On the second medal day of the World Wrestling Championships, our team’s treasure was replenished with the first gold medal. Akhmed Usmanov in the final of the category up to 79 kilograms turned out to be stronger than the Georgian athlete Vladimir Gamkrelidze and climbed to the top step of the podium.
The joy over Usmanov’s victory was not overshadowed by the absolutely stupid incident at the award ceremony, when an absolutely white flag was raised in honor of the new world champion. In the end, this will remain on the conscience of the organizers, but the gold will still go to Russia.
But appetite, as you know, comes with food. Therefore, Russian wrestling fans were looking forward to the final match in the category up to 74 kilograms. In the decisive battle, the two strongest athletes of this weight faced each other: the Tokyo Olympic champion and two-time world champion Zaurbek Sidakov and the American Kyle Dake, who was defending the title won a year ago.
In 2021, Sidakov and Dake stood on the Olympic podium together. The Russian wrestler is at the highest level and the American reached bronze in the consolation tournament. From that moment on, their paths separated to cross again on the carpet of Belgrade.
Zaurbek Sidakov was admitted at the last moment for this World Championship. The United World of Wrestling (UWW) considered his application for a long time and the possibility of Chermen Valiev competing in this weight category in our country was not excluded. Perhaps the claims against Sidakov arose due to the status of the 2018 world champion among military personnel. But in the end the path to the world championship was open for Zaurbek.
The road to the final was not easy for Sidakov. Already in qualifying, the Georgian Avtandil Kentchadze forced him to fight seriously. Zaurbek won this match with a margin of only one point. But the Russian fighter continued to advance step by step towards the goal. And the semi-final victory over Azerbaijani Turan Bayramov meant two things. First of all, our athletes have another guaranteed Olympic license. And secondly, before becoming a three-time world champion, Sidakov had only one fight left to win, albeit the most difficult one.
Sidakov came to the final match with a bandage on his head, but at the same time with absolute determination to preserve the victory. The fight began with a cautious reconnaissance, which resulted in a warning to the American for passivity. After that, Dake had exactly thirty seconds to take effective action. Kyle made it quicker, pushing the Russian wrestler off the mat. So Sidakov started the three-minute second period trailing by one point. But Zaurbek had the support of the fans. Serbian wrestling fans chanted “Sidakov, Sidakov,” worrying about him no less than they had worried about his compatriot.
International Wrestling Federation
The end of this final was a real highlight of the entire tournament. Zaurbek took the lead, Kyle caught up with him, but the Russian fighter, thanks to two techniques, took the lead again. The American team actively tried to challenge every action taken by the Russian fighter. The judges were moderately supportive of the nuisance caused by the American representatives. But Saurbek’s advantage was too obvious to allow Dake to openly concede victory. In the end the numbers on the scoreboard were 8:7 in favor of Sidakov. The Americans took the last straw and took up the challenge again. But this only served to nullify the points that our athlete could have received in the last attack. 8:7 – Zaurbek Sidakov is a three-time world champion. And for our team it was already the second gold on the Belgrade carpet.
A white flag was raised to mark the victory of the Russian wrestler at the World Championship. Idiot joke, winners don’t give up!