The US got off to a promising start at the 2nd OG Qualifier in Istanbul, Turkey.
RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC, 66 kg) kicked things off with a dominating 11-2 win over Pan Zheng (CHN). Down by two, Perkins forced Zheng into a passivity point and another chance at par terre top. He didn’t waste it. The American quickly locked up a high gutwrench and rolled it. And rolled it. And rolled it. And rolled it. Before you knew it, 10 points had been amassed and Perkins was on his way to a crisp and impressive first round victory.
Jesse Thielke (NYAC, 59 kg) drew 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Peter Modos (HUN). Modos, a long, angular wrestler, tried to mix it up with Thielke inside. In what was a tense beginning to the match, Thielke was searching for his openings. He started by hitting an absolutely beautiful duck under to get on the board. The momentum was building.
Once they re-set, Thielke deftly worked inside and countered a Modos entry with a cross-wrist drag for another two. The train kept rolling, as Thielke then locked around Modos for a couple of guts, netting him a dynamic 8-0 tech fall win over a very tough opponent.
Joe Rau (Minnesota Storm, 98 kg) stayed composed and engaged throughout his match with Narek Setaghyan (ESP). Looking for his ties and set-ups, Rau was methodical in figuring out his best avenues to make something happen. His initial shot was by being awarded par terre top, which he turned into two points via a hard-fought gutwrench. Up 2-0, Rau continued to find a measured yet aggressive approach.
In the second frame, things got going even more. Rau first cinched up a bodylock and twisted it down for two. He immediately followed up with a gut, giving him a 6-0 lead. It was just a matter of time by then. In the closing minute of the match, Rau snuffed out a Setaghyan attempt for a takedown of his own off the edge, resulting in a 9-0 first round win (an extra point was awarded due to Spain’s challenge, which was denied).
We will be updating both on here with summaries and on Twitter, so stay tuned!