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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Wrestlers to fight desperately in Athens. Russians to even up with Americans

The second stage of the opposition between Russia and the USA will take place in Athens

The Russian Olympic squad is in a critical situation in Athens. Russian athletes can not boast of having many gold medals. Combat athletes – boxers, Greco-Roman wrestlers and freestyle wrestlers give hope that Russian athletes will clinch more gold medals.

Each of Russian combat athletes is capable of winning. However, Atlanta's Olympic champion, Buvaisar Saitiev, stands out among other athletes in the weight category up to 74 kilograms. The sportsman won all recent competitions, with the exception for the Olympic Games in Sydney. Saitiev does not like to talk about that failure, although the athlete is strongly determined to win this time. Saitiev's rival at last year's world championship in New York, Talgat Ilyasov, broke Buvaisar's cheek-bone with his forehead. However, the injured athlete managed to win the semifinal and final already the next day.

Buvaisar's junior brother, Adam, did not go to Athens. His title of the Olympic champion in Sydney did not help him win combats with Sagid Sagidov, who defeated Buvaisar Saitiev twice. In addition, Sagidov beat US athlete Kyle Sanderson. The latter is one of the main candidacies to win the Summer Olympics in Athens. Specialists say Sagidov and Sanderson may fight again.

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Young athlete Makhach Murtazaliev (performs in the weight category under 66 kilograms) produced a sensation, when he was included in the squad. This year the athlete has beaten a very strong rival, Irbek Farniev and obtained the right to participate in the Olympics. Another athlete, Khadzhimurad Gatsalov, twice European champion, has very good chances too.

Russia has two absolute champions in the Greco-Roman wrestling, which is traditionally referred to as classic wrestling. Sydney's champion Vartares Samurgashev (weight category up to 74 kilograms) is unrivalled. Most likely, the second stage of the opposition between Russia and the USA will take place in Athens. The first stage happened four years ago: Russian wrestling fans still remember the disappointing loss of the Siberian super-wrestler Alexander Karelin to American Rulon Gardner. Young gladiator Khasan Baroyev intends to take revenge for Karelin's defeat. His place in the Olympic squad was questionable for a long time. It took coachers long to choose between Baroyev and another athlete, Yury Patrikeyev. In 2003 Baroyev became the world's youngest heavyweight champion. On his way to the final Baroyev beat Gardner.

Baroyev did not go to the European championship in 2004: coachers gave a chance to Patrikeyev. The athlete justified their hopes: Patrikeyev did not let his rivals win any points in five fights. Baroyev, however, won the Russian championship and he will have the right to fight in Athens.

Arseny Detochkin

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