The first day of the Greco-roman style at the World Veterans Championships in Greece, was probably the most exciting we had at the city of Loutraki.
It was all about… Sweden for the medal matches, since the Sandinavians had 9 athletes competing for a medal and they finished the day with 3 golds and one bronze.
Leif Eddy Bengtsson had his last match of his amazing career and won the gold at 130k. At the end, he got a standing ovation for 2 minutes from the spectators, one amazing moment of the tournament.
The biggest star was Karam Gaber. The olympic champion of 2004 in Athens, won another gold in Greece, 19 years later! This time it was for the Veteran World championships and he did it in style, by beating Yessentay Khapar of Kazakhstan by superiority.
Greece also had it’s moments thanks to Ioannis Athansiadis who got the fourth medal (silver) for the hosts during the tournament.
62k. Claudiu Florin Gavrila of Romania and Daniel Franke of Germany had a very exciting final. Franke had a two point lead, but the Romanian, with one minute left, got four points and won the gold. Benjamin Ray Von Baum had a tough win with 6-5 against Swedish Jarkko Wester and won the bronze. The second bronze went to Samat Ospan of Kazakhstan who also won an absolute thriller, with a 2-1 score against Bulgarian Svetoslav Dimitrov.
70k. Milan Maric of Serbia was in complete control in the final against Bakytzhan Jigarbayev of Kazakhstan. He had a 7-0 lead at the first two minutes and finished the match with a 9-5 score to win the gold. Two athletes from Sweden (Branstroem and Granbom) were fighting for the bronze, but both lost from Latvian A. Drozdovs and K. Jafarov of Azerbaijan respectively.
78k. Kunduzbek Raimbekov of Kyrgyzstan and Dumitru Popov of Moldova had another massive match up for the gold. Moldovian had a 6-4 lead which he kept until the end, despite the challenge of his opponent at the end of the final. Raimekov got the silver, while Aake Kantola of Sweden and Eduard Durmanov of Kazakhstan won both the bronze medal.
88k. The great olympic champion of 2004, Karam Mohamed Gaber Ebrahim of Egypt wrestled for the gold against Yessentay Khapar of Kazakhstan. It was 19 years before the last time he competed in Greece. Since that gold, the Greeks never had the chance to see him again. They had it today and once again he won a gold medal. This time he became world veteran champion after winning by superiority over his opponent, Yessentay Khapar of Kazakhstan.
Evgenii Glazkov (AIN) and Karapet Kirakosyan of Sweden won both bronze medals.
100k. Yuliyan Dimitrov Georgiev of Bulgaria and Peter Cseperkalo of Hungary gave to the spectators another great final. The lead was changing with Bulgarian having a 5-4 lead 1:45 before the end. Cseperkalo tied the final, Georgiev got again a 7-5 lead, but the Hungarian got 4 points just seconds before the end, to grab the gold medal.
Daniyar Yarkukhamedov of Kazakhstan and Jozsef Jarnovics won the bronze.
130k. Leif Eddy Bengtsson of Sweden beat Huseyin Aydogan of Turkey and easily won the world champion title. It was the last game of his career and the fans gave the olympian a standing ovation for 2 minutes.
Sinan Sen of Turkey and Altankhuyag Altangerel of Mongolia fought for the bronze and it was the Mongolian who got the medal.
62k.Terho Petteri Kettunen of Finland is the new world champion. He won by fall Victor Mihalachi of Romania and got the gold, while German Winfried Thomas Hoelfich and Adakhamzhan Baltabaev of Kyrgyzstan won the bronze.
70k. Lars Mikael Dahl of Sweden and Ibrahim Polga of Turkey had another tight final. Dahl had a 4-2 lead after a successful challenge and with one extra point won the second (out of three) gold for Sweden. Stephen Horton of USA and Hungarian Laszlo Bodai won both a bronze medal.
78k. Jukka Veikko Antero Saari of Finland and Ioannis Athanasiadis of Greece were the two finalists. The Finnish was in command from the beginning and won the gold by fall just second before the 2 minute break. For the hosts, Athanasiadis’s silver, was the fourth medal of the Championships.
Kadyrzhan Zhanpeisov of Kazakhstan and Sendogan Atalay got a spot on the podium with a bronze medal each.
88k. It was a Scandinavian case in the final of this category. Martin Inge Dalsbotten of Norway and Gert Ove Pettersson of Sweden were the two finalists and the Swedish won by a 4-1 score for the third gold of the day for Sweden.
Igor Dokuchaev (AIN) and Gyozo Lakatos of Hungary got the bronze.
100k. Charles Jones of USA and Detlef Hein Lothar John of Germany had another amazing final. Jones had a 1-0 lead, but the German despite his injury turned things around and got the gold with a 2-1 score, while the American got the silver.
Abdurashid Bagavdinov (AIN) and Bernhard Bauer of Germany got the third spot on the podium.
130k. James Eric Middlstead of USA won the gold after four matches in a Round Robin cat. Asghar Mostafa Marani of Iran got the silver, while Brian Alan Jones of USA and Igor Potaev of AIN, matched up for the last round of the RR category for the bronze for the last match of the day. Jones got injured in the first 15 seconds on his right foot and had to abandon and Poletav got the medal.