 9-1 victory over 2019 world bronze medalist and Tokyo Olympian Stefan REICHMUTH (SUI) at 86kg.

13:01: Tokyo fifth placer and Asian Games silver medalist Deepak PUNIA (IND) goes down to Zushen LIN (CHN) at 86kg. He led 3-0 at the break but Lin got on a single-leg before scoring a takedown. He added a gut-wrench to lead 4-3. Punia added a stepout but Lin held 4-4 criteria before he added a late takedown to win 6-4

12:50: Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) , a world bronze medalist the last two years at 79kg, opens his campaign at 86kg with a 4-0 victory over Aimar ANDRUSE (EST). Mykhailov's points come off a front headlock roll and a single-leg takedown.

12:40: It was experience over youth as 32-year-old 2023 European bronze medalist Sebastian JEZIERZANSKI (POL) takes the lead, loses it, then comes back to defeat two-time world U20 champion Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) 6-3 at 86kg. Jezierzanski goes ahead 2-1 in the second period with an activity point and a stepout, but Magamadov replies with a double-leg takedown with :58 left. But Jezierzanski isn't done, grabbing a takedown and transitioning to a gut wrench with 23 seconds on the clock.

12:17: Two-time reigning European champion Dauren KURUGLIEV (GRE) gets a takedown shortly after receiving an activity point with just over a minute left, giving him a 4-0 victory over 2022 world bronze medalist and Tokyo Olympian Boris MAKOEV (SVK) at 86kg.

11:45: Ahmet DUMAN (TUR), the 2022 world U23 silver medalist at 57kg, gets the home crowd revved up with an 11-0 victory over Besir ALILI (MKD) at 65kg.

11:43: Zain RETHERFORD (USA), a two-time world champion at 70kg who had to go through the grueling USA trials just to get to Istanbul, started what he hopes will be a long day at 65kg with a victory by fall over Stefan COMAN (ROU). Retherford, leading 3-2 in the second period, secures the fall after the second of two takedowns. With 37 entries at 65kg, Retherford will have to win five matches to clinch the Olympic spot today.

11:28: An early setback for an Indian team that was shut out in freestyle at both the World Championships and Asian Qualifier. Aaron JOHNSON (JAM) scores a stepout with five seconds left to defeat SUMIT (IND) 2-2 on criteria at 125kg. Jamaica has never had an Olympian in wrestling.

11:18: Georgi VANGELOV (BUL) must be very relieved after that 7-7 victory over Sunggwon KIM (KOR) at 57kg. He led 3-0 at the break when Kim called for a medical timeout for concussion. He returned to score his first point but another timeout later, he hit a duck under for takedown and gut wrench to make it 5-3 in the last minute. However, Vangelov scored a takedown and turn to take a 7-5 lead. Kim got on Vangelov's leg to score a takedown but managed only a stepout and one point for fleeing but Vangelov still held the criteria.

11:06: Arash YOSHIDA (JPN), the 20-year-old rising hope in the upper weights for Japan, scores three takedowns in the first period before finishing up an 11-1 win in the second over Nishan RANDHAWA (CAN) at 97kg. Yoshida, whose father is Iranian and runs the wrestling club in Japan where he started the sport, won the Asian gold and finished fifth at the World Championships last year at 92kg.

10:51: Veteran Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB) uses a lace lock to build up a 9-0 lead in the first period against Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA), then finishes him off with a takedown with just over a minute left to advance 11-0 at 97kg.

10:51: Two-time European bronze medalist Horst LEHR (GER), leading 5-0 in the second period, hits a slick 4-point arm throw, then adds a gut wrench for an 11-0 victory over Ilman MUKHTAROV (FRA) at 57kg.

10:46: Spencer LEE (USA), the one-time wunderkind of U.S. wrestling who world junior titles in 2015 and 2016 but was sidetracked by injuries and college commitments, wastes no time in getting his quest for a first trip to the Olympics started at 57kg. He gets a quick takedown against Ben TARIK (MAR), applies a lace lock and, with four rapid rolls, he's a 10-0 winner in 23 seconds. 

10:00: The six Freestyle weight classes will be in action today for the 12 Paris spots and also the women's wrestling playoff later in the evening.


Valiev gets 74kg Paris 2024 spot; USA completes Olympic line-up

By United World Wrestling Press

ISTANBUL, Turkiye (May 12) -- A day after he was dealt with a heartbreaking loss, Cherman VALIEV (ALB) pulled off a stunning last-second win over Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

At the World Olympic Qualifier, the last chance to qualify for the Paris Olympics, Valiev lost to Viktor RASSADIN (TJK) in the 74kg semifinal on Saturday after he was docked for a singlet-pull. But 24 hours later, Valiev turned it around. Trailing 2-1 in the Olympic playoff between the two bronze medal winners, Valiev got a par terre position over Demirtas and turned him for two points with just a second left.

Demirtas challenged, asking for a block and two points as he stopped Valiev mid-turn, but blocking was not confirmed on review, giving Valiev another point for a lost challenge and a 4-2 win.

Apart from Valiev's dramatic win to earn Albania's third Freestyle quota for Paris, 70kg world champion Zain RETHERFORD (USA) won the 65kg spot for the United States to complete the line-up for Paris with all six spots. Spencer LEE (USA) won the 57kg spot on Saturday.

China earned two spots for Paris while Georgia and Hungary won a spot each. China won the spots at 57kg and 97kg, Georgia 86kg and Hungary will be represented in 125kg.

Retherford, who lost to Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL) at 65kg, wrestled four bouts on Sunday with his bronze-medal bout against SUJEET (IND) being the closest. Sujeet scored a counter takedown in the first period and tried holding on to that lead in the second. But as he was pushing Retherford towards the zone, the American circled back and took Sujeet down and take a 2-2 lead which he held till the end.

In the Olympic playoff, Retherford got the better of Niurgun SKRIABIN (AIN), 7-0, and earned a sixth Paris 2024 spot for the U.S. Since Retherford won the trials before coming to Istanbul, he will be now going to Paris.

Wanhao ZOU (CHN) and Awusayiman HABILA (CHN) earned the two quotas for China. Zou was up against  Andrii YATSENKO (UKR) and had little trouble beating Yatsenko in the playoff.

Habila wrestled 38-year-old Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB) in the playoff at 125kg and came out on top 2-1. Ibragimov got a 1-0 lead after Habila was out on the activity clock but he failed to score. Ibragimov was put on the clock in the second period but he also failed to score giving Habila a 1-1 criteria lead. Ibragimov made a few attempts in the final seconds but failed to get any points.

Ibragimov challenged asking for fleeing but it was not confirmed on review. The Rio bronze medalist later left his shoes on the mat, symbolizing his retirement from the sport.

Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO), who lost after giving up a late takedown, left nothing to luck on Sunday and defeated Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), 8-2, giving Georgia its fourth qualification in Freestyle.

Hungary got its second Paris 2024 spot after Daniel LIGETI (HUN) pinned Jose DIAZ (VEN) in the playoff after building a 5-0 lead.

Paris 2024 Qualification Results

Wanhao ZOU (CHN) df. Andrii YATSENKO (UKR), 5-1

Zain RETHERFORD (USA) df. Niurgun SKRIABIN (AIN), 7-0

Chermen VALIEV (ALB) df. Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR), 4-2

Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO) df. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), 8-2

Awusayiman HABILA (CHN) df. Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB), 2-1

Daniel LIGETI (HUN) df. Jose DIAZ (VEN), via fall...