Greco News

Monday Roundup: Is Turkey Back?; JPN’s Guidelines; Evloev; Bullmann; Etlinger

Photo: WrestRus

Late last week, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the dissolution of a long series of restrictions — including those related to sports and other coordinated physical activities.

Starting today (June 1), everything from day care centers and restaurants to pet stores and museums are open for business, although adherence to various safety measures (masks, physical distancing, Et Al.) is still in effect. But last on the list of all the re-openings (which can be viewed here) is this sentence: “Restrictions on individual sports have been removed.”

However — the Turkish Wrestling Federation has yet to release its own statement regarding Greco-Roman, freestyle, or women’s freestyle. They did push out a notice informing that a meeting will be held later this week to discuss the immediate future of Kırkpınar oil wrestling. Absent are any updates pertaining to the international Olympic styles and when training might resume.

In the previous edition of the Monday Roundup, we shared the words of four-time World Champion Riza Kayaalp (130 kg, TUR, world #1), who intimated that he became accustomed to preparing on his own during the current pandemic as he looks to possibly cap his career following the Tokyo Olympics. ““I was prepared for this process,” Kayaalp said. “I looked at whether the new house I moved to was suitable for sports. Because this is my job. I am doing at least four to five workouts a week now.”

Japan’s Rules

Japan, which has reportedly handled the coronavirus pandemic very well considering its proximity to China and lack of draconian measures seen elsewhere, is not in a rush to kickstart its wrestling program. Similar to USA Wrestling, Japan has structured their own guidelines broken down into “phases”. The primary difference is that according to their missive, Japan’s Phase 3 will allow for full contact practices with limited capacity (groups of two or three athletes) whereas USA does not reach this point until their Phase 4. Both national governing bodies also describe a series of protocols involving self-monitoring for symptoms and what to do should an athlete/coach become infected.

The Ginger Assassin

The Russian Wrestling Federation has just released a video featuring two-time World Champion Musa Evloev (97 kg, world #1) discussing his desire to compete against countryman and freestyle star Abdulrashid Sadulaev. The video, which is well-produced and includes highlights of Evloev on the mat, is not presented in English but still worth a watch if you’re hardcore enough.

What’s Coming Up Here

In addition to our usual focus on American athletes will be a pair of interviews with two notable foreigners — 1992 Olympic/three-time World Champion Maik Bullmann of Germany — and Dominik Etlinger (CRO, world #16 at 72 kg). Bullmann, who turned 53 in April, was a wrecking machine throughout a career that ended with a total of six medals. And he wasn’t alone. Bullmann’s era of the late 1980’s through the sum of the ’90’s was stocked with talent from in and around Eastern Europe between 90 and 100 kilos. Yet somehow, year after year, he remained among the very best. Bullmann won his first World gold in ’89 after defeating American Mike Foy in the 90 kg final.

Etlinger was one of the highlighted athletes in our overview of 67 kilograms at the ’21 European Olympic Games Qualifier released yesterday. A tenacious, durable, and consistent competitor, Etlinger has spent most of the lustrum at 72 kilos, a non-Olympic weight. He hadn’t wrestled below 71/72 since the qualifying season for Rio until this past January at Thor Masters — where he squashed the field. Among his victims that day were Polish world medalists Mateusz Bernatek and Gevorg Sahakyan (world #13). But with the qualifier postponed until next March, the 28-year-old has had to re-adjust his plan, like so many others. We’ll find out what he has been up to lately, get insights on his training methods, and cover several highlights of his career.

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