USA Greco

KAMAL BEY To Wrestle In Paris Olympics

kamal bey, 2024 world og qualifier
Kamal Bey -- Photo: Richard Immel

The United States will head to the 2024 Paris Olympics with one more representative as Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) has received one of the 77 kg spots that was availed at the World OG Qualifier last month in Istanbul.

On Saturday, June 15, the International Olympic Committee released the names of all eligible potential participants at the ’24 Games who bear the “AIN” designation (Individual Neutral Athletes). ’21 World silver Sergey Kutuzov, who defeated Bey at the World Qualifier, was not on the IOC’s list. Peter Basca, a member of United World Wrestling’s Executive Bureau (as well as Vice President of the Hungarian Wrestling Federation) first contacted USA Wrestling during the weekend of the 15th to inform them that the 77 kg quota once held by Kutuzov would potentially go to the US, though word was not yet official. As of Thursday, June 27, it is.

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As of press time, the reasons(s) for Kutuzov’s ineligibility have not been publicly disclosed; but also on June 15, United World Wrestling had provided their own canvassing explanation of potential violations for AIN competitors in conjunction with the release of the IOC’s list of eligible athletes. UWW stated that its Individual Neutral Athlete Eligibility Review Panel (AINERP) had, through their apparent own investigative work, arrived upon the determination that certain AIN wrestlers had committed infractions relative to the series of parameters laid out by the IOC in April of ’23. In their statement, UWW said that “the AINERP reviewed the athletes in accordance with the IOC EB decision and the principles established. The Panel was in a position to benefit from new information from various sources, in particular official lists of athletes affiliated with sports clubs of the military and the security forces published on official websites in Russia and Belarus”.

Kutuzov’s perceived violation(s) have been the subject of speculation in the wake of his exclusion from the IOC eligibility list. In May of ’23, Kutuzov won a tournament that was held in the honor of Lieutenant General Roman Vladimirovich Kutuzov (no known relation at press time) who was killed when Russia invaded Ukraine the previous winter; in the event, which was an international competition, Sergey Kutuzov wore Russian apparel. It would seem that, according to IOC’s rules for AIN athletes, both Kutuzov’s participation in the tournament as well as his donning of Russian colors were violations. There are also reports that Kutuzov either participated in or attended a rally in support of Russia’s war with Ukraine, but specific information with regards to that matter is as of yet unsubstantiated. Why Kutuzov was permitted to compete in the World OG Qualifier last month is likewise otherwise unknown — though as per UWW’s statement from June 15, the athlete’s infractions might have only been recently discovered.

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At the World OG Qualifier in May, Bey was defeated by Kutuzov in odd fashion with the majority of the Russian’s points having been the result of leg foul cautions. Bey later advanced all the way to the match for “true 3rd”, which was dubbed the “Paris Olympic Playoff” by UWW. In that bout, Bey was decisioned 3-0 by ’21 World silver Zoltan Levai (HUN). The American had impressively defeated highly-touted Georgian Iuri Lomadze in the previous round.

Bey will join Payton Jacobson (87 kg, Sunkist/NTS), Joe Rau (97 kg, TMWC), and Adam Coon (130 kg, NYAC/Cliff Keen WC) as Olympians for Team USA in Paris.

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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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