Russian freestyle wrestlers are undoubtedly one of the best in the world. However, the 2017 World Championships turned out to be a failure for our athletes. And it was especially unpleasant for the country’s best wrestler, Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulayev.
Not only did he lose in the finals, but he also lost his most valuable things.
At the World Championships in Paris, Russian freestyle wrestlers performed well below expectations. Our athletes won five medals, but not a single gold one. One of those who was content with the consolation prize of the world championship was Abdulrashid Sadulayev, who a year earlier had won first place at the Olympic Games. For Russia’s best fighter, the tournament in the capital of France became a kind of experiment.
Before the competition, Sadulayev changed his weight category: from 86 kg to 97. The head coach of the Russian national team, Dzambolat Tedeev, was cautious about this. The specialist said that Abdulrashid first needed to prove himself in the Russian championship at a new weight and only then think about the world championship. At the same time, it was planned that for the next season Sadulaev would return to the previous category, but this never happened.
The Russian team was scandalously kicked off a plane in Europe. The passengers were delighted
The path to the final turned out to be quite easy for the Russian. The opponents offered almost no resistance, so a clean victory seemed a logical outcome. Unfortunately, the final was not as easy as the previous stages. Sadulayev’s opponent was another Olympic champion, American Kyle Snyder. In a tense battle, he managed to win in the last seconds, leaving Abdulrashid alone with the silver. For our athlete, this defeat was the first in his professional career.
“I think Sadulayev fought well. He started training late after the Olympics, he also had surgery, he was not ready for the World Championships, he was not fit. If he was prepared, he would definitely win. But because of his character, Sadulayev fought well. Of course, the first defeat of his career is not a normal result for Sadulaev, but it is not a tragedy either. Of course, somewhere the transition to a new weight category left its mark. In the final, the American was much more powerful than him, and that power was finally demonstrated,” the head coach of the Russian team, Anatoly Margiev, told RIA Novosti.
Not only Sadulayev, but also the entire Russian team went down in history with a minus sign. At that World Championships, our freestyle wrestlers did not win a single gold medal for the first time in 63 years.
“Misfortune never comes alone”
Of course, the defeat in the final was a heavy psychological blow for Sadulayev. However, another test awaited the fighter ahead. Literally, the day after the end of the competition, his hotel room was robbed. The attackers took the athlete’s money and documents.
“Abdulrashid’s passport was also stolen. In the morning, when they were having breakfast and preparing to head to the airport, in the video you can see all of them, robbers of Arab appearance. I stayed with him, now we go to the consulate. We still don’t know how long we will have to stay here and we don’t even expect to reimburse the expenses. Problems do not come alone,” he told TASS Dzambolat Tedeev.
Fortunately everything was resolved successfully. On the same day, the stolen items, including the athlete’s passport and credit cards, were handed over to the police station. Apparently, the thieves feared the resonance and decided to quickly get rid of the evidence.
“The thieves placed the passport and credit cards at the police station and the police brought them to us. It’s called “I went to breakfast” (laughs). Everything was returned except the cash. Now Sadulayev will be able to fly away from Paris,” Mikhail Mamiashvili, president of the Russian Wrestling Federation (FSBR), told RIA Novosti.
“Tank” lost for the first time in 6 years. Sadulayev’s path to gold was interrupted by injury
Sadulayev subsequently scored many more important victories, including revenge on Snyder at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo. Unfortunately, the current tournament in Belgrade turned into a drama for the athlete. Due to injury, Abdulrashid had to withdraw from the semi-finals. It is not yet known if the fighter will be able to fight for the bronze medal.