U.S. wins three bouts, but its four Greco-Roman athletes miss medal rounds at World Championships

BY GARY ABBOTT, USA WRESTLING

G’Angelo Hancock of the USA spars with Seyedmosta Salehizadeh of Iran in their 98 kg repechage match at the World Championships in Paris. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

PARIS, France – U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers competing on the first day of the 2017 World Championships combined for three wins, but none of the four entries qualified for the medal rounds in the evening at the AccorsHotel Arena on Monday. All four were competing in their first Senior Worlds.

At 98 kg/215 lbs., 2016 Junior World bronze medalist G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids/New York AC/OTC) reached the repechage rounds at 98 kg/215 lbs., where the 20-year-old was unable to advance.

Hancock opened with a strong 3-0 decision over 2016 World University champion Fatih Baskoy of Turkey in his opening match. Hancock scored by forcing a step out then receiving a pair of passivity calls against Baskoy.

Next, Hancock fell to 2016 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Artur Aleksanyan of Armenia in his second match, by a 10-1 technical fall. Hancock trailed 3-0 at the break, and closed it to 3-1 early in the second period after a passivity penalty against Aleksanyan. However, Aleksanyan scored a key four-point move, plus a failed challenge, to make it 8-1 then closed out the bout with a takedown.

When Aleksanyan reached the finals, Hancock was drawn into repechage, where he was defeated by 2017 Asian champion Seyedmosta Salehizadeh of Iran, 3-1. Hancock led 1-0 after a passivity call against Salehizadeh, but the Iranian came back with two points on passivity and a forced stepout to secure the final three points of the bout.

“It was a rough day. It has been a rough month. I am grateful to wrestle an Olympic champion and multiple World champion. I am grateful for that experience. I give my life to this and I trained my whole year for this. Wrestling is like that. Every day, something crazy can happen,” said Hancock.

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