Wrestlers book tickets to Olympic qualifiers
Published 22 February 2016 (AEDT)
WRESTLING: Two-time Olympian Sahit Prizreni and the unlucky Talgat Ilyasov are among the winners from the Australian Wrestling Championships in Melbourne, putting themselves in the mix for the Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifers in Algeria next month.
Prizreni wrestled for Albania at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, carrying his country’s flag in the stadium during the Beijing opening ceremony.
Ilyasov was selected to make his Olympic debut for Australia at the 2004 Olympics, but an injury on the eve of the Games forced him to withdraw.
Prizreni, in the 65kg class, and Ilyasov, in the 74kg class, are among Australia’s best chance of qualifying wrestlers for Rio.
Wrestling Australia high performance manager, Alan Landy, is hopeful Australia will qualify up to four athletes for Brazil.
Also winning his weight division on the weekend was reigning Australian champion, Connor Evans, in the 86kg class, while Chris Galbraith-Clark won a competitive 97kg division.
In the women’s division, former European junior medallist Pia Rosencranz continues to impress, winning the 53kg category, while Glasgow Commonwealth games team member, Stevie Kelly, won the 69kg division.
Australia will now send a full squad to Auckland to contest the Oceania Championships in two weeks, before heading to Africa for the first of three Olympic qualifying events.
Landy believes the best chance for Australian athletes to qualify for Rio will come in Algeria, with the following two qualifying events involving athletes from all over the world.
ROSS SOLLY FOR WRESTLING AUSTRALIA