Another American wrestler will have an opportunity to grab a gold medal Thursday night at the Olympics. David Taylor of State College, Pa., earned a spot in the 86 kg (189 pounds) freestyle finals with his third technical fall of the day.
Taylor, a 2018 world champion, beat No. 2 seed Deepak Punia of India, 10-0 in the semifinals, and will face 2016 Olympic champion Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran in the gold-medal finals. The match will be the Olympic Channel Thursday morning here in the U.S. at 6:30 a.m., EST.
In women’s freestyle, two Olympic champions from 2016 met in the semifinals at 57 kg (125 pounds) with Risako Kawai of Japan edged U.S. star Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md.), 2-1. Maroulis will compete in a bronze medal on Thursday night, against the winner of the repechage match between Fatoumata Camara of Guinea and Khongorzul Boldsaikhan of Mongolia.
Against Punia, Taylor got his first point after Punia was placed on the shot clock and did not score. Taylor followed with a takedown and two turns to extend his lead to 7-0. Another Taylor takedown made it 9-0, and he finished off the technical fall with a step out point.
Wrestling fans will anxiously await the finals battle between these two major international wrestling heroes.
In the first round of the 2018 world championship meet, Taylor defeated Yazdanicharati, also a 2017 world champion before powering through the field for his first world championship. Taylor missed the 2019 season with a knee injury, and Yazdanicharati came back to win the world title that year.
On Wednesday morning, Taylor scored a pair of dominant technical falls. In the first round, Taylor dismantled four-time world medalist Ali Shabanau of Belarus, 11-0. In the quarterfinals, Taylor took out the No. 3 seed, American-born Myles Amine of San Marino, 12-2.
Maroulis to compete for Olympic bronze medal
There were no technical points scored in the semifinal match between Maroulis and Kawai, just points from the shot clock. Kawai scored the first two points, with Maroulis getting her point late in the second period.
At the 2016 Olympics, neither Maroulis nor Kawai wrestled at 57 kg. Maroulis won her Olympic title at 53 kg, while Kawai was the champion at 62 kg. These two stars have won multiple world titles as well, with Kawai owning three World gold medals and Maroulis having two World gold medals of her own.
Maroulis opened her tournament on Wednesday morning with an impressive 8-4 over No. 4 seed Ningning Rong from China, a 2018 world champion. In the quarterfinals, Maroulis shut out 2015 world bronze medalist Tetyana Kit of Ukraine, 8-0.
If Maroulis wins her bronze medal match tomorrow, she will become the first U.S. woman wrestler to win two Olympic medals.
She also won world titles in 2015 and 2017. Since then, Maroulis has battled injuries and concussions, but was able to come back in 2020 and qualify the weight class for the USA at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier. Maroulis is from Rockville, Md.
Gilman still alive in freestyle
American Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa.) will compete in the repechage round at 57 kg (125 pounds) freestyle on Thursday morning.
Gilman dropped a heartbreaking 5-4 decision to two-time defending world champion and No. 2 seed Zaur Uguev of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in the opening round. The match was not decided until the end, when Ugaev scored an exposure with five seconds left to win.
After scoring a last-second win in the quarterfinals, Ugaev competed tonight in the semifinals against Reza Atrinagharchi of Iran. Although the match was close for most of the bout, Ugaev opened it up at the end and scored an 8-3 victory.
Gilman will face Gulomjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan in repechage on Thursday morning, and if he wins, he will compete in a bronze medal match against Atrinagharchi.
News from USA Wrestling used to compile this report
2020 Olympic Games
57 kg – Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa.)
LOSS Zaur Uguev (Russia), 5-4
Repechage – Gulomjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan)
86 kg – David Taylor (State College, Pa)
WIN Ali Shabanau (Belarus), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Myles Amine (San Marino), tech fall 12-2
WIN Deepak Punia (India), tech. fall 10-0
Gold Medal Finals – Vs. Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran)
Women’s freestyle results
57 kg – Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md.)
WIN Ningning Rong (China), 8-4
WIN Tetyana Kit (Ukraine), 8-0
LOSS Risako Kawai (Japan), 2-1
Bronze Bout – vs. winner of Fatoumata Camara (Guinea) vs. Khongorzul Boldsaikhan (Mongolia)