The Asian Olympic Games Qualifier for Greco got underway earlier today in Kazakhstan and has already produced a pretty sizable upset. Hamid Soryan (IRI), 2012 Olympic gold medalist and multiple-time world champ, got taken out of the running in the first round by Japan’s Shinobu Ota. Ota (currently world no. 15) won the match by a score of 7-4 and advanced to the finals but fell just short of gold to Lumin Wang (CHN, world no. 20) 8-8. No video is up just yet, so the guess is it was a last point scored scenario that sealed the deal for Wang.
Since Ota made it through to the finals, Soryan (unranked due to his self-imposed exile in Vegas) got pulled into the repechage. It apparently wasn’t happening for him there either, as he defaulted to Firuz Takhtaev (UZB, unranked). Once again, the tournament began too early to stream and video has not yet been released, so it is any wonder what happened.
Speculation in the meantime will be rampant. Was Hamid Soryan injured prior to the tournament? Did he get injured in the first round versus Ota? Or do we all have to shake hands with the fact that Hamid Soryan isn’t the dominant force he once was and pretty much hasn’t been since the jump from 55 to 59 kg? There wasn’t a ton of history between Soryan and Ota, aside from Soryan dominating him two years ago in the semifinals at the Hungarian Grand Prix (which the Iranian won via tech 8-0, in about 45 seconds).
It seems more likely that it was just a match for Soryan that took place at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Ota, the 2016 Hungarian GP runner-up and 2012 Junior bronze medalist, has started to come up fast over the last year and a half, picking up numerous tour wins and constantly testing himself on the sport’s biggest stages. If Soryan is slipping at all, Ota is just the kind of match-up that would cause him a problem and that was probably the case.
As soon as video of the match is up, we’ll bring it to you along with a breakdown of what happened and what might be next for Soryan as well as full tournament results. Soryan has a couple of more chances to qualify the weight (Mongolia and Turkey), but one has to wonder: will his even be the number called for the Iranians at this point? Or is Abdvali the one who will be tagged in to qualify 59 kg? Is Soryan going to move up to 66 and challenge Zeidvand for the spot? Rumors will get out of control, so it’s best to just see what shakes out first. Regardless, while not the biggest upset of the year (or even the week), the 59 kg bracket at the Asian OG Quali produced some interesting results.