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Gray Advances to Semifinals in Session One at the 2020 Olympics

Adeline Gray in the opening round of the 2020 Olympics (Photo courtesy of Larry Slater; LBSphoto.smugmug.com)

The wrestling portion of the 2020 Olympic Games got underway today and two American's were in action, Ildar Hafizov (60 kg Greco-Roman) and Adeline Gray (76 kg Women's Freestyle).

The top-seeded Gray was in the very first bout of the entire competition. She did not disappoint and made quick work of her opponent, Zaineb Sghaier of Tunisia. After starting the match with a deliberate pace, Gray gained a first-period takedown and quickly turned it into an 8-0 lead. From there, Gray kept the pressure on and pinned Sghaier, all in the initial stanza.

The first-round win for Gray set the stage for a quarterfinal matchup with 2017 world champion Yasmine Adar of Turkey. Gray was the aggressor early and built up after a leg attack into a body lock. That position allowed her to gain an early lead, one she would never relinquish. Gray added another takedown and then extended her lead to 6-0. The Turk did not concede and picked up a score of her own after a scramble. During the flurry, Adar also grabbed a leg lace and added to her lead with a set of exposure points. The situation was blown dead with 11 seconds left in the bout. Gray was able to hold off a hard-charging Adar for a 6-4 win and a berth in the semifinals.

In the semi's, Gray will meet Kyrgyzstan's Aiperi Medet Kyzy. Medet Kyzy has already had an impressive tournament with wins over 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Elmira Sydzykova (Kazakhstan) and two-time Olympic finalist Natalia Vorobieva (ROC).

Sydzykova and Vorobieva were not the only 2016 Olympic medalists to fall in the first session. Gold medalist Erica Wiebe (Canada) was shut down by Epp Mae (Estonia), 5-4 in the opening round. Since Mae fell in the quarters to Hiroe Minagawa (Japan), Wiebe has been eliminated from medal contention.

Hafizov was paired with fellow Pan-American star Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba) in the first round. He could never solve the defense of Orta Sanchez and ended up on the wrong side of a 5-0 decision. Hafizov still can wrestle for a bronze medal, as Orta Sanchez pulled an upset and advanced to the semis after knocking off the second seed, 2018 world champion Sergey Emelin (ROC).

Though there was no American at 130 kg in the Greco tournament, there are plenty of fireworks on the horizon for the semifinals. Two legendary competitors, Riza Kayaalp (Turkey) and Mijain Lopez (Cuba), are set to square off. The pair have combined to win 12 World/Olympic titles and Lopez is seeking his fourth Olympic gold medal.


American Results

60 kg Greco-Roman

Round One - Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba) over Ildar Hafizov (USA) 5-0

76 kg Women's Freestyle

Round One - Adeline Gray (USA) over Zaineb Sghaier (Tunisia) Fall

Quarterfinals - Adeline Gray (USA) over Yasmin Adar (Turkey) 6-4


Olympic Semifinal Matchups

60 kg Greco-Roman

Kenichiro Fumita (Japan) vs. Lenur Temirov (Ukraine)

Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba) vs. Victor Ciobanu (Moldova)


130 kg Greco-Roman

Riza Kayaap (Turkey) vs. Mijain Lopez (Cuba)

Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (Chile) vs. Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia)


76 kg Women's Freestyle

Adeline Gray (USA) vs. Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan)

Hiroe Minagawa (Japan) vs. Aline Rotter Focken (Germany)

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