The Israel Greco-Roman wrestling championships were held yesterday at Had Yosef, two months after Gocha Ziziashvilly became the first Israeli to win gold at the World Championships.
Ziziashvilly's triumph in the 84 kilogram category, and the Olympic qualification of both Ziziashvilly and Yaakov Manshirov, is expected to boost local interest in the sport. And with Olympic trials next month, giving more wrestlers a chance to secure a berth for Athens, the timing of the championships was perfect.
The Olympic hopefuls competed in higher weight categories than they are used to. Ziziashvilly decided to try his luck in the 96 kilogram weight group. After just one bout, however, he pulled out with a hand injury, allowing Papiasvilly to take another title.
Beilin flew in to the championships from his hometown in Russia, where he lives and trains. Beilin, who is on a special diet to allow him to compete at 60 kilograms, believes he has a better chance of meeting the Olympic standard at the lower weight. Competing yesterday in the 66 kilogram group, Beilin looked leaner and meaner than ever, and remains unchallenged in Israel.
The only competitive category was the 120 kilogram group, where Yeivsecik discovered that his crown was under threat from Vladimir Goralsky. The first bout between them was settled by a points decision, but in the final, Yeivsecik easily retained his title.
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