The third day of the World Wrestling Championships in Serbia was suddenly interrupted by minor chants from Russian fans. Everyone was waiting for a new victory for the captain of the national team, two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulayev. The athlete consistently won three matches in the weight category up to 97 kilograms, but the semifinal match was unexpectedly stopped and his opponent’s hand was raised.
Fans of the extraordinary talent of the athlete, who was respectfully called the Russian Tank abroad, were in helpless bewilderment – what happened?
The reasons for the dramatic final were explained to RIA Novosti by the head coach of the Dagestan freestyle wrestling team, Gadzhi Rashidov.
After the first meetings, someone from the audience noted with dissatisfaction that Sadulaev was not very similar to him and fought too carefully. And most of them didn’t realize that his every move echoed with brutal pain. Only the athletes and coaches close to him could see what he experienced and endured every second. And what is the price for what has been done beyond the reach of many?
In the first matches, Sadulaev defeated Nicholas de Lange from South Africa (with a score of 7:0) and former Russian Vladislav Baytsaev, who plays for the Hungarian team (4:2). In the quarter-finals, perhaps the most important match of the tournament, Abdulrashid snatched victory from the tough Iranian Mojtab Golej. The Russian was two points behind with ten seconds left in the game but, after some terrible pain, found an unknown force for the decisive shot. Victory in autumn.
Let’s trust our doctors: they did everything possible. But doctors are not omnipotent. If the captain of the Russian national team had decided to withdraw from the tournament earlier, it is unlikely that anyone would blame him. But Abdulrashid understood that both his own personal pain and the team’s interests were at stake. After all, not only the gold medal of the world championship was at stake, but also the quota for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. And reaching the semi-finals is in many ways a guarantee of the desired license.
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No one knows now whether Abdulrashid will be able to compete for the bronze medal on Tuesday. But you can clearly be sure that Sadulayev did much more than an ordinary person could do in Serbia. And he proved his greatness once again.
There is only one way to gold – Dagestan
In the semi-finals, Sadulaev faced none other than the athlete who trained at the school bearing his name, Akhmed Tazhudinov, who recently played for the Bahrain national team. But before that the young Dagestani knocked out three-time world champion and Olympic champion American Kyle Snyder from the fight. The same Snyder whose next fight with the Russians was expected by many fans.
The American broke his impressive winning streak by beating Sadulaev at the 2017 World Championships. But then the Russian more than responded to his opponent and defeated him in similar tournaments in 2018 and 2021, breaking the resistance in the final of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Apparently, now fate itself is on the side of Tazhudinov’s “coronation”, because the highest place on the podium is vacant.
However, it will be very difficult for him to do this – another graduate of the famous Dagestan freestyle wrestling school is waiting for him in the final. Magomedkhan Magomedov currently represents Azerbaijan. The Dagestan Open Championship is not the World Championship – there is no other way to say it.
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On Monday, the Russians competed in two finals: Tokyo Olympic champion Zaurbek Sidakov (up to 74 kg) and Akhmed Usmanov (up to 79), who tried his luck at the World Championships for the first time.
The first to step onto the carpet was 27-year-old Usmanov. On the way to the decisive fight, the Dagestani defeated opponents from North Macedonia, India (the country’s athletes in Belgrade compete under the banner of the United Wrestling World – UWW), Iran and Azerbaijan. In the decisive match, the Khasavyurt player defeated Vladimir Gamkrelidze from Georgia 4:1.
Makhmud Magomedov, the athlete’s personal trainer, told the agency: “It was our common dream to show everything we worked on at the World Championships and win. Ahmed really wants to prove that he is number one in the world. He is the first in this weight, “and he did that today. Then he moved to the Olympic weight category up to 86 kilos and became the best again. At the Paris Olympics.”
Sidakov’s third gold
North Ossetian wrestler Sidakov had previously won the world championship twice. But every victory in Belgrade was given to him with great difficulty; Competitors from Georgia (7:6), Uzbekistan (3:0), Iran (6:0), Serbia (6:4) and Azerbaijan (5:1) were defeated. But the opponent in the final was very valuable: four-time world champion and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Kyle Dake.
Sidakov has repeatedly proven to everyone that he knows how to get out of the most seemingly hopeless situations. Moreover, he sometimes achieves victories “on the flag” at the end of fights. According to Mamiashvili, despite the fact that in one episode four honestly earned points were taken away from the wrestler after the protest of the US team, Zaurbek did not break down, exploded and grabbed the victory with a score of 10:7. .
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