Beginning this Friday in Radom, the 90th annual Polish Senior Championships will get underway. All eyes are sure to be on 67 kilograms, where both 2017 World silver Mateusz Bernatek and ’18 World bronze Gevorg Sahakyan are registered. Bernatek and Sahakyan, being teammates, do not have a pronounced history against one another, though they did meet last January at Thor Masters. Sahakyan took a narrow decision en-route to bronze. Neither athlete got the nod for 67 at the European Championships a month later, however, as Poland chose to go with Roman Pacurkowski, who finished 9th. Bernatek hopped in the 72-kg bracket and wound up 15th.
Tadeusz Michalik qualified 97 kilograms for Poland at the ’19 World Championships, which remains the only weight category the nation has thus far secured for Tokyo. Michalik’s performance (he placed 5th) came as a surprise for one very good reason in particular: the ’19 Worlds was the first time he competed at 97 kilos after spending his entire career up to that event between 80 and 87. It was also the second time Michalik finished 5th (’14, Tashkent). The 29-year-old is registered for the Polish Championships.
Poland has not yet declared a stream for the event, but if/when one becomes available we will update accordingly.
Austria & Germany
Several members of Austria’s National Team participated in a training camp in Hennef, Germany last week. Among those involved for AUT included Daniel Gastl (97 kg), Michael Wagner (82 kg), ’18 Junior World silver Marcus Ragginger (97 kg), and Aker Al Obiadi (67 kg). Three-time World Champion Frank Staebler (67 kg, world #8) and ’16 Olympic bronze/multi-time World medalist Denis Kudla (87 kg, world #8) represented the big names in attendance for Germany, and a small collection of Swiss athletes hopped on-board, as well. The joint training camp was the first for Austria since prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Austria is still waiting to qualify a weight category for the 2020ne Olympics. Germany is halfway to a full house — Staebler and Kudla earned bronze in Nur-Sultan, and Eduard Popp (130 kg, world #9) placed 5th.
ITA Mobilized to Ostia
Italy has begun a prolonged camp of their own at their version of the Olympic Training Center located in the Roman district of Ostia. The purpose of the gathering is for the athletes to prepare for the Senior World Championships in December — though the fate of that event reportedly hinges on a United World Wrestling Bureau Members meeting scheduled for next Monday.
Knee Surgery for Lorincz
Multi-time World medalist Viktor Lorincz (87 kg, world #1) was not planning to compete at last weekend’s Hungarian national tournament due to having recently become a first-time parent. He would have had no choice but to decline the opportunity, anyway. Lorincz suffered a torn cartilage in his knee and immediately underwent surgery. He characterized the injury as “minor” when speaking with Hungary’s official outlet, but also noted that the damage was severe enough to where any delay in the procedure would have put his knee at further risk.
“The doctor, by the way, said my knee was in a terrible condition,” he said. “Even the slightest injury could have caused massive damage. As a matter of fact, it is better that they have intervened now. I can’t imagine how much I would have felt, if say, something similar had happened in the spring, before the Tokyo Olympics, which had been postponed for a year.”
Lorincz and his brother Tamas (77 kg, world #1) were the only two Hungarians to qualify their respective weight classes at the ’19 World Championships. Viktor earned silver; Tamas won gold.