Greco News

Monday Roundup: Bisultanov In, Kayaalp Out; USA Olympic Camp Begins

turpal bisultanov, 2024 olympic games
Turpal Bisultanov -- Photo: Kadir Caliskan

It was a busy day for United World Wrestling on Tuesday as the global sanctioning body announced two more Olympic berth re-allocations and released a preliminary entry list for the upcoming Paris Games.

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The two redistributed Olympic quotas went to Denmark (87 kg) and Germany (97 kg), respectively. There is no mystery with regards to the athletes who will be taking the spots. For Denmark, it will be ’22 World silver Turpal Bisultanov; for Germany at 97, Lucas Lazogianis is going to suit up in Paris. The news also brings to an end a weeks-long process following the original publication of eligible AIN (Individual Neutral Athletes) by the International Olympic Committee. In June, the initial list of Russian and Belarusian athletes who were deemed eligible to participate in Paris 2024 quickly resulted in several federations waiting for confirmation that they would receive re-allocated Olympic berths. But more confusion soon arose, as Alan Ostaev (87 kg, RUS) and Magomed Murtazaliev (97kg, RUS) — neither of whom earned for themselves an Olympic spot — were permitted to compete. That would not matter, however, as Russia declared last week that they would boycott the Paris Olympic Games altogether, thereby cancelling out the tandem of Ostaev and Murtazaliev (Bisultanov received Ostaev’s spot whereas Lazogianis took Murtazaliev’s).

Bisultanov will be Denmark’s only Olympian in Paris. Oehler gives Germany two along with heavyweight Jello Krahmer.

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Kayaalp Suspended

Just as big of a story on Tuesday was multi-time World Champion/Olympic medalist Riza Kayaalp (130 kg, TUR) announcing that he has been suspended due to a doping infraction and is expected to miss the Paris Games. According to the International Testing Agency’s portal, the sample submitted by Kayaalp responsible for the violation was collected on May 24 with Trimetazidine listed as the flagged substance. Trimetazidine is typically prescribed for angina and to increase blood flow in the heart (as per the European Medicines Agency). The reason why it is banned stems from the aforementioned improved blood flow, which in turn could expand endurance in athletes. However, the medication can also be used to treat tinnitus. Kayaalp says that he had endured “severe ringing in the ears, dizziness, and headaches”, which would align with his claim of a proper prescription.

Below is Kayaalp’s full (translated) statement. It has not been edited for clarity.

 “Despite all the professional care I have shown in my 24-year successful clean sports career, I am facing an unfortunate situation in the final Olympic preparation. I wanted you to hear all the developments first from me with my usual sincerity without any announcement made by any news platform or authorized authorities. Urgent intervention was made due to the increase in my complaints of severe ringing in the ears, dizziness, and headaches in recent times. Throughout my career, I have shown all the necessary attention and care in every aspect of my life. I have not acted without the approval of my experts in the food I consume or the painkillers I use. This attention to detail is well known in the sports community as well. I started the treatment process with the prescription written to me by consulting my sports physician in written and verbal form, with the professional consciousness given by my sports career. As a result of the wrong treatment applied to me during this treatment process approved by my sports physician, I was temporarily suspended from participating in sports competitions by the officials of the United World Wrestling (UWW). Therefore, I am facing the risk of not being able to participate in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games. We have started our legal struggle for this injustice suffered by my clean sports career.”

As to the “legal struggle” in which Kayaalp intends to engage, he certainly has one major obstacle: the deadline for national federations to submit rosters for the Paris Olympic Games was yesterday (July 8). Muhammet Hamza Bakir, who won the U23 World Championships last year, is already listed by UWW as Kayaalp’s replacement — thus eliminating, it would seem, the chance for Kayaalp to continue pursuing his main Olympic rival, four-time gold Mijain Lopez of Cuba.

Kayaalp, 34, is one of the most decorated wrestlers in modern history. He is a five-time World Champion, Olympic silver medalist (’16), and two-time Olympic bronze. He also owns three silvers and two bronze in addition to his allotment of World titles. He is a 12-time European Championships gold medalist, as well.

USA Olympic Team Camp

Camp began on Monday for the ’24 US Greco-Roman Olympic Team at, appropriately, the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The gathering, which features the four members of the American roster (Kamal Bey, 77 kg; Payton Jacobson, 87 kg; Joe Rau, 97 kg, and Adam Coon (130 kg), is scheduled to conclude on July 17. The USA delegation departs for France on July 22.

Updates and insights will be gleaned from US National Team head coach Herb House, among others, later this week.

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