| Event type

Welterweight, Freestyle (≤66 kilograms), Men

Date12 August 2012
LocationExCeL, Newham, London (North Arena 2)
Participants17 from 17 countries
FormatSingle elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.

Mehdi Taghavi of Iran was the reigning World and Asian Champion in men’s welterweight freestyle wrestling, titles he had also won in 2009, and was considered the favorite to win the Olympic crown at the 2012 Games. The defending Olympic champion was Ramazan Şahin of Turkey, who had been World Champion in 2007 and European Champion in 2008, but had little to show on the international stage since his victory in Beijing. This left the final open for challengers such as Sushil Kumar, a bronze medalist from the 2008 Games and India’s first World Champion wrestler, having won the title in 2010 along with the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Championships. There was also a threat from Russia’s Alan Gogayev, reigning European Champion and runner-up at the 2010 World Championships.

Taghavi and Gogayev were both drawn in the same bracket, but shockingly lost their first rounds to Liván López of Cuba and Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan respectively. Both were unheralded wrestlers who were not expected to contend for a medal (although López had bronze from the 2011 World Championships) paving the way for Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu of Japan, 2010 Asian Games Champion and runner up at the most recent World Championships and the 2009 Asian Championships, to battle for gold. López and Yusupov’s eventual elimination meant that neither Taghavi nor Gogayev would compete for a medal. In the top half, Kumar defeated Şahin in his opening round and went on to win the bracket and challenge Yonemitsu. The first period of the final was somewhat tame, with the Japanese wrestler scoring the lone point to win. In the second round, Yonemitsu was able to lift the Indian and toss him on his back, scoring three points. Although Kumar was able to score one point, the period, and the gold medal, went to Japan. Neither wrestler went home without a place in the history books, however, as Yonemitsu was Japan’s first male wrestling gold medalist since in 1988 and Kumar was the first Indian wrestler to reach an Olympic final.

In the first bronze medal match, Şahin met Akzhurek Tanatarov of Kazakhstan, who had never reached the podium at a major international event. Şahin was the favorite in the match and lived up to expectations by outscoring Tanatarov 4-1 in the opening period. Tanatarov came back in the second round, however, when, with the score tied 1-1 in the final 10 seconds, scored a winning point with a takedown that gave him a 3-1 victory following an unsuccessful challenge from the Turkish coaches. The first half of the final period was intense, with the Kazakh outscoring the Turk 4-2, sufficient in the end to win him the round and the bronze medal. For the final podium spot, López battled Cəbrayıl Həsənov of Azerbaijan, European Champion in 2010 and 2011, runner-up in 2009, and bronze medalist at the last two World Championships. Həsənov won the first round with three points in the final 15 seconds, but López came back strong in the final two periods scoring two unanswered points for his first victory and pinning his opponent in the final 15 seconds of the match for the bronze.

1Tatsuhiro YonemitsuJPNGold
2Sushil KumarINDSilver
=3Akzhurek TanatarovKAZBronze
=3Liván LópezCUBBronze
=5Cəbrayıl HəsənovAZE
=5Ramazan ŞahinTUR
7Haislan GarciaCAN
8Davit SafaryanARM
9Ikhtiyor NavruzovUZB
10Ali ShabanauBLR
11Zelimkhon YusufovTJK
12Otar TushishviliGEO
13Andriy KviatkovskiyUKR
=14Mehdi TaghaviIRI
=14Leonid BazanBUL
16Alan GogayevRUS
17Jared FrayerUSA
DNSAbdou OmarEGY
DNSHaitem Ben AlayechTUN

Round One (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to round two. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.

Match #1 Davit SafaryanARM Bye
Match #2 Abdou OmarEGY Bye
Match #3 Akzhurek TanatarovKAZ Bye
Match #4 Andriy KviatkovskiyUKR Bye
Match #5 Ikhtiyor NavruzovUZB Bye
Match #6 Otar TushishviliGEO Bye
Match #7 Sushil KumarIND Bye
Match #8 Ramazan ŞahinTUR Bye
Match #9 Ali ShabanauBLR Bye
Match #10 Jared FrayerUSA Bye
Match #11 Cəbrayıl HəsənovAZE Bye
Match #12 Leonid BazanBUL Bye
Match #13 Tatsuhiro YonemitsuJPN Bye
Match #14 Liván LópezCUB Mehdi TaghaviIRI Decision (6 - 1)
Match #15 Haislan GarciaCAN Haitem Ben AlayechTUN Walkover
Match #16 Zelimkhon YusufovTJK Alan GogayevRUS Decision by shutout (2 - 0)

Round Two (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to quarter-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.

Match #1 Davit SafaryanARM Abdou OmarEGY Walkover
Match #2 Akzhurek TanatarovKAZ Andriy KviatkovskiyUKR Decision (2 - 1)
Match #3 Ikhtiyor NavruzovUZB Otar TushishviliGEO Decision (5 - 2)
Match #4 Sushil KumarIND Ramazan ŞahinTUR Decision (2 - 2)
Match #5 Ali ShabanauBLR Jared FrayerUSA Decision by shutout (4 - 0)
Match #6 Cəbrayıl HəsənovAZE Leonid BazanBUL Decision (6 - 1)
Match #7 Tatsuhiro YonemitsuJPN Liván LópezCUB Decision (2 - 1)
Match #8 Haislan GarciaCAN Zelimkhon YusufovTJK Decision (4 - 2)

Quarter-Finals (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round two.

Match #1 Akzhurek TanatarovKAZ Davit SafaryanARM Decision (6 - 8)
Match #2 Sushil KumarIND Ikhtiyor NavruzovUZB Decision (6 - 3)
Match #3 Cəbrayıl HəsənovAZE Ali ShabanauBLR Decision (5 - 3)
Match #4 Tatsuhiro YonemitsuJPN Haislan GarciaCAN Decision (6 - 1)

Semi-Finals (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to final. Losers advanced to repêchage final.

Match #1 Sushil KumarIND Akzhurek TanatarovKAZ Decision (9 - 6)
Match #2 Tatsuhiro YonemitsuJPN Cəbrayıl HəsənovAZE Decision by shutout (3 - 0)

Repêchage Round One (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to repêchage round two.

Match #1 Ramazan ŞahinTUR Bye
Match #2 Liván LópezCUB Bye

Repêchage Round Two (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to repêchage final.

Match #1 Ramazan ŞahinTUR Ikhtiyor NavruzovUZB Decision (6 - 1)
Match #2 Liván LópezCUB Haislan GarciaCAN Decision (2 - 1)

Repêchage Final (12 August 2012)

Match #1 Akzhurek TanatarovKAZ Ramazan ŞahinTUR Decision (8 - 7)
Match #2 Liván LópezCUB Cəbrayıl HəsənovAZE Fall (5:53)

Final Round (12 August 2012)

Match 1/2 Tatsuhiro YonemitsuJPN Sushil KumarIND Decision (4 - 1)