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US Greco-Roman wrestlers endure tough opening day

This news story was published on August 6, 2012.
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By David Ramsey, The Gazette –

LONDON — United States wrestling coach Steve Fraser summed up the first day of Greco-Roman competition.

“A tough day,” Fraser said. “Yeah, that was a tough day for us.”

Spenser Mango (122 pounds) finished ninth and Ben Provisor (163) finished 11th.

“It’s rough,” said Mango, a sergeant at Fort Carson, Colo. “I’m not going to lie. You work so hard for this, and it’s over.”

Mango’s bid for a medal ended against Russia’s Mingiyan Semenov in the first round of repechage, wrestling’s version of the losers’ bracket.

As the match began, American fans and Russian fans began a light-hearted verbal battle, both chanting the names of their homelands. That struggle was a tie.

Mango wasn’t so lucky. Semenov defeated him, 2-0, 1-0.

The day had begun well for Mango, who breezed to a convincing 6-1, 1-0 victory over Egypt’s 18-year-old Mohamed Aboulhima, but then had the misfortune to face reigning world champion Rovshan Bayramov.

It was no contest as Bayramov powered to 4-0, 4-0 win.

“He was tough,” Mango said. “The thing is, I knew the moves he was planning to do, and I still couldn’t stop him.”

Mango had said he was traveling to England to win a medal. He also competed for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics.

“I don’t think you’ve seen the end of Spenser Mango,” Fraser said.

Provisor, a resident at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, defeated Cuba’s Alexie Bel 0-3, 1-0, 1-0 to advance to the second round against Georgia’s Zurabi Datanuashvili. Near the end of the second period, Provisor injured his elbow.

He said he would have been able to compete in repechage, but Datunashvili was defeated in the next round.

Provisor sees his trip to England as a challenge. He’s 22, and he can see he needs to improve.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “… This is going to be a steppingstone.”

He said he plans to train against elite Greco-Roman wrestlers from Europe. This, he said, will speed his development.

“I’ve got to go over to Europe to wrestle those guys,” Provisor said. “I’m hoping to wrestle the best in the world to become one of the best in the world.”

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