Saturday morning welcomes in the 2021 Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Memorial in Warsaw, Poland. As reported last week, Pytlasinski has long been considered one of international Greco-Roman’s toughest annual tournaments due in large part to its (typical) place on the calendar.
“Typical”, in that Pytlasinski is usually held in the summer prior to a Worlds or Olympics, hence its popularity. However, there was a version of the event this past fall, but it was without the breadth of participation most have come to expect. No such concerns exist heading into Saturday. The entries for Greco-Roman include many of the sport’s more well-known competitors and overall numbers are within the same range as they are each year.
Originally, the US was banking on a robust roster featuring all four Olympians. That slowly began to change over the past few weeks. Now as of press time, the American delegation is down to three, one of whom is an Olympic Team member (Alex Sancho):
Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP)
Alex Sancho (67 kg, Army/WCAP)
Alan Vera (87 kg, NYAC)
2021 Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Memorial
June 12-13 — Warsaw, POL
— All times +6 hours EST
— Streaming live in the US on FLOWrestling (subscription required)
Saturday, June 12
11:00am — Qualification rounds (GR 55, 67, 77, 82, & 130 kg)
6:00pm — Finals & bronze round
Sunday, June 13
11:00am — Qualification rounds (GR 60, 63, 72, 87, & 97 kg)
6:00pm — Finals & bronze round
US In Croatia
A substantial US delegation — comprised of both Seniors and several age-groupers — arrived in Poreč, Croatia on Sunday for a joint training camp. In the mix are ’19 Junior World bronze Alston Nutter (67 kg, Sunkist/NTS), US National Team member “Mr. Fantastic” Benji Peak (67 kg, Sunkist/NTS, and who is the featured guest on the next episode of the Five Point Move Podcast); Olympians John Stefanowicz (87 kg, Marines) and G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist); as well as Braxton Amos (97 kg, Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC), Cael Kahle (60 kg, Ringers), and Eli Paulson (60 kg, PINnacle).
We hope to bring insights from all of the above in addition to thoughts from coaches who are also in CRO later in the week.
Vlasov? Or Nah?
Even with ’19 World Champion Abuyazid Mantsigov winning the Russian Nationals up a weight — and even with ’17 World gold Alexsander Chekhirkin qualifying in Budapest — the prevailing thought around the sport was that future Hall of Famer Roman Vlasov would still get the nod at 77 kilograms for Tokyo based on reputation alone. But that might not be the case.
Speaking to Russia’s official federation outlet, head coach Gogi Koguashvili indicated that the decision pertaining to the Olympic roster will be made following the next two international events: the aforementioned Pytlasinski (Mantsigov and Vlasov) and Turkey’s Vehbi Emre (Chekhirkin) later this month. None of this is to say that Vlasov won’t board a flight to Tokyo, even though the multi-time World and Olympic winner is currently not holding the #1 ranking domestically.
“There is nothing to hide: Roman Vlasov has not competed at scratch weight in a long time and we need to look at his condition,” Koguashvili said. “We are also giving a chance to the reigning champion of the country, Abuyazid Mantsigov, who had complications after knee surgery. Yes, while injured, he competed at the European Championship and lost. In this weight category, Aleksander Chekhirkin won the Olympic license, and at the moment he is our #1 athlete. Let’s see how Vlasov and Mantsigov will perform at the Pytlyasinsky tournament, we’ll see how Chekhirkin will perform in Turkey, and then we’ll make a decision. The strongest will go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”