Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Predictions for 2007 World Wrestling Championships 

For the past several years, the web page of USA Wrestling, TheMat.com, has been running a poll of wrestling journalists that lists our predictions for the champions in each weight class for the World Championships and Olympic Games. Although I rarely make predictions in professional combat sports, I have done so in wrestling because, frankly, this sport needs all the support, help, and publicity it can get.

This year I have once again participated. The predictions below are for the 2007 World Championships of Wrestling. This event takes place September 17-23 at the Heydar Aliyev Sport and Exhibition Complex in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The web site of the World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) will provide live and on-demand video coverage of the 2007 World Championships of Wrestling.

TheMat.com has a special section devoted to the 2007 World Championships of Wrestling.

My predictions do not, of course, necessarily turn out correct. Over the years I have had a passable record, usually finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack of the other wrestling journalists who likewise take part in these polls.

The point, however, is not to boast or lament about the accuracy of these predictions. Rather, it is but one attempt to use the media in general and the Internet in particular to encourage informed and intelligent discussion about the world's oldest and greatest sport, its star and champion athletes, and its often obscurely-promoted but major international events.

Predictions for silver and bronze medals are not made because these depend in large part on the much-criticized blind draw system, lack of seeding, and no complete rounds of wrestlebacks used by FILA, the international wrestling federation. The gold medalists, however, have to defeat everyone, regardless of the order in which they face their opponents, so the top finishes should reflect the best wrestlers at this event.

Here are my humble predictions for the individual champions at the 2007 World Wrestling Championships. Most will likely be wrong, but hopefully this exercise will stimulate more interest in this important event.

Men's Freestyle champions
55 kg/121 lbs. - Besik Kudukhov (Russia)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Seyed Mourad Mohammadi (Iran)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Geandry Garzon (Cuba)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Mahach Murtazaliev (Russia)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Georgy Ketoev (Russia)
96 kg/211.25 lbs. - Khajimurad Gatsalov (Russia)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Artur Taimazov (Uzbekistan)

Men's Greco-Roman champions
55 kg/121 lbs. - Roushan Bayramov (Azerbaijan)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Eusebiu Diaconu (Romania)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Harry Lester (USA)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Manuchar Krirkvelia (Georgia)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Alexey Mishine (Russia)
96 kg/211.25 lbs. - Karam Ibrahim Gaber (Egypt)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Khassan Baroev (Russia)

Women's Freestyle champions
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Chiharu Icho (Japan)
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Hitomi Sakamoto (Japan)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Saori Yoshida (Japan)
59 kg/130 lbs. - Ayako Shoda (Japan)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Kaori Icho (Japan)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Jing Rui Xue (China)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria)

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