Olympics-Wrestling-Steveson bags super heavyweight gold with last-second win
Newsfrom JapanTokyo 2020
By Ece Toksabay
CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) - American 21-year-old Gable Steveson stunned Georgia's triple world champion Geno Petriashvili with a last-gasp victory in the super heavyweight gold medal bout on Friday to win his first Olympic medal.
Steveson took the lead when he slammed his 125 kg opponent down for a takedown that echoed around the near-empty arena and nearly scored with a four-point throw but the Georgian gamely fought back with two gut wrench moves to lead 8-5.
But with 10 seconds left, Steveson turned things around with two spin-behind takedowns, the second coming just as the buzzer sounded to go up 9-8.
Petriashvili's corner challenged the decision on the final takedown in desperation and lost another point in the process, giving the American a 10-8 victory.
"You saw that? Oh my god, wow. No way, ain't no way," Steveson said in disbelief. "I'm speechless, I've never done it before but today was the day. Damn!
"In those last few seconds, I knew I could fire it up, I tricked him and he bought it. I looked at the clock at it was 0.3 (seconds) left... It was the match of the century."
A visibly upset Petriashvili punched a sign and shouted in despair as he returned to the dressing room. He did not raise his head once during the medal ceremony.
Iran's 20-year-old Amir Zare, an Under-23 world champion, beat China's Deng Zhiwei for his first senior medal while Turkey's Rio gold medallist Taha Akgul settled for bronze after seeing off Mongolia's Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur 5-0.
"I came here for back-to-back gold medals after Rio," Akgul said. "But... an Olympic medal is still important and valuable."
JAPAN'S THIRD WRESTLING GOLD
Mayu Mukaida became Japan's third female wrestler to win a gold medal in Tokyo after she edged China's Pang Qianyu 5-4 in the freestyle bantamweight final.
Pang jumped into a 4-0 lead at the break but Mukaida stormed back into the contest to level it at 4-4 before pushing the Chinese out of bounds for the point to seal victory.
Japan's Kawai sisters - Risako and Yukako - won the lightweight and middleweight golds while Yui Susaki is in Saturday's flyweight final.
Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya won the bronze after pinning American Jacarra Winchester while Mongolia's Bat-Ochiryn Bolortuyaa won the second with a 14-4 victory over Cameroon's Joseph Tiako.
Russian double world champion Zaurbek Sidakov added the Olympic men's freestyle welterweight gold medal to his resume after a 7-0 victory over Belarusian Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau.
American Kyle Dake beat Italy's Frank Chamizo for the first bronze while Uzbekistan's Bekzod Abdurakhmonov won the second in a whirlwind bout, beating Kazakhstan's Daniyar Kaisanov 13-2 in the first period.
"It's been a long, hard journey and wasn't easy (after) my fifth place in Rio," Abdurakhmonov said. "I had many sleepless nights after I lost there and now thank god, a lot of work paid off."
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay in Chiba, Writing by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru)
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