World champions take men’s wrestling golds
In the men’s freestyle wrestling 86kg category, Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev won gold, while Taha Akgul of Turkey triumphed in men’s 125kg on a victorious day for reigning world champions.
Both gold medal fights in men's freestyle were rematches of previous world championship finals and they ended with the same results. Two-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev won the men’s 86kg final as convincingly as he had defeated opponents in earlier rounds. The Russian produced yet another shutout to win against Selim Yasar of Turkey, whom he also beat to win the world title in 2015.
“It was my dream since my childhood to be an Olympic champion. I’m very happy and I want to thank everybody who supported me,” the 20-year-old Russian said after his gold-winning performance.
In the semi-finals, Sadulaev beat London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan, who later won his country’s sixth wrestling bronze medal of Rio 2016. They also have a silver but, with one day of competition remaining, no golds.
Akgul triumphs in 125kg
In the men’s 125kg category, two-time world champion Taha Akgul picked up the first gold medal for Turkey in wrestling in Rio, defeating London 2012 bronze medallist Komeil Nemat Ghasemi of Iran in a repeat of the the 2014 world championship final. European champion Geno Petriashvili of Georgia overcame American Tervel Ivaylov Dlagnev in just 30 seconds to land bronze.
Akgul was happy to add the Olympic gold to his titles: “I’ve completed the whole series. I’m the last European and world champion, and now I’m an Olympic champion. I will try to do it again and keep going on to the next Olympics.”