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US Greco-Roman team qualifies 4 weight classes for Olympics

Joe Rau won a gold medal at 87 kilograms (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

OTTAWA, Canada -- On Friday, the United States qualified four of the six Olympic Greco-Roman weight classes for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Ildar Hafizov (60 kilograms), Alejandro Sancho (67 kilograms), Joe Rau (87 kilograms) and G'Angelo Hancock (97 kilograms) all finished in the top two in their respective weight classes at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Ottawa, Canada, to qualify their weight classes for the United States at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Rau was the lone gold medalist of the group, while Hafizov, Sancho and Hancock finished with silver medals.

Pat Smith (77 kilograms) and Adam Coon (130 kilograms) rebounded from losses to win bronze medals.

Rau won his gold medal in anticlimactic fashion, earning a forfeit in the finals at 87 kilograms against Cuba's Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria. He opened his tournament by edging Venezuela's Luis Eduardo Avendano Rojas on criteria (4-4) before defeating Jamaica's Lesyan Osvaldo Cousin Otomuro in the semifinals, 9-1.

Hafizov was blanked 7-0 in the finals at 60 kilograms by Cuba's Luis Alberto Orta Sanchez, a two-time Pan American Championships gold medalist. He opened his day by edging Andres Roberto Montano Arroyo of Ecquador, 4-3. Hafizov then cruised to wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals over Brazil's Marat Garipov, 9-0, and Mexico's Samuel Gurria Vigueras, 7-2, respectively.

Sancho, like Hafizov, struggled to find any offense in his gold-medal match, losing 7-0 to Julian Stiven Horta Acevedo of Colombia at 67 kilograms. He reached the finals by outscoring his first two opponents 15-2 before losing to the Colombian.

Hancock, a three-time senior world team member and past junior world medalist, won his first four matches without surrendering a point to advance to the finals at 97 kilograms. In the finals, Hancock was defeated by Cuba's Gabriel Alejandro Rosillo Kindelan, 11-8.

Smith captured a bronze medal at 77 kilograms with a 3-2 win over Jair Alexis Cuero Munoz of Columbia. Coon took a bronze at 130 kilograms by defeating Leo Dalis Santana Heredia of the Dominican Republic. The 25-year-old Coon, a past world silver medalist, raced out to a big lead before Santana suffered a rib injury and was forced to default.

The U.S. Greco-Roman team will have one more opportunity to qualify 77 kilograms and 130 kilograms for the 2020 Olympic Games. That opportunity will come at the Last Chance Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, which was recently postponed and will be rescheduled.

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