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Kyle Dake takes silver at wrestling worlds; Snyder, Sadulayev stunned


USA’s Kyle Douglas Dake reacts after defeating Italy’s Frank Chamizo Marquez in their men’s freestyle 74kg wrestling bronze medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 6, 2021. (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

American Kyle Dake took silver at the world wrestling championship, dropping a 74kg freestyle final showdown with Russian Zaurbek Sidakov on Monday.

Sidakov defeated Dake 10-7 in their first meeting to snap Dake’s streak at four consecutive world titles.

At 74kg, Dake, 32, followed Tokyo Olympic bronze with world golds the previous two years. He also won world titles at 79kg, which is not an Olympic weight, in 2018 and 2019.

Sidakov, 27, won Tokyo Olympic gold and world titles in 2018 and 2019 at 74kg. He didn’t compete at the post-Olympic worlds in 2021, then could not compete at last year’s worlds due to a ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus for the war in Ukraine.

Earlier Monday, American Kyle Snyder and Russian Abdulrashid Sadulayev, who combined to win the last eight Olympic or world titles at 97kg, both lost before the final. Snyder, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion, lost 11-0 to Akhmed Tazhudinov of Bahrain in the quarterfinals.

Snyder was then pulled back into the repechage (a chance for a bronze medal on Tuesday) after Tazhudinov defeated Sadulayev in the semifinals. The match ended early due to a Sadulayev injury with Tazhudinov up 9-2.

It marked the 27-year-old Sadulayev’s second-ever global championship defeat and first since losing to Snyder in the 2017 Worlds final. Sadulayev won Olympic or world titles at 86kg or 97kg in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021 (at both worlds and the Tokyo Games).

Tazhudinov, 20, is at his first senior worlds. Russian media reported that he, like Sadulayev, is from Dagestan, came through a training center named after Sadulayev and began representing Bahrain last year. He also shares a coach with Sadulayev, according to United World Wrestling (UWW).

Some wrestlers from Russia and Belarus were invited to these worlds as individual neutral athletes after a vetting process.

A UWW panel deemed others ineligible “due to either active support of the ongoing war or confirmed membership in military or national security agencies.”

Also Monday, American Zahid Valencia took bronze at 92kg in his world championships debut. Since 92kg is not an Olympic weight, expect Valencia to move up to 97kg or down to 86kg for April’s Olympic Trials.

Worlds continue Tuesday with U.S. Olympian Jacarra Winchester in the 55kg final. She previously won at 55kg, which is not an Olympic weight, in 2019.