ASTANA – Kazakh athletes won three medals at the World Wrestling Championships Aug. 21-27 in Paris, taking two silvers in Greco-Roman wrestling and a bronze in freestyle.
Demeu Zhadyrayev (71 kg) won his silver medal on the first day of the tournament, losing 8-3 to Frank Staebler of Germany in the final match. Zhadyrayev previously secured victories against fellow athletes from Norway, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan and former world champion Balint Korpaszi in the semis.
Another hero for the Kazakh team was world championships’ first timer Meirambek Ainagulov (59 kg). On his road to the finals in the sport’s lightest weight category, he overcame opposition from more experienced wrestlers from Egypt, India, Ukraine and South Korea. In the gold medal match, he lost 2-1 to Japan’s Kenitiro Humita.
Two silver medals are the great achievement Kazakh wrestling fans have been anticipating, as it has been nearly 20 years since two of the nation’s wrestlers made it to the finals. Bakhtiyar Bayseitov and Mkhitar Manukyan claimed gold in 1998. A year later, Manukyan defended his title by defeating fellow countryman and 1996 Olympic champion Yuriy Melnichenko, who took the silver.
In freestyle wrestling, Akzhurek Tanatarov (70 kg) won a bronze medal on the final day of the tournament. In the quarterfinals, the Kazakh wrestler lost to Franco Chamizo Marquez, a Cuban naturalised Italian. Thanks to the fact that his opponent reached the finals, Tanatarov got a chance to compete for the bronze medal. In the first bout, he secured a win over Ikhtior Navruzov from Uzbekistan. In the third-place fight’s dying seconds, Tanatarov snatched victory from world and European championships winner Yakup Gor of Turkey.
In his congratulatory message, Kazakh Olympic Committee national wresting team president Timur Kulibayev hailed the athletes’ success.
“On behalf of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan and on my own behalf, I congratulate you on the excellent results at the World Wrestling Championships in Paris… Thanks to your perseverance, determination and skills you won medals for our team, pleasing all fans of our national team,” he noted.