Wrestler wins finals berth, ending champ’s streakKorea’s hopes of getting back into medal contention aren’t over yet, as wrestler Jung Ji-hyun booked his ticket to the finals yesterday by defeating Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria, 3-1, in the semifinal round.
Nazarian was one of the strongest gold-medal candidates in the Greco-Roman 60-kilogram division. Having been crowned champion at both the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, Nazarian was competing for his third consecutive Olympic gold.
Jung and Nazarian were in a tight match, 1-1, but Jung broke ahead by earning two points just before the end of the first three-minute part. Jung was head-locked by Nazarian but managed to counterattack and earn the precious points.
For the rest of the match, Jung effectively endured Nazarian’s attack and prevented the Bulgarian from scoring to hold on to his win.
On his way up the ladder, Jung first beat Wlodzimierz Zawadszi of Poland, the gold medalist from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics’ Greco-Roman 62-kilogram class, in the preliminary round. Jung easily won, 10-2.
His second match, against Vitaliy Rahimov of Azerbaijan, might have ended differently if it hadn’t been for his coach’s timely appeal. Right before the interval, Rahimov got three points, making the score 3-2. Rahimov’s legs had been outside the mat when he attacked Jung, so he shouldn’t have been awarded any points. Korean coach An Han-bong protested immediately and the score was adjusted.
With a place already reserved in the quarterfinal round, Jung blanked Eusebiu Iancu Diaconu of Romania, 6-0, in the final preliminary round.
In other wrestling news, Choi Duk-hoon was eliminated from the Greco-Roman 74-kilogram class in the qualifying matches. He lost to Filiberto Azcuy of Cuba, 6-2.
by Joe Eun-hye