HRT reports that the current best Croatian wrestler and the fourth-ever Croatian wrestler to compete in the Olympic Games (Rio 2016) will fight for gold in Budapest against Russian wrestler Alexander Chekhirkin, who defeated Bulgarian Aik Mnatsakanian in points in a controversial semifinal (7-6).
Starčević defeated the Czech wrestler Oldrich Varga in points in the semifinal (3-1). He was better than the Pole Mateusz Lukasz Wolny and led a difficult fight in the quarterfinals against the Azerbaijani wrestler Sanan Sulejmanov. It ended 1-1, but Starčević went further because he was the last to score a point.
Of the other four Croatian representatives, Marko Koščević reached the bronze medal in the category up to 130 kg, and in Sunday’s repechage, Ivan Lizatović (up to 60 kg) and Danijel Janečić (up to 67 kg) will be able to make it to the medal match.
Lizatović was pulled into the repechage by German Etienne Kinsinger, who defeated him in the quarterfinals (8-2). Janečić lost in the quarterfinals to Georgian Ramaz Zoidze (8-0), who easily advanced to the finals, allowing the Croatian wrestler to continue. Lizatović will fight against the Estonian Helary Maegisalu, and Janečić will have to defeat the Ukrainian wrestler Artur Politajev.
Unfortunately, only the finalists of the tournament in Budapest win a spot at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, meaning neither Lizatović nor Janečić will advance to Tokyo.
Koščević was also supposed to be given a repechage round, but the Norwegian Oskar Marvik handed him the match without a fight.
Ivan Huklek lost the first match in the category up to 87 kg and was defeated by Armenian Artur Šahinjan on points (6-2).
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