Kim Hyeon-Woo (KOR) and Nurmakhan Tinaliev (KAZ) both dominated in their respective finals matches to take home gold and qualify their country’s spots for the Rio Olympics. The action took place earlier today at the Greco Asian OG Qualifier in Astana, Kazakhstan. Kim (world no. 2 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist at 66 kg) was given a nice test courtesy of Bin Yang (CHN, world no. 14) in the semis, coming away with a 4-2 win that saw some tight and tense action for the Korean. But in the finals it was a one-sided affair, as Kim easily dispatched Dilshodjon Turdiev (UZB) via fall (5:17). Kim was in control throughout the entire match up until its conclusion, building up an 8-2 lead before the decisive sequence.
Tinaliev (world no. 13 at 130 kg) too experienced little difficulty snagging his championship, breezing past Murat Ramonov (KGZ, world no. 16) 8-0 (tech fall). It was the semifinal which proved to be the biggest win for the hometown hero, as Tinaliev got past world no. 8 Quian Meng (CHN), 4-1. Whether that was the confidence booster he needed or Ramonov just wasn’t ready to meet Tinaliev’s attacking protocol, the Kazakhstan native was all business entering the final. As soon as the action hit par terre, Tinaliev gutted twice for four. In the second period, a takedown led to more top control for Tinaliev, which he would once again take full advantage of to end the match and secure Greco Asian OG Qualifier gold.
We will have more as the weekend continues to unfold. So far, there has been a lot of really entertaining matches and the atmosphere inside that arena has been electric over the past two days, especially when a member of the home country has come away with a win. We’ll break it down even further throughout the week as we try to sort through the candidates who still have to make a qualifying run elsewhere. Stay tuned!
For those interested, here is the final between Tinaliev and Ramonov. If you’re a fan of heavyweights, gut wrenches, and excited crowds we recommend you check it out.