USA Attempts to Qualify 96kg GR
Justin Ruiz attempts to qualify 96kg tomorrow in China. He made weight which means that he has a chance but looking at his half bracket makes me think that USA Wrestling better be checking into flights to Finland next weekend. I was thinking that Ruiz was our rep at both of qualifiers if necessary. Hope he doesn't get too banged up this weekend.
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling 04/28/2012
Justin Ruiz (Orem, Utah/New York AC) weighed in at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in Greco-Roman at the World Olympic Games Qualifying Tourmament in Taiyuan, China on Saturday. He has received his draw for the tournament, which will be contested on Sunday, April 29 in his weight class.
At this event, an athlete must place in the top three of their weight class to qualify their nation for the London Games. Only athletes whose weights are not yet qualified for the Olympics may enter.
Ruiz opens against Chan-Gun An of Korea. An was eighth in the 2009 World Championships. He won bronze medals at the 2011 Asian Championships and the 2010 Asian Games
Should Ruiz win the first match, he will face Daigoro Timonici of Italy. Timonici was fifth in the 2007 World Championships and eighth in the 2010 World Championships. He won a silver medal at the 2010 University World Championships
There are 27 athletes in Ruiz’s weight class, and 11 in his half-bracket. He will need to win four matches in his half-bracket to qualify for the finals, which would guarantee that the weight is qualified for the United States.
Among the other respected athletes in Ruiz’s half-bracket are:
• Balasz Kiss of Hungary, 2009 World champion
• Mirko Englich of Germany, 2008 Olympic silver medalist
• Mindaugus Ezerskis of Lithuania, 2007 World silver medalist
• Robert Papp of Romania, ninth in 2010 World Championships
• Marius Nielsen of Norway, seventh in 2011 Junior World Championships
• Ningchao Zhai of China, second in 2010 Asian Championships
• Marin Czac of Moldova, third in 2008 Junior World Championships
Should Ruiz lose in his half-bracket, he still has a chance to qualify by placing third in the tournament. That could occur if a wrestler who beats Ruiz makes the finals, then pulls Ruiz back into the repechage rounds for a chance to wrestle back for bronze.
Ruiz was a 2005 World bronze medalist, and has competed in the World Championships for the United States six times. He was also a 2007 Pan American Games champion. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, he was an NCAA All-American for the Univ. of Nebraska.
The U.S. has 17 of the 18 weight classes qualified for the London Games. This is the only weight class left to be qualified.
The U.S. determined the members of the U.S. Olympic Team in 16 qualified weights during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in Iowa City, Iowa, April 21-22. A Special Wrestle-off will be held for the 60 kg/132 lbs. weight class in men’s freestyle.
If the USA does not qualify in either or both weight classes in China, the final opportunity will be in Helsinki, Finland, May 4-6. At that event, an athlete must place in the top two of their weight class to qualify their nation.
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