The world's top competitor at this weight class in recent seasons has been Steeve Guenot of France, who won the 2008 Olympic gold medal and 2007 World silver medal. Guenot, whose brother Christophe was an Olympic bronze medalist at 74 kg, has helped revive the French Greco-Roman program into a power. Guenot did not medal at the European Championships this year and placed third at the Pytlasinski Tournament, a pre-World tuneup.
2008 Olympic silver medalist Kanatbek Begaliev of Kyrgyzstan has not entered a major event since Beijing, and is not on the preliminary roster list for the Worlds. Olympic bronze medalist Armen Vardanyan of Ukraine is on the roster competing up at 74 kg. The other 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Mikhali Siamionau of Belarus, is expected to compete. He was second at the 2009 European Championships.
Farid Mansurov of Azerbaijan, the 2004 Olympic champion, won the 2007 World Championships in his home nation when the event was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. He had a disappointing 2008 Olympics, not earning a placement. This year, Mansurov was fifth at the European Championships and won a gold medal at the Golden Grand Prix finals, also held in Azerbaijan.
2009 European champion Ambako Vachadze of Russia is one of the three Russian entries on the list, along with Seiran Simonyan and Adam Kurak. Simonyan was second at the 2009 World Cup.
2009 European bronze medalists Sharur Vardanyan of Sweden and Manuchar Tskhadaia of Georgia are among the top hopefuls. 2009 Asian champion Darkhan Bayakhmetov of Kazakhstan is not on the preliminary list, but no athlete from his country is listed. He was fifth in the 2008 Olympics and seventh in the 2007 World meet, making him a tough draw if he does show up.
2005 World Champion Nikolay Gergov of Bulgaria won a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships and was fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games. Gergov is not on the FILA list for Worlds, with Emil Milev, a former starter for Bulgaria at 60 kg, posted as the entry.
Tamas Lorincz of Hungary was eighth at the 2008 Olympics and fifth at the 2007 World Championships. Lorincz was third at the Golden Grand Prix finals this year. Hyuk Eom of Korea, the 2009 Asian silver medalist, is another athlete to watch. The 2009 Pan American champion is Pedro Isaac Mulen of Cuba. 2008 World Military champion Afshin Byabangard of Iran is also entered to compete.
The U.S. will be represented by veteran Faruk Sahin, a Turkish immigrant who has competed for many years within the United States. Sahin was second in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials behind young phenom Jake Deitchler, and has risen to the top this season.
Other athletes with talent include Olexander Khvoshch of Ukraine, Ion Panait of Romania, Kim Kum Chol of North Korea,
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS:
2008 Olympic Games
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Steeve Guenot (France); Silver - Kanatbek Begaliev (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); Bronze - Mikhali Siamionau (Belarus); 5th - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); 5th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Sergey Kovalenko (Russia); 8th - Tamas Loerincz (Hungary); 9th - Alain Milian (Cuba); 10th - Li Yanyan (China)
2007 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan); Silver - Steeve Guenot (France); Bronze - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Harry Lester (United States); 5th - Arman Adikyan (Armenia); 5th - Tamás Lorincz (Hungary); 7th - Darkhan Bayakhmetov (Kazakhstan); 8th - Olexander Khvoshch (Ukraine); 9th - Ionel Puscasu (Romania); 10th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden)
2006 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Li Yanyan (China); Silver - Kamatbek Begaliev (Kirghizistan); Bronze - Sergey Kovalenko (Russia); Bronze - Harry Lester (USA); 5th - Oleksey Khvosch (Ukraine); 5th - Seref Eroglu (Turkey); 7th - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); 8th - A. Kazakeviv (Lithuania); 9th - Ion Painit (Romania); 10th - Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)
2005 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs.- Gold - Nikolay Gergov (Bulgaria); Silver - Kim Min-Chul (Korea); Bronze - Alain Milan (Cuba); Bronze - Kim Kum-Chol (North Korea ); 5th - Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine); 7th - Li Yanyan (China); 8th - Jimmy Samuelsson (Sweden); 9th - Mukhran Matchutadze (Georgia); 10th - Levente Furedy (Hungary)
Content courtesy of: USA Wrestling