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Wrestling at the 2012 London Summer Games:

Men's Light-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): ExCeL, Newham, London
Date Started: August 6, 2012
Date Finished: August 6, 2012
Format: Single elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.

Gold: RUS Alan Khugayev
Silver: EGY Karam Gaber
Bronze: POL Damian Janikowski
KAZ Daniyal Gadzhiyev


The favorites going into the men’s light-heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestling tournament were [Hristo Marinov] of Bulgaria, the 2010 World Champion, and [Damian Janikowski] of Poland, the 2011 World Championship silver medalist. [Alim Selimov] of Belarus was the reigning World Champion, a title he had held in 2005 as well, but was inconsistent on the world stage and not considered too dangerous in London. The tournament also had its share of Olympic veterans vying for the crown, including Egypt’s [Karam Gaber], the 2004 Olympic champion in the heavyweight division, and Turkey’s [Nazmi Avluca], who had made appearances at the 1996, 2000, and 2008 editions of the Games, the latter of which netted him a bronze medal. Nonetheless, it was expected that Marinov and Janikowski would be the most serious challengers for the crown.

In the end it was not to be – Marinov, Selimau, and Avluca were all eliminated in their first bout, Avluca by Janikowski and Selimau by eventual finalist [Alan Khugayev] of Russia, runner-up at the most recent European Championships. Janikowski survived to the semi-finals, where he was defeated by Gaber, who went on to face Khugayev in the finals. Both rounds of the gold medal match went to par terre, with Khugayev emerging victorious after a successful defense, and then gut-wrench, of his Egyptian opponent.

In the first bronze medal match, [Daniyal Gadzhiyev] of Kazakhstan, a rookie wrestler who had managed to defeat Marinov in his first bout and Selimau in the repêchage, and [Vladimer Gegeshidze] of Georgia, an unusually tall competitor for his weight class who had not seen the podium in his two World Championships. They were evenly matched in their first two rounds, each successfully defending in the par terre, while, with points and cautions tied 90 seconds into the third round, Gadzhiyev drew the top and Gegeshidze the bottom in the final par terre. During the round, it seemed at first that the Georgian had won, scoring two points by converting his defense. The Kazakhs protested and, in a controversial decision, the referee’s call was overturned and Gadzhiyev was awarded the point and, consequently, the bronze medal. Gegeshidze, seemingly a fair sport at first, refused to shake hands with his opponent and attempted to exit the arena the wrong way, before kicking at the barricades and storming off. The second bronze medal match, between Janikowski and [Mélonin Noumonvi], a three-time Olympian and runner-up at the 2009 World Championships, was far less dramatic, with Janikowski successfully defending in the first par terre and throwing his opponent out of the ring in the second to clinch the bronze.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Alan Khugayev 23 Russia RUS Gold
2 Karam Gaber 32 Egypt EGY Silver
3T Daniyal Gadzhiyev 26 Kazakhstan KAZ Bronze
3T Damian Janikowski 23 Poland POL Bronze
5T Mélonin Noumonvi 29 France FRA
5T Vladimer Gegeshidze 27 Georgia GEO
7 Pablo Shorey 28 Cuba CUB
8 Vasyl Rachyba 30 Ukraine UKR
9 Chas Betts 26 United States USA
10 Amer Hrustanovic 24 Austria AUT
11 Saman Tahmasebi 26 Azerbaijan AZE
12 Alim Selimov 29 Belarus BLR
13 Habibollah Akhlaghi 26 Iran IRI
14 Nenad Žugaj 29 Croatia CRO
15T Rami Hietaniemi 29 Finland FIN
15T Haykel Achouri 27 Tunisia TUN
15T Nazmi Avluca 35 Turkey TUR
18T Hristo Marinov 25 Bulgaria BUL
18T Lee Se-Yeol 21 South Korea KOR
20 Keitani Graham 32 Federated States of Micronesia FSM