Patrick Martinez (NYAC) gutted out a hard-fought (and poorly officiated) bout to begin his day, but couldn’t quite ride the momentum in his next match. However, the American is still alive in the 80 kg bracket this afternoon at the Pytlasinski International in Spala, Poland.
Martinez went to battle with Arkadiusz Kulynycz (POL) to kick things off and confusion was the order of the day. In the first period, Martinez was originally awarded two after attempting to straddle-lift Kulyncz following a passivity call. This is when the first wave of confusion hit. The officials convened for several minutes, apparently deciding whether or not Kulyncz blocked the attempt illegally and/or if two points was the correct reward. It was all a blur of chaos. When the action resumed, the score was reset to zero. Of course seconds later, Kulyncz was knocked again, this time giving Martinez the point he should have perhaps been awarded awarded initially.
Kulynycz had no choice but to come alive. He began pushing forward as Martinez looked to control the pace. Martinez went in to find a lock but Kulynycz created just a little bit of space to counter the action. It looked like it could have been ruled a slip but following another lengthy challenge call, the Polish wrestler was given two. In the ensuing par terre opportunity, Kulynycz jumped the touch start to lock around Martinez for a gut which was called back. After re-starting yet again, Kulynycz got his gut, netting two more to close out the first period 4-1. All in all, the opening frame took nine minutes to complete thanks to the ineptitude of the officials.
Martinez had no choice but to up the intensity level going into the second. Prowling towards Kulynycz, Martinez bullied in ferociously, doing whatever he could to grab a handle he could work with. It wasn’t easy. Kulynycz blocked inside on numerous occasions and backed out whenever he felt threatened. The US corner motioned for a passivity call, but their pleas were unanswered. Action on the mat was not completely in static; Martinez kept pressuring and Kulynycz would play back. The longer this went on, the more it began to appear Martinez would have to make it happen on his own.
And that he would. With just ten seconds remaining, Martinez lowered his level and found a waist-high bodylock, driving Kulynycz to his back. It was good for four points and a 5-4 dramatic come-from-behind victory.
Hungarian Grand Prix champion Pavel Pominchuk (BLR, world no. 13) presented a different set of problems. Unlike Kulynycz, who was boorish yet guarded, Pominchuk looked for holds to score with. We’ve seen this before. He caught Martinez with a modified over-under as he locked high around the NYAC wrestler’s back to pull him down. 4-0, Pominchuk. He repeated the same move from the same position at his first available opportunity following the re-start, resulting in another four points and a startling 8-0 tech fall win over Martinez.
The good news: Pominchuk advanced to the finals against Ramin Taherisartang (IRI, world no. 10). That means Patrick Martinez is still alive in the repechage where he will face Bulgarian Daniel Aleksandrov (world no. 6), who we last saw in the finals of the 2nd OG World Qualifier in May. We will update here as the action unfolds!