U.S. falls short of medal round in Greco-Roman on final day of World Championships

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Craig Sesker (USA Wrestling)

Robbie Smith won his first two matches before falling in the quarterfinals on Sunday. Larry Slater photo.

BUDAPEST, Hungary – The United States fell short of the medal round on the final day of the World Wrestling Championships on Sunday at Papp Laszlo Sports Arena.

U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers Ellis Coleman, Andy Bisek and Robbie Smith each suffered losses to wrestlers from Turkey on the final day of the seven-day event in Budapest.

Smith, appearing at his first Senior Worlds, dropped a 7-0 quarterfinal match to World champion Riza Kayaalp of Turkey in the quarterfinals. Kayaalp hit two quick arm throws to end the match in the first minute.

Smith opened with a 3-1 win over Xiaoming Nie of China at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Smith pushed the pace and wore Nie down, putting it away with a second-period takedown.

Smith was eliminated when Kayaalp was upset by Iran’s Amir Aliakbari in the semifinals. Kayaalp needed to reach the finals to pull Smith back in for the repechage.

Smith charged out strong with an early three-point arm throw en route to defeating Iosif Chugoshvili of Belarus 5-0 in the second round. Chugoshvili was fifth in 2012 Olympics.

“I just need to learn from this and come back strong next year,” Smith said. “I’m going to work hard and learn from this experience.”

Bisek, competing in his second Senior Worlds, opened with a 2-1 victory over Balint Korpasi of Hungary at 74 kg/163 lbs. Bisek trailed 1-0 before hitting a textbook arm drag for a two-point takedown midway through the second period.

Bisek then suffered a 3-1 second-round loss to Turkey’s Emrah Kus.

Bisek was inexplicably called for passivity just seconds after nearly spinning behind Kus for a takedown. Kus was awarded a point and Bisek was placed down in par terre. Kus scored a front headlock turn to lead 3-0. Bisek scored on a pushout late in the match, but ran out of time.

Bisek was eliminated when the Turk failed to advance to the finals.

“I think I’m right there with the top guys,” Bisek said. “I have plenty of stuff I want to work on when I get back to training again.”

Coleman, a 2012 Olympian, dropped his first match at his first Senior Worlds at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Coleman dropped a close decision to Yuksel Atakan of Turkey. Coleman struck first on a gut wrench in the first period before Atakan answered with a gut wrench of his own to tie it 2-2 late in the period. The second period was scoreless, and the Turk won by virtue of scoring last.

Coleman was eliminated when Atakan failed to reach the finals. Coleman found out just two days ago he would replace two-time World bronze medalist Justin Lester in the U.S. lineup.

“I should have been ready and more prepared, but I’m not making any excuses,” Coleman said. “I shouldn’t have got turned. I didn’t perform and I didn’t get the task done.”

The U.S. did not win a medal in Greco at this event. Spenser Mango placed fifth on Friday to lead the American Greco squad.

“I am proud of the whole team,” U.S. Coach Steve Fraser said. “We are all disappointed we didn’t get a medal obviously. We got to keep improving.”

Papp Laszlo Sports Arena, Budapest, Hungary

Gold-medal matchups


66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Islam-Beka Albiev (Russia) vs. Han Su-Ryu (Korea)

74 kg kg/163 lbs.
Roman Vlasov (Russia) vs. Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Heiki Nabi (Estonia) vs. Amir Aliakbari (Iran)

U.S. results


66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Ellis Coleman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
LOSS Yuksel Atakan (Turkey), 2-2

74 kg/163 lbs. – Andy Bisek, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
WIN Balint Korpasi (Hungary), 2-1
LOSS Emrah Kus (Turkey), 1-3

120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Robbie Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
WIN Xiaoming Nie (China), 3-1
WIN Iosif Chugoshvili (Belarus), 5-0
LOSS Riza Kayaalp (Turkey), 0-7