CHIBA, Japan, Aug 5 (Reuters) – U.S. wrestler Gable Steveson booked his spot in the men’s super heavyweight freestyle gold medal bout without taking a single point in his three bouts on Thursday.
Steveson defeated former Asian champions Aiaal Lazarev from Kyrgyzstan with a 10-0 victory through technical superiority after five takedowns, before stunned the gold medalist from Rio Games, Taha Akgul from Turkey, 8-0 in the quarter-finals.
The semifinals against Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur proved to be more difficult, but 21-year-old Steveson managed to get a single-leg takedown early and win 5-0 in the last 10 seconds with another takedown.
“With little to no senior international experience, it’s crazy that a kitten like me can come here and shock the world so quickly that everyone can see that a 21-year-old college student might go gold tomorrow,” said Gable.
“It’s great for me, my family at home … I’ll do my job and try to be victorious.”
Steveson meets Georgia’s three-time world champion Geno Petriashvili, whose experience has returned to 6-3 victory in the 3-0 deficit against 20-year-old Iranian Amir Hossein Zare and guarantees an improvement in his 2016 bronze medal.
The Belarusian Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau switched to the gold medal in freestyle welterweight after a rocking game with Italy’s two-time world champion and Rio bronze medalist Frank Chamizo and won 9-7.
Kadzimahamedau, who beat American Kyle Dake 11-0 in the quarter-finals, led 2-1 at the break before scooping up a number of points to win despite Chamizo attempting to counter and attack.
“My mind is in shock, it’s stuck. I really can’t believe what is happening right now,” said Chamizo.
“I lost my chance, but I will continue. I will not give up and now I concentrate on my game for the bronze medal.”
The Belarusian meets the Russian Zaurbek Sidakov, who confidently defeated Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Kaisanov and scored almost five points with a “large amplitude throw” and won 11-0 through technical superiority.
Chinese Pang Qianyu reached the bantamweight women’s freestyle final with a takedown against Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya right after dying in a 2-2 draw after scoring with a single higher score.
Kaladzinskaya had shocked the medal favorite and top seed Vinesh Phogat from India in the quarter-finals and almost held it with a 2-0 win until Pang fell seconds before the end.
She will face two-time world champion Mayu Mukaida from Japan, who beat Bat-Ochiryn Bolortuyaa from Mongolia 6: 3.
Mukaida had survived her previous fights, defeating Cameroonian Essombe Tiako 10-0 before defeating former European champion Roksana Zasina from Poland 12-2 in the first period.
Reporting by Ece Toksabay in Chiba, letter from Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Hugh Lawson
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