If there were one item about which Ildar Hafizov (60 kg, Army/WCAP) has been vocal the past two years, it is that he desired more competition in the summer prior to the World Championships. The two-time Olympian did recently complete a lengthy stay overseas which included a tournament appearance (Hungary last month); and as per his wishes, Hafizov is back in Europe following what was a quick turnaround and earlier on Saturday he advanced to the finals of the German Grand Prix.
Day 1 of the 2023 Grand Prix of Germany began at 10:30am local time (4:30am ET) from Dortumund, Germany and streamed live on Turnier-Ringen.
Hafizov’s day began in the quarterfinal opposite Leo Tudezca (FRA), a 5-1 decision victory. The semifinal welcomed in Denmark rep Nikolai Mohammadi and, this time, the methodology was a 9-0 VSU. This pair of triumphs have set the stage for tomorrow’s final, when Hafizov (who in June made his fourth US World Team) will take on two-time World bronze Aidos Sultangali of Kazakhstan.
“The goal was to get as many matches as I can, and I feel like I achieved the goal,” Hafizov said afterwards. “I’ve never wrestled Kazakhstan (Sultangali) before, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
A touch of synergy surrounded Hafizov’s performance. In advancing to the Grand Prix of Germany gold-medal round on Sunday, he became the first American to do so since Army teammate/oft rival Dalton Roberts (’18). Roberts, as it were, also once competed against Sultangali — way back in the second round of the ’17 U23 World Championships.
Jacobson, Lautt, & Freeman
It was a four-man USA delegation for the Grand Prix of Germany but Hafizov is the lone athlete of the group to have garnered multiple matches. Fellow U23 World reps Payton Jacobson (82 kg, Sunkist/NTS) and Cade Lautt (97 kg, Tar Heel WC) were unsuccessful in their first and only bouts of the tournament. Likewise, Courtney Freeman (130 kg, Marines) fell in the opening round, as well.
Jacobson dropped a tough 3-1 decision to Otto Ketonen (FIN); Artiom Shumski of Poland downed Lautt 8-0; and Freeman was ousted by Mikhail Vyshnyvetsky (UKR).
Sunday’s Schedule, Hafizov’s Final
The schedule regarding the action on Sunday in Germany is not specified (i.e., wrestling simply begins in the morning and continues until the last match is exhausted). Repechage rounds will start at 10:30am (4:30am ET) with proceeding rounds running, apparently, concurrently.
2023 Grand Prix of Germany
August 12-13 — Dortmund, GER
TEAM USA DAY 1 RESULTS
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP)
WON Leo Tudezca (FRA) 5-1
WON Nikolai Mohammadi (DEN) 9-0, TF
vs. Aidos Sultangali (KAZ)
82 kg: Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS)
LOSS Otto Ketonen (FIN) 3-1
97 kg: Cade Lautt (Tar Heel WC)
LOSS Artiom Shumski (POL) 8-0, TF
130 kg: Courtney Freeman (Marines)
LOSS Mikhail Vyshnyvetsky (UKR) 13-4, TF
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