Wrestling World Cup

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U.S. wins men’s freestyle wrestling world cup for first time in 15 years

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Even without powers Iran and Russia in the field, the U.S.’ first men’s freestyle world cup title in 15 years still meant plenty to Jordan Burroughs.

“I’ve won every single tournament I’ve ever competed in,” the 2012 Olympic and four-time world champion said, “except this one.”

Burroughs moved to 27-0 in his six-year world cup career, then watched as teammate and 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder clinched the team victory over Azerbaijan in Sunday’s final in Iowa City.

“I would always pick myself to go out there and wrestle when it comes down to the team,” said Snyder, the youngest Olympic and world champion in USA Wrestling history. “We have a lot of good guys, but I feel real confident in my ability to wrestle under those type of circumstances.”

The eight-nation annual meet lost some sting with the absence of Russia, Iran and Turkey, which combined to win four of the six Olympic men’s freestyle gold medals in Rio. Iran and Turkey withdrew in the winter.

Then the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of trying to bar Russian wrestlers as the U.S. embassy in Moscow said it was unable to fulfill a late visa request by the Russian Wrestling Federation to travel to Iowa City.

Iran won the men’s freestyle world cup the last six years. Russia was runner-up three of the last five years. The U.S. men’s freestyle team ranked No. 1 at the 2017 Worlds, though.

“I wouldn’t want to come 12 hours to compete against these 10 guys that we have anyway,” Burroughs said. “We’re the best team in the world. People are like, well, Iran, Russia, they’re the best teams. We’re the best team. We’re the reigning world champions. We’re the team champs. If they wanted to win a world cup, they should have prepared and been here to wrestle us. … We flew all the way out to Iran, 15-hour flight, to get there [to the world cup and finish second] last year. They should have been here this year.”

This 10-man U.S. team included not only the Olympic champions Burroughs and Snyder, but also Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox, world champion Logan Stieber and world medalists James GreenThomas Gilman and Nick Gwiazdowski. Burroughs, 29, is the only man in that group older than 25.

“I think we’re the best team the United States has ever made, and we’re only going to get better,” Snyder said. “We’ve got people coming up in the developmental age groups. We have guys who haven’t made teams yet that are really, really good. I think this is the best team the United States has ever had, but I don’t even think it’ll be close to what we’re going to have when it comes to the Olympics and world championships in the future.”

Americans are preparing for the world team trials in June and the world championships in October in Budapest.

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United States 6, Azerbaijan 4
57kg: Giorgi Edisherashvili (Azerbaijan) dec. Thomas Gilman (USA), 8-7
61kg: Kendric Maple (USA) dec. Afghan Khashalov (Azerbaijan), 6-2
65kg: Logan Stieber (USA) dec. Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan), 6-3
70kg: Joshgun Azimov (Azerbaijan) dec. James Green (USA), 4-4
74kg: Jordan Burroughs (USA) pin Gasjimurad Omarov (Azerbaijan), 3:15
79kg: Kyle Dake (USA) dec. Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan), 5-3
86kg: David Taylor (USA) tech. fall Aleksander Gostiev (Azerbaijan), 12-2
92kg: Aslanbek Alborov (Azerbaijan) dec. J’den Cox (USA), 4-4
97kg: Kyle Snyder (USA) tech fall Roman Bakirov (Azerbaijan), 14-3
125kg: Jamaladdin Magomedov (Azerbaijan) dec. Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) 4-3

Russia out of wrestling world cup due to visa issues

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Russia will not compete at next weekend’s men’s freestyle wrestling world cup in Iowa City after the U.S. embassy in Moscow was unable to expedite visa interviews, USA Wrestling said Friday.

Earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of trying to bar Russian wrestlers and claimed the U.S. was unfit to host international sports events.

The Russian Wrestling Federation made a late visa request that could not be filled, according to the embassy via USA Wrestling.

“Due to the staffing reduction forced on the U.S. Mission in Russia by the Russian Federation, there is very limited appointment availability for visa interviews at this time,” the consular section of the embassy said in response to Iowa Senator Charles E. Grassley, according to USA Wrestling. “In the current situation, the embassy is not able to provide expedited appointments for sporting events.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an earlier statement that the alleged visa refusal was “direct and open discrimination,” adding that “it’s clearly impossible to hold international competitions on American territory any more — they don’t play fair.”

Turkey previously backed out of the meet, as did its replacement, Iran. Russia, Iran and Turkey combined to win four of the six Olympic men’s freestyle titles in Rio. Iran won the men’s freestyle world cup the last six years. Russia was runner-up three of the last five years.

India and Mongolia are the new replacements for the annual eight-team event.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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VIDEO: Kyle Snyder ends Ohio State career with third NCAA title

Kyle Snyder perfect, U.S. team 4th at Freestyle Wrestling World Cup

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As many of the world’s top wrestlers convened at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., for the third straight year, reigning World champion Kyle Snyder led a trio of U.S. wrestlers in posting 4-0 records at the Freestyle World Cup over the weekend. The individual performances, however, couldn’t lift the Americans higher than fourth as a team.

Snyder, the 2015 World champion at 97 kg/213 lbs., won on criteria (3-3) over World No. 5 Elizbar Odikadze of Georgia on Sunday evening, after defeating Iran’s Abbas Tahan, 8-1, earlier Sunday in a 2015 Worlds semifinal rematch.

“I feel like all the guys I wrestled did a pretty good job of scouting me,” Snyder said in a press release. “They did some things they wouldn’t have normally done unless somebody told them to. That’s alright. It makes it harder for me and I like that challenge.”

Snyder, who at 19 years old became the youngest World champion in U.S. history last year, opened the World Cup with a 10-0 technical fall victory over Kadian Satywart of India on Saturday. He followed later in the day with a tight, 2-1 win over Azerbaijan’s Aslanbek Alborov. Snyder is a strong gold-medal contender for the Rio Games.

American Frank Molinaro, who will make his Olympic debut in Rio at 65 kg/143 lbs., and 2015 Worlds bronze medalist James Green (non-Olympic 70kg/154 lbs.) also posted perfect 4-0 marks to collect individual gold medals.

The U.S. wrestlers battled Georgia in the third-place match Sunday. Both squads won four of the eight matches, but Georgia edged the hosts on criteria, 17-16. Earlier Sunday, the U.S. team lost another tiebreaker, this time to Iran on classification points, 17-15.

Iran went on to defeat Russia, 5-3, for the team gold medal Sunday evening. That’s Iran’s fifth straight Freestyle World Cup title.

The top U.S. freestyle wrestler, Olympic and World champion Jordan Burroughs, was a late scratch from the World Cup. His wife, Lauren, gave birth to the couple’s second child Saturday.