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Bey Decisioned by Hungary, Paris Olympic Quest Ends

kamal bey, 77 kg, army, world olympic games qualifier
Kamal Bey -- Photo: Richard Immel

Kamal Bey‘s (77 kg, Army/WCAP) inspired effort to leave the 2024 “Last Chance” World Olympic Qualifier with a berth in the Paris Games came to an end on Friday evening in Istanbul.

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With his thrilling victory over two-time European Championships medalist Iuri Lomadze (GEO) in the bronze round, Bey had advanced to the “true third” match opposite ’22 World silver Zoltan Levai (HUN). Bey and Levai enjoy familiarity with one another dating back to their time on the Junior level. The Hungarian defeated Bey in ’16 at that age group’s World tournament, and last summer it was Bey who prevailed at Levai’s expense in the semifinals of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

A tepid start to their match on Friday saw Levai immediately work to establish control of the zone, a strategy that brought success as he tied Bey up at the hands in order to stifle the American’s explosive charges. Passivity on Bey followed with Levai looking for a lift. He was able to elevate his lock before carrying Bey towards the boundary. When Levai went to execute the lift, Bey landed on his feet but out of bounds, giving Hungary a 2-0 lead.

Levai did not alter his tactics entering the second period. He went right back to holding Bey at the wrists and hands. Though this is normally a marker for passivity, Levai did keep Bey’s back facing the perimeter. The Hungarian would push and prod, relegating Bey to have to fight his way towards the center. This was enough, apparently, for the officials to cite Bey for passivity for a second time. Levai worked for a gutwrench from top par terre and briefly opted to try and lift, but his attempts were defended by Bey.

Down 3-0 with time racing off the clock, Bey surged in despair as he sought numerous entries to Levai’s body. He dipped levels, felt for arm drags, and leapt for a “Flying Squirrel” — all of which were stymied on the part of Levai, who triumphed via 3-0 decision to secure the third and final 77 kg Olympic quota made available in this tournament.

After an early exit from the championship bracket on Thursday due to leg foul cautions, Bey rebounded in impressive fashion this morning by winning three consecutive matches against exceptionally-difficult competition. In order, the Army wrestler defeated Timur Berdiev (AIN), Per Albin Olofsson (SWE), and the aforementioned Lomadze. Bey is officially one of the World Olympic Qualifier’s two bronze medalists at 77 kg along with Levai.

The United States will head into the ’24 Olympic Games having qualified three of six weight categories (87, 97, and 130 kg). Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS), Joe Rau (97 kg, TMWC), and Adam Coon (130 kg, NYAC/Cliff Keen), respectively, will represent the US in Paris come August.

2024 World Olympic Games Qualifier

May 9-10 — Istanbul, TUR


60 kg: Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Viktor Petryk (UKR) 11-6

67 kg: Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP)
WON Aliaksandr Liavonchyk (AIN) 1-1 (criteria)
LOSS Andreas Vetsch (SUI) 8-1

77 kg: Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) — BRONZE
LOSS Sergey Kutuzov (AIN) 8-0, TF
WON Timur Berdiev (AIN) 9-1, TF
WON Per Albin Olofsson (SWE) 5-1
WON Iuri Lomadze (GEO) 5-4
LOSS Zoltan Levai (HUN) 3-0

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Listen to “5PM57: Kamal Bey and David Stepanyan” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM56: Rich Carlson and Spencer Woods” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM55: Recapping Final X with Dennis Hall with words from Koontz, Braunagel and Hafizov” on Spreaker.

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